The short of it - this wasn’t pretty. That being said, the sky is not falling. I repeat, the sky is not falling.
We saw a different starting XI then we have ever before, partially because of the departure of Marc Burch and Sam Cronin, but also because Kortne Ford got his first MLS start over Bobby Burling. We also saw Tim Howard wearing the captain’s armband tonight.
Ford took time to calm down and get out the jitters, especially after some apparent miscommunication between him and Tim Howard before the first Sporting Kansas City goal. Tim Howard had a save, but it rebounded right to Seth Sinovic who put it in the back of the net at the 6th minute to put Kansas City up 1-0.
Despite the goal, the first half looked like two fairly evenly matched teams. Neither side was really dominating over the other, and even though the Rapids went into halftime down by one, there were some definite chances created, and still some hope that they might come out strong and even things up in the second half.
Unfortunately, the second 45 didn’t go so well. Things just looked sloppy and disjointed. In the 58th minute, Gerso Fernandes burned Ford and somehow beat Tim Howard near post to put the team up 2-0. Just a few minutes later, Seth Sinovic crossed the ball into the box and the oncoming Dominic Dwyer easily scored with his left foot.
In the second half, Shkëlzen Gashi was subbed out around the 70th minute. We later saw him on the sideline with ice on his ankle, and it appears that he tweaked it in the first half. Ford went out late in the second half due to what we can only hope was a cramp.
In extra time, Dominique Badji was brought down in the box and a penalty kick was awarded to the Burgundy Boys. Kevin Doyle easily scored, saving the Rapids from being shut out. The final score was Sporting Kansas City 3, Colorado Rapids 1.
When it was all said and done, possession was fairly even (SKC 58%, COL 42%), the Rapids had a decent passing accuracy (81%), and we actually had three shots on goal. What we saw was a team creating more chances, but sacrificing some of their defense. We saw a team that has just lost two starters and their captain (not to mention Axel Sjoberg is still out from his surgery), and had a rookie get his first start at centerback. The Rapids are struggling with injuries right now, and went into Children’s Mercy Park to take on a team on an 11-game unbeaten at home streak. No one was particularly effective tonight, and this was not Tim Howard’s best game.
But, as I said in the beginning, the sky is not falling. We are only four games into a long season, and while yes, there will come a time when I can’t hold out the optimism any longer, I’m not ready to give up yet. With all of the changes lately, it’s going to take some time to figure it all out and for everything to come together.