Sporting Kansas City suffered a 1-0 road defeat to the first-place Colorado Rapids on Wednesday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The result gives Colorado a three-point lead atop the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings and extends Sporting Kansas City’s winless skid to seven matches.
The Rapids (7-2-2, 23 points) secured their fourth successive win over Sporting Kansas City (4-6-2, 14 points) behind Dillon Serna’s 78th-minute goal, which came just two minutes after defender Ike Opara was ejected for what referee Jose Carlos Rivero deemed to be a second bookable offense.
Coming off a 2-0 setback at Houston Dynamo on Saturday, Manager Peter Vermes made four changes to the Sporting KC lineup as Opara, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Lawrence Olum and Jimmy Medranda entered the fold. In attack, winger Brad Davis made his 378th career MLS regular season appearance, tying Steve Ralston for second-most all-time among field players.
Colorado entered Wednesday leading MLS with nearly six shots on goal per game but went the entire first half without testing goalkeeper Tim Melia. Midfielder Sam Cronin gave Sporting Kansas City only a fleeting scare in the 20th minute, intercepting Opara’s pass and firing narrowly wide from 35 yards with Melia out of his goal.
Dom Dwyer was on the receiving end of Sporting Kansas City’s first scoring opportunity in the 26th minute. Davis sprayed the ball down the left wing to Seth Sinovic, whose looping cross was headed narrowly high by the Englishman near the penalty spot.
The industrious Roger Espinoza wore the captain’s armband for Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night and provided the game’s first shot on target. The Honduran swiftly dispossessed U.S. international Jermaine Jones, swiveled toward goal and pulled the trigger from 18 yards, but Zac MacMath was well-positioned to make the stop.
Dwyer, who continued his hunt for a 50th career Sporting KC goal in all competitions, turned last-ditch defender in the 57th minute to keep Colorado off the scoresheet. Marc Burch’s in-swinging free kick was punched by Melia only as far as Micheal Azira, whose 22-yard screamer pinged around the six-yard area. Jones then managed to clip an attempt goalward, but Dwyer was stationed on the goal-line to hammer clear downfield.
Melia produced his finest save of the match in the 74th minute. Luis Solignac emerged with possession along the left endline, cut past Connor Hallisey and struck low from a tight angle, forcing Melia to palm away impressively.
A contentious moment followed two minutes later when Opara received his second yellow card after tangling legs with Jones on the right wing. Colorado converted on the man advantage with the game’s only goal 12 minutes from full time. Serna, who had entered the contest just two minutes earlier, collected a headed clearance 25 yards from goal, took two touches to his left and fired low through traffic to beat Melia just inside the right post.
The visitors’ final chance to salvage a point came in the 92nd minute when Dwyer, the most-fouled player in MLS, won Sporting Kansas City a free kick 22 yards from goal. Nuno Coelho back-heeled the ball to Dwyer, whose thunderous blast was on target but blocked by the boot of Bobby Burling. Rivero whistled an end to the affair shortly thereafter, giving Colorado its sixth straight home win to start the season.
Sporting Kansas City will end the month of May with a three-game home stand, beginning Sunday when Orlando City SC (2-2-5, 11 points) makes its first-ever visit to Children's Mercy Park. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT and a limited number of tickets for the contest are still available at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 888-4KC-GOAL. ESPN and ESPN Deportes will televise the match nationally, while listeners can follow the action locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish).
2016 MLS Regular Season
Game 12 of 34
Dick's Sporting Goods Park | Commerce City, Colorado
Weather: 56 degrees and partly cloudy
Final: Full highlights
Quotes: Player/coach reaction
|Sporting Kansas City (4-6-2, 14 pts)||0||0||0|
|Colorado Rapids (7-2-2, 23 pts)||0||1||1|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Nuno Coelho, Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic (Amadou Dia 59); Soni Mustivar, Lawrence Olum, Roger Espinoza (C); Brad Davis (Jacob Peterson 76), Dom Dwyer, Jimmy Medranda (Connor Hallisey 68)
Subs Not Used: Alec Kann, Matt Besler, Paulo Nagamura, Diego Rubio
Colorado Rapids: Zac MacMath; Mekeil Williams, Bobby Burling, Axel Sjoberg, Marc Burch; Sam Cronin, Micheal Azira, Dominique Badji, Jermaine Jones (Dillon Powers 87), Luis Solignac (Dillon Serna 76); Kevin Doyle
Subs Not Used: Chris Froschauer, Jared Watts, Dennis Castillo, Marlon Hairston, Conor Doyle
|Shots on Goal||1||3|
COL -- Dominique Badji (caution; unsporting behavior) 33
SKC -- Ike Opara (caution; unsporting behavior) 56
SKC -- Lawrence Olum (caution; unsporting behavior) 59
SKC -- Dom Dwyer (caution; unsporting behavior) 61
COL -- Axel Sjoberg (caution; unsporting behavior) 75
SKC -- Ike Opara (ejection, second caution; unsporting behavior) 76
COL -- Dillon Serna 1 (unassisted) 78