Sporting KC (7-3-0, 21 pts) at Colorado Rapids (5-6-0, 15 pts)
Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 8:00 p.m. CT
Dick's Sporting Goods Park | Commerce City, CO
English TV: KSMO-TV, WIBW-TV, KMTW-TV
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM
(May 18, 2012) -Sporting Kansas City will look to move back atop the Eastern Conference with a road result against the Colorado Rapids at 8 p.m. CT on Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The match will air live on KSMO (Kansas City), WIBW (Topeka) and KMTW (Wichita), as well as La Gran D 1340AM for Spanish listeners.
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park will host the team's official Watch Party in the Members' Club, with parking available in Lot D and doors opening at 7 p.m. CT. Food and drink will be available to purchase, including the $3 Pick Special (chips + choice of hamburger, hot dog or bratwurst).
Saturday's match will be the first time the two teams have met since the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs. Sporting Kansas City earned 2-0 victories in both legs of the home-and-away series and all 11 Sporting KC starters in the postseason feature for the club this season.
Sporting Kansas City enters the contest without a point in MLS play in over a month. After opening the season with seven straight victories, the team has lost each of their last three matches and now sit one point back of the New York Red Bulls for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Manager Peter Vermes will be without midfielder Roger Espinoza, who will serve a one-game suspension for a red card received in the team's 2-1 loss at Chicago last Saturday. Sporting Kansas City leads the all-time series 20-17-12 and are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with the Rapids in MLS competition. However, the Rapids are 14-4-7 at home against Sporting Kansas City, who have never won in the regular season at Dick's Sporting Goods Park since it opened in 2007. In fact, the team's last regular season win at Colorado came in 2004.
Colorado is coming off a 2-0 loss at D.C. United on Wednesday, which completed a three-game road trip for the club and dropped their record to 5-6-0. New head coach Oscar Pareja has shuffled his lineup in the aftermath of several early season injuries to the likes of Marvelle Wynne, Omar Cummings and Pablo Mastroeni, but his side was bolstered on Wednesday by the debut of Brazilian forward Edu and the return of striker Conor Casey, who made his first start of the season.
The Rapids overhauled their roster in the offseason, with new signings Kamani Hill, Hunter Freeman, Tony Cascio, Jamie Castrillon, Martin Rivero and Luis Zapata all contributing thus far in 2012. Veteran goalkeeper Matt Pickens leads MLS in saves this year with 42 and interim captain Drew Moor anchors the backline as the team's Defender of the Year each of the past two seasons.