Sporting Kansas City will look to bounce back from Monday’s season-opening defeat in Portland when the team heads west to take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, March 4. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. CT and is available to watch on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app in both English and Spanish.
1. BUILDING ON POSITIVE PERFORMANCE
Sporting Kansas City opened the club’s 28th Major League Soccer season on Monday with a 1-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Despite the loss, there were many positives for Sporting to take from the game, with the team out-shooting Portland 12-7, having 27 touches in the opposition box compared to Portland’s 10 and recording 1.31 expected goals to Portland’s 0.95.
Sporting will hope to use the momentum built after a rocky start to the match when the team heads to take on the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this Saturday night, who are coming off a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.
Sporting will hope reinforcements are on the way soon, with high-profile attackers Gadi Kinda (knee surgery), Alan Pulido (knee surgery) and Johnny Russell (hamstring) still working their way back to fitness and new center back signing Dany Rosero currently going through the immigration process.
2. SEARCHING FOR RARE WIN IN THE ROCKIES
Sporting Kansas City heads West this weekend when the team travels to take on the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night. Both teams are looking to bounce back from disappointing openers in the Pacific Northwest, as Sporting fell to a narrow 1-0 loss in Portland while the Rapids got crushed 4-0 in Seattle.
Sporting has not enjoyed much success in Colorado over the previous decade, with the club’s most recent victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park coming on March 29, 2014. Since then, Sporting has gone 0-5-4 in their nine visits to Commerce City.
Sporting’s last visit to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park ended in defeat on March 12, 2022. Facing Colorado with a banged up squad, Sporting fell to a 2-0 defeat following goals from Diego Rubio and Mark-Anthony Kaye.
The return fixture at Children’s Mercy Park on May 18, 2022 saw Sporting take their revenge, as Daniel Salloi scored either side of halftime to guide SKC to a 2-1 victory. Late on, Colorado’s Auston Trusty was sent off after receiving his second yellow card before a brawl erupted and Sporting’s Salloi and Andreu Fontas were sent off, along with Colorado’s Lucas Esteves.
3. SPORTING KC ACQUIRES CENTER BACK DANY ROSERO
Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday that the club has acquired 29-year-old center back Dany Rosero in a transfer from Colombian side Atletico Junior. Rosero has signed a three-year MLS contract through 2025 with an option for 2026 and will occupy an international slot on Sporting’s roster.
Rosero has eclipsed 300 professional appearances across Argentina and his native Colombia, scoring 20 goals and competing in the esteemed Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. Beginning his career at Argentine club Arsenal de Sarandi as a teenager, the defender has spent the last seven seasons in the Colombian top-flight Categoria Primera A with Patriotas Boyacá, Deportivo Cali and Junior.
Rosero joins a central defensive group that also contains veteran Andreu Fontas, U22 initiative signing Robert Voloder, USL Championship standout Robert Castellanos and 2023 MLS SuperDraft selection Chris Rindov.
4. PULSKAMP PRODUCES ENCOURAGING SHOWING
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper John Pulskamp showed encouraging signs during Monday’s 1-0 defeat in the season opener against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park, recording three excellent saves on the night.
Pulskamp, who at 21 years of age was the youngest starting goalkeeper across the league in Matchday 1, was tested early when Jaroslaw Niezgoda pounced on a short backpass and attempted to round the Sporting ‘keeper. Pulskamp dove to his right to tip the ball away from his foot and was also able to repel Marvin Loria’s follow-up effort.
The Bakersfield, California native produced another pair of impressive saves in the second half, first denying Loria from close range in the 72nd minute before stoning Nathan Fogaca who was through one-on-one with the goalkeeper in second-half stoppage time.
5. TIM LEIBOLD MAKES SPORTING DEBUT
Newly signed Sporting Kansas City left back Tim Leibold made his debut for the club in Monday night’s 1-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park in Oregon. The German defender replaced starter Ben Sweat in the 73rd minute of the contest and played the final 17 minutes as Sporting were pushing for an equalizer.
Leibold had four final third entries and completed seven of his 11 passes during his time on the field with Sporting looking to force the ball into the Timbers area.
Leibold joined Sporting as a free agent in January after leaving Hamburger SV in the 2. Bundesliga in Germany. Leibold spent the last eight seasons across Germany’s top two divisions. He starred at Nurnberg from 2015-2019 - helping the club gain promotion to the top-flight Bundesliga in 2018 - and competed since then for Hamburg, including a one-year stint as club captain during the 2020-21 campaign.
Leibold enjoyed his most fruitful season with Hamburg in 2019-20, leading the 2. Bundesliga with 16 assists in 34 matches.