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Know The Foe: Who to watch when Sporting KC comes to town

We trade questions and answers with our sister site The Blue Testament about Sporting KC, ahead of the matchup in Colorado

Colorado Rapids v Sporting Kansas City Photo by Fernando Leon/ISI Photos/Getty Images

We chatted with our friends over at The Blue Testament (SB Nation’s Sporting Kansas City site) to get an idea of what Saturday’s match in Commerce City may look like.

The Colorado Rapids host SKC, kicking off at 7 p.m. (the clocks spring forward an hour early Sunday morning.)

Here’s what Dan McCown had to say in response to my questions. To see what I said about the Rapids, click here.

What’s the fanbase’s expectation of SKC this year?

Having Pulido out all season injured definitely hurts the ceiling for this team, and thus the poll of the Blue Testament writers at the start of the year, in general, had us finishing 4th or 5th in The West. I think there is definitely some hopefulness for a higher finish if a couple of are new forward-line signings or homegrowns can really pop. Another limiting factor is we still need to figure out how to defend better in transition.

With Alan Pulido out for the year, who is the player that steps up/stars?

Just going to give the same answer I did last week to Dynamo Theory: Pulido being out definitely hurts, although he was routinely out last year with injuries or national team duty. Last year we made up for that by both our starting wingers, Daniel Salloi & Johnny Russell, having simply superb years. Together those two bagged a stunning 47 goals + assists in 2021. So far, it seems like Salloi is on pace to do it again, getting a goal in all but one of the pre-season games and in the opener last week. Russell is consistent as well, so I expect to see him on the scoreboard a lot this year again. Lastly, new signings Nikola Vujnovic and Marinos Tzionis both seem like they could be real contributors.

What do Sporting fans think of the Rapids? Do they fear the club? Think this past year was just a blimp? Is there a sense of respect about team building? Or is it all jokes until the club wins a playoff game?

I think respect for the Rapids is definitely growing, a successful 2021 obviously helped. But everyone can see that Robin Fraser is doing something special and much more attractive on the field than COL coaches in years past. Add on top of all of that, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is just a tough place to play with the altitude and inclement weather. So yes there is a healthy respect, but I think most games between us feel like a toss-up trying to call them.

Who is your SKC player to watch and briefly why for Saturday’s match?

Left-Winger Daniel Salloi - He is a streaky but lethal finisher. He flubbed a couple chances last week but I would guess he gets on the board Saturday. And I know you said just one player but watch our U-22 initiative left-back Logan Ndenbe, he has been sneaky good and fun to watch.

You didn’t ask this but FWIW I am definitely not still bitter about the missed handball call against RSL on decision day that catapulted the Rapids ahead of SKC… definitely not.