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Game Preview & How to Watch: Sporting Kansas City vs Colorado Rapids

A long layoff and some personnel changes. How will the club respond?

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Sporting KC
Dom Dwyer and Sporting will share their first national TV appearance of 2017 with the Colorado Rapids of America at 5pm tonight.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids swing back into action after a three-week layoff due to the international break and a bye week created to allow FC Dallas some rest in advance of their CONCACAF Champions League matchup against Pachuca, which they lost in dramatic fashion.

Colorado hold a 1-1-1 record coming into the match, with 3 Goals For, 3 Goals Against. This will be the first of two meetings against SKC for the Rapids in 2017.

SKC are sporting (Hah! Get it?) an 11-game home unbeaten streak at Children’s Mercy Park, with an 8-3-0 record (WTL). The Rapids only road match of 2017 was a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls. This match also marks Colorado’s first without the recently-traded Sam Cronin and Marc Burch. Mekeil Williams and Bismark Adjei-Boateng are the odds on favorites to replace those two guys in the lineup, but there are some other interesting possibilities.

For the Rapids, it will be interesting if the team becomes a little more aggressive at committing players forward with change in personnel. In the event that he starts, all eyes will certainly be on the teams one major acquisition of the offseason, Nana Boateng. But keep an eye also on the flanks. The Rapids ran a huge chunk of their offense last match right through Marc Burch, and he ain’t there this week. Will Mekeil Williams step in and see the most touches? And if so, does that mean the team rely’s less on long balls and crosses, and more on dribbling right at defenders? Will they happily concede possession and play for the counter-attack? Will the team look to attack with overlapping wingbacks from the flank?

With the team’s identity so strongly shaped by the tandem at defensive midfield in Pablo Mastroeni era, a new defensive midfielder might mean a big shift in what this team looks like on the field. And with Sam Cronin gone, we’re also waiting to see who Pablo will name the new team captain - my money’s on Tim Howard.

Injuries

RAPIDS: Alan Gordon (doubt - hamstring), Mohammed Saeid (doubt - calf), Dillon Serna (doubt - calf), Axel Sjöberg (out - hamstring)

SPORTING: Benny Feilhaber (doubt - hamstring), Erik Palmer-Brown (doubt - ankle), Diego Rubio (out - ACL)

Suspensions

None

How to Watch

Match Date/Time: Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. MST

Venue: Children’s Mercy Park - Kansas City, Kansas

TV Information: Fox Sports 1

Radio: Altitude950

Live Stream: MLS Live (Blackouts apply)

Weather at Kickoff: mid-70s and partly cloudy, 15% chance of rain