Match Preview Retro - Aug. 28, 2021

Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids
2021 MLS Regular Season | Match 22
Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 | 8 p.m. CT
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas

Broadcast Schedule:
English TV
| Bally Sports Kansas City
English TV | Bally Sports Midwest Plus
Streaming | BallySports.com and Bally Sports app
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM

Second-place Sporting Kansas City (11-4-6, 39 points) will return to world-class Children's Mercy Park on Saturday for a monumental Western Conference clash against the third-place Colorado Rapids (11-4-4, 37 points) at 8 p.m. CT.

Tickets for the marquee matchup are available at SeatGeek.com and the first 10,000 fans through the stadium gates will receive a vintage Sporting KC poster courtesy of match sponsor Children's Mercy. Saturday will also see Sporting pay homage to its proud beginnings with a comprehensive Retro Night celebration, featuring a wide selection of throwback merchandise from the Since '96 Collection (jersey, T-shirt, long sleeve T-shirt, jacket and headwear), additional gear with the classic Wiz logo and rainbow elements, live music from The Crossroads Sound and a 90s-themed post-match party in the Budweiser Brew House open to all ticket holders.

For supporters watching from home, the high-stakes encounter will air live on Bally Sports Kansas City and Bally Sports Midwest Plus with three hours of live coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT. The match will also stream live on BallySports.com and the new Bally Sports app. Local radio broadcasts will air on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM, with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following the match on 810 WHB, and fans can access the Sporting KC app for in-game updates and exclusive offers.

With two of the league's hottest teams on a collision course at Children's Mercy Park, Saturday's battle could go a long way in shaping the Western Conference playoff picture. Led by Manager Peter Vermes, second-place Sporting have 39 points from 21 matches, equaling their exact totals from the shortened 2020 regular season. The Rapids, surging under the guidance of third-year head coach Robin Fraser, sit just two points behind with two games in hand and will be looking to secure their first four-game regular season winning streak since 2003.

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Sporting's potent and balanced attack has garnered attention throughout the year, with Daniel Salloi (12 goals, six assists), Alan Pulido (eight goals, three assists), Johnny Russell (three goals, five assists) and Gadi Kinda (four goals, three assists) contributing to the league's second best scoring offense.

On the opposite end of the pitch, Sporting have pieced together a series of strong defensive performances in recent weeks. Goalkeeper Tim Melia has shutouts in three of his last four appearances, while center backs Andreu Fontas and Ilie Sanchez have anchored a backline that also wields dynamic full backs Graham Zusi and Luis Martins. Sporting's 21 goals allowed are the third fewest in the Western Conference and Melia's 0.88 goals against average is third lowest in MLS.

The Rapids, meanwhile, are in the midst of a standout season with Fraser at the helm. The head coach owns a 24-12-8 regular season record since taking the job in August 2019 and took Colorado back to the playoffs last fall for the first time four years. Colorado are 4-0-1 in their last five matches and 6-1-3 in their last 10, amassing the second most points in MLS since the start of July. Perhaps more remarkably, the Rapids have won three consecutive road matches for the first time since 2000.

Colorado goalkeeper William Yarbrough is tied for the MLS lead in wins (11) and shutouts (eight), defenders Auston Trusty and Keegan Rosenberry have started every game this year, playmakers Michael Barrios (five goals, four assists) and Jack Price (seven assists) have complemented well-rounded midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Mark-Anthony Kaye, and forwards Diego Rubio and Andre Shinyashiki have four goals apiece. Kaye arrived in a headline trade from LAFC on July 27 and owns a 3-0-1 record as a Colorado player.

Sporting and Colorado have squared off 83 times in all competitions, making the Rapids the most frequent opponent in Kansas City history. In 33 regular season home games against Colorado, Sporting are 22-6-5 with 71 goals scored and 34 conceded.

Recent history favors the hosts, as Sporting are 3-0-2 against Colorado over the last two seasons. That includes a 3-1 home win on June 23 and a 0-0 road draw on Aug. 7. Salloi had two goals and an assist in the home victory two months ago, while Sporting posted their first of three consecutive road shutouts in the scoreless stalemate at Dick's Sporting Goods Park earlier this month.

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