Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 7
Saturday, April 8 | 7:30 p.m. CT (7:39 kickoff)
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Apple TV | MLS Season Pass
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM
Boosted by the recent returns of club captain Johnny Russell and Designated Player Alan Pulido, Sporting Kansas City will host the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday at Children's Mercy Park.
Tickets for the match are available online -- including the Coca-Cola Friends and Family 4-Pack featuring four South Stand tickets, four Coca-Cola products and four cheeseburgers for $100 -- and the first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive Sporting KC phone lanyards courtesy of match sponsor Price Chopper. In addition, SportingStyle will launch the KC Wiz City retro collection featuring a satin jacket, mesh shorts, fleece hoody and short sleeve tee.
The Western Conference clash will kick off at 7:39 p.m. CT and will stream live on Apple TV for MLS Season Pass subscribers in both English and Spanish with pre-match programming starting at 7:10 p.m. CT. The MLS Season Pass subscription will feature every MLS match in 2023 and fans can watch on billions of devices through the Apple TV app on Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming devices, set-top boxes and game consoles as well as on the web at tv.apple.com.
Saturday's showdown will be shown at each of the club's pub partners in the Sporting Pub Network and radio coverage will also air locally in English on Sports Radio 810 WHB and in Spanish on La Grande 1340 AM with streams available in the Sporting KC app.
Five weeks ago, Sporting Kansas City and the Colorado Rapids played to a scoreless draw highlighted by an early video review to overturn a Rapids goal and William Yarbrough's career-high 11 saves in the stalemate. Both teams now enter Saturday's rematch amidst comparable circumstances: looking for a first win of the season, coming off a 0-0 draw against a reigning conference champion and buoyed by the return of a starting striker.
For Sporting, Pulido came off the bench to play 27 minutes in Philadelphia last Saturday in the World Cup veteran's first MLS action since 2021. The 32-year-old missed all of 2022 due to knee surgery after recording 15 goals and eight assists in 36 matches across all competitions for the club.
Russell, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday on Saturday, and goalkeeper Tim Melia, whose next regular season appearance will tie Preki for seventh on the club's all-time chart, also made their first starts of the season against the Union. In addition, centerbacks Dany Rosero and Robert Castellanos made their club debuts a week ago as Sporting snapped Philadelphia's 15-match home scoring streak and recorded the team's third shutout of the season, most of any team in the Western Conference.
For Colorado, Diego Rubio made his first start of the season against MLS Cup champions LAFC last weekend. The Chilean, who spent three seasons in Kansas City from 2016-2018, underwent arthroscopic surgery in February after a career-year in 2022 when he equaled the Rapids' single-season scoring record with 16 goals and added seven assists to set a new club record with 23 goal contributions.
Kansas City and Colorado have met 87 times in all competitions, more than any other Sporting opponent, dating back to each team's Major League Soccer debut on April 13, 1996. Sporting is 23-6-6 at home against Colorado in the regular season, which is the team's best home record against any MLS charter club, and SKC is 4-1-4 against Colorado over the last four seasons.
Sporting claimed all three points in the last meeting at Children’s Mercy Park on May 18, 2022 with a 2-1 victory. Daniel Salloi scored both goals for Sporting, continuing a run in which the MLS All-Star has scored or assisted (4 goals, 1 assist) on five of the last six goals Sporting has scored in the series since the start of 2021. The 26-year-old has five goals and an assist in his seven career regular season appearances against Colorado with all five goals coming at Children's Mercy Park.
Colorado and Sporting have each scored only twice through the first six matches of 2023 - tying an all-time low in MLS history for this stage of the season - and while Colorado is the only team in MLS not to score in the first half so far this season, Sporting is the only team in MLS yet to score in the second half. Adding to the challenge for Colorado, the Rapids enter Saturday's encounter winless in their last nine regular season road matches and are 1-13-6 away from home in the regular season since the start of 2022.
Saturday will see Peter Vermes move into third on Major League Soccer's all-time coaching chart for most career regular season matches as a manager (444). Vermes played for the Colorado Rapids from 1997-1999 before leading Kansas City to the Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup double in 2000.
Rapids head coach Robin Fraser, who was teammates with Vermes on the U.S. Men's National Team for nearly a decade from 1988-1997, will also achieve a managerial milestone on Saturday with his 100th regular season game in charge of the club.
Both managers will be without key players as Rapids captain Jack Price (Achilles) is sidelined and midfielder Cole Bassett (hamstring) is questionable on the team's player availability report. Sporting KC will remain without Kortne Ford (Achilles), Tim Leibold (hamstring), Kayden Pierre (hamstring) and Nemanja Radoja (hamstring), however left back Logan Ndenbe (hamstring) and midfielder Gadi Kinda (knee) have been upgraded to questionable for Matchday 7.