Five Things

Sporting Kansas City (2-7-3, 9 points) and the MLS regular season returns to Children’s Mercy Park for a midweek matchup with the Colorado Rapids (4-4-3, 15 points) on Wednesday night.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT with tickers on sale at SeatGeek.com. Coverage of the match begins on 38 The Spot with the Sporting KC Pregame show 30 minutes prior to first kick. The match is also available to be streamed at SportingKC.com and in the Sporting KC mobile app via Sporting One.

Sporting and Colorado have faced each other on 85 occasions in all competitions with Colorado posting the most recent win back in March, but Sporting taking the most recent win in Kansas City last season. Sporting holds a 2-0-1 record against the Rapids in their last three meetings at Children’s Mercy Park.

Below are five key storylines for Sporting Kansas City’s Wednesday Western Conference clash with the Colorado Rapids.

Back on home turf

Wednesday will mark the first since April 30 that Sporting Kansas City will play an MLS regular season match at Children’s Mercy Park. This season, Sporting has posted a 3-1-2 record at home, scoring nine goals in all competitions. Sporting’s three home clean sheets in regular season play are tied for the second-most in the Western Conference.

In the most recent Sporting KC match at Children’s Mercy Park, Peter Vermes’ side launched a second half comeback for the history books against FC Dallas in the U.S. Open Cup. Erasing a two-goal deficit, newcomers Nikola Vujnovic and Marinos Tzionis netted their first goals in Sporting blue to force extra time. Tzionis' thundering, equalizing header in second half stoppage time marks the latest goal in regulation in franchise history. A strong performance from Khiry Shelton led to a 4-2 Sporting victory and earned the club a spot in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 which will take place at Children’s Mercy Park a week following Wednesday’s match.

Rapids’ road struggles

While Sporting KC has found success at home, Wednesday night’s opponent have struggled on the road. The Rapids have yet to find a win away from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in 2022, earning one draw on the road in regular season play. In all competitions, the Rapids are 0-6-1, with a defeat to Comunicaciones (Guatemala) in the Concacaf Champions League and a loss in the Open Cup at Minnesota.

The Rapids lone result on the road was a 1-1 draw at the Houston Dynamo, who Sporting defeated 1-0 at home on March 5. Colorado at home has been a different animal, boasting a 4-0-2 record in the Mile High City. Out of the altitude, they have scored just three goals in MLS play.

Midweek matchup

Sporting KC and Children’s Mercy Park will host a midweek match for the second of three weeks in a row. Last Tuesday, Sporting hosted Dallas in the thrilling Open Cup comeback win, this Wednesday, Colorado comes to town and next Wednesday, Sporting will host the Dynamo for the Open Cup Round of 16. Due to the congestion of the schedule, Sporting will play seven competitive matches in just 22 days. In between the Wednesday matches, Sporting has a road match with the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, May 22.

Ford’s familiarities

Centerback Kortne Ford has stepped up in a significant way for Sporting KC this season. His performance in a scoreless draw against the Columbus Crew on April 23 earned him a spot on the MLS Team of the Week and he has made four consecutive starts on the backline in the regular season. Ford is very familiar with the Rapids as he came up through their academy system, signing as a homegrown for the first team in 2017. He started 33 of 35 appearances for the Rapids including his debut appearance which came at Children’s Mercy Park against Sporting KC. Wednesday night, Ford will be facing his former club in the stadium where he made his MLS debut.

Felipe Hernandez

In Sporting’s previous two matches, homegrown midfielder Felipe Hernandez has begun to shine for Sporting in the midfield. The Sporting KC Academy product started and played the full 120 minutes in the Open Cup, nearly finding the back of the net on two occasions. He provided great energy in the midfield, helping to spark the Sporting KC comeback.

In Sporting’s Saturday night loss at Portland, Hernandez got onto the stat sheet with a pair of assists. After coming on as a halftime substitute, the 23-year-old connected with Johnny Russell on an inch-perfect cross to give the captain his third goal of the season. In the 75th he found Tzionis in the box on a free kick, giving the Sporting KC newcomer his first MLS goal.