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Downstream Game 14: Away to Sporting Kansas City (finally!)

Sporting Kansas City v Colorado Rapids - MLS Is Back Tournament Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Sporting Kansas City Stats

2020 Record: 9-6-3 W-L-T (30 points, 3rd place in the Western Conference)

Goals For: 31

Goals Against: 25

Last Result: 2-2 draw against the Chicago Fire

All right, it seems as though the Colorado Rapids are finally done with their COVID-19 outbreak. After a postponement of five games, the Rapids are finally, finally, FINALLY returning to play. The team hasn’t seen any real field time since our 5-0 victory over San Jose in what feels like seven months ago back on September 23rd.

With a total of five infected players and 13 infected staff preventing the team from even practicing for the majority of this time, it could be a rough go.

SKC hasn’t changed much since we last played them. They have secured a pretty comfortable place at third in the western conference with 30 points over 18 games, along with a points per game of 1.67. Of course, they also have played five games more than us at this point so its no surprise for them to be 11 points higher than us, but it means that PPG is going to be more important than straight points.

Johnny Russell and Alan Pulido both are putting respectable numbers, with a combined 11 goals and 8 assists between them. As well as they have been doing, they got a gut punch delivered to them with the news of Graham Zusi being out for the remainder of the season with a foot injury. Zusi has been a routine starter for them this season, and the right back’s absence will no doubt be felt.

That being said, I’m going to be brutally honest here—I don’t have high hopes for this first game following our many suspended games and practices alike. SKC has been doing pretty well recently and we haven’t been able to practice for a while. We’re going to be rusty... but we might be able to take advantage of resting up for a while. Every other team has mostly been on a Wednesday-weekend-Wednesday-weekend rotation, meaning they haven’t been given a chance to rest up. Squad rotation has become crucial for these games. With our team resting amidst quarantine, we should be able to bring out our strongest starting lineup and keep pressure on them for the full 90.

Whatever happens, I’m not expecting there to be a large goal differential between our teams. SKC has either won or lost their games by only a single goal ever since August 25th with a shocking loss against Houston Dynamo 2-5. If we have our players healthy and take advantage of the rest, we should be in for a fun game against our I-70 rivals.