Tonight is the first time in 2016 that the Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City will meet and there are a number of different reasons why this is a big match for the Burgundy Boys. They are going to want to erase the bitter taste left in their mouths after the road loss at RSL and they are also going to want to show that they can score goals. Will they do these things? We will find out at 6:30 tonight.
Cody from The Blue Testament and I exchanged questions about this match and you can find my answers to his questions by checking out their excellent site here.
Burgundy Wave: Sporting is top of the table in MLS on 12 points but they are not scoring a ton. What is going right for them this season?
The Blue Testament: Well a short answer for you could simply be Tim Melia. Sporting KC had no business getting 3 points last week, but Melia was out of this world in goal. He has been great this season and the defense has a whole has been great. They've only conceded three goals which is the best in MLS (tied with the Rapids of course). Every spot involved has had a good start to the season. All four CBs have been called upon and they have all done well. Newcomer Nuno Coelho did not miss a beat in his transition he has been a standout so far. Amadou Dia is more confident and experienced in his second season at left back; and a healthy Chance Myers has looked like his old self on the right. Then of course Soni Mustivar in that holding midfield spot is so important to the defense as well.
However both Myers and Mustivar are injured and not available this match. Lawrence Olum started last week for Mustivar and played really well. We will probably be seeing Saad Abdul Salaam start at RB for Myers. He is still fairly raw but has good speed, good height and a lot of potential in his sophomore season.
When it comes to not scoring a ton; a couple injuries have had an influence on that. Brad Davis has yet to really play that much on the wing so Connor Hallisey has been filling in. Also Benny Feilhaber missed the first three matches and so much of the offense comes from his creativity. But so far they've got 7 goals and with a stingy defense, that has been enough. There are several weapons we haven't really seen yet and I think more goals are going to come.
BW: 2015 ended in cruel fashion for SKC in Portland. How much is the loss to the Timbers fueling the team in 2016?
TBT: It was truly one of the craziest things I have ever seen. A penalty kick that would have won it bounce off the inside of one post, then it shot across the goal line and bounced off the other post in the wrong direction. We watched a statistical anomaly. Many will tell you that PKs themselves are tossups, it is just crazy when it gets to keepers taking them. So yes it without a doubt left a bad taste in the mouths of the players. They would tell you what made it the most difficult is that they believed if they could survive that tough wildcard in Portland, that they could bring a game back to KC and really make a run at the Cup. The lineup is mostly the same with a few key additions, so they remember it all very well.
BW: Peter Vermes seems to be a stable, well respected manager with great tactical acumen. Is he a future USMNT manager and why or why not?
TBT: I believe that he would be a great choice! So much of what you want in a candidate for the job, PV has got. He is a proven winner. His eye for talent is honestly incredible. His players trust him and he gets the most out of them. They buy into his system. His teams are gritty with "never say die" attitudes. They are disciplined and solid defensively. Also.... he's American. And a former USMNT player at that!
But do I do think he will be the USMNT manager? No. Because I will cry, scream, hold my breath, throw a fit and simply not let him leave Sporting KC.
(4-3-3) Melia, Abdul-Salaam, Coelho, Opara, Dia, Lawrence Olum, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, Jacob Peterson
Sporting Kansas City 2 - 2 Colorado Rapids