Sporting Kansas City’s 2019 season was far from the success that they were used to. They ended up in 11th place, missed the playoffs by a full ten points, and missed out on the postseason for the first time in eight straight years. What was once seen as one of the strongest defenses in the league let in a total of 67 goals. However, in a short time since they played their final minutes in 2019, they have emerged once again as cup contenders.
The club made headlines last offseason by signing Mexican national team striker Alan Pulido. Coming from Guadalajara for a reported $9+ million signing fee, his transfer is the most expensive in SKC history, and it is clear that he is going to be a key player for the team. He scored twice in their first two games, playing a part in a 1-3 win on the road to Vancouver and a 4-0 walloping of Houston at home. But, two games does not a trend set. SKC is definitely a threat and definitely a team we need to look out for, but I think they are far from invincible. They played two games without having their defense tested much, and that unproven back line could end up being a major weakness for them.
SKC lost their first game of the tournament to Minnesota United 2-1 after going down to 10 men when goalkeeper Tim Melia was given a straight red card in the 74th minute. Sporting looked pretty good in this game, but gave up two stoppage-time goals (including an own goal) to lose the game. Read 11 Observations from Sporting KC v Minnesota United by our friends at The Blue Testament for their thoughts on how SKC played.
As we all know, the Colorado Rapids barely showed up against Real Salt Lake on Sunday. You can read the recap here to catch up, but it was not pretty. At a midweek press conference, Head Coach Robin Fraser and Captain Jack Price expressed continued disappointment about Sunday’s game but say that we’ll see a much different group on Friday. Fraser also noted that Clint Irwin and Andre Shinyashiki both took “knocks to the head” during the game and may not be playing tonight.
Both teams need three points tonight if they want a chance to get out of the Group Stage, so hopefully we see a good game.
Referee: David Gantar
Assistant Referees: Nick Uranga, Apolinar Mariscal
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
VAR: Rubiel Vazquez
OUT: Kortne Ford (knee), Sebastian Anderson (knee)
Sporting Kansas City
OUT: Andreu Fontas (achilles), Felipe Gutierrez (knee)
SUSPENDED: Tim Melia (red card)
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Friday, July 17th at 6:00 p.m. MT
Venue: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex — Orlando, FL
TV Information: ESPN2
Live Stream: ESPN app
Watch Party: Watch the Rapids’ Second Screen Experience or join the Zoom room. Find more information here.
Weather at Kickoff: 84 degrees and partly cloudy with 68% humidity