Professional Soccer

Sporting KC falls 2-0 to Rapids in second home loss of season

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Sporting Kansas City suffered the team’s second home loss of the 2015 campaign on Wednesday, falling 2-0 to the Colorado Rapids at Sporting Park. The defeat leaves Sporting KC in sixth place in the Western Conference and in pursuit of a playoff berth on the season’s final day when the club hosts the reigning MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy at 6 p.m. CT on Sunday at Sporting Park live on ESPN.

A victory on Decision Day will assure Sporting Kansas City of a postseason appearance for the fifth consecutive season, while a draw or loss in the finale would leave the team needing other results to fall in their favor. Visit SportingKC.com for a comprehensive list of potential scenarios.

The Rapids won for the first time in Kansas City since 2002, snapping a 15-game road winless streak in the series, thanks to two goals in the final 15 minutes. Juan Ramirez came off the bench in the 74th minute to set up both goals, assisting Dillon Powers in the 78th minute and Marcelo Sarvas in the 86th minute.

Powers broke open the scoreless stalemate with his third goal of the season coming on a breakaway. The former Rookie of the Year carried the ball to the top of the penalty area and chipped a shot over the outrushing Tim Melia to give the Rapids an unlikely lead. Prior to the goal, Colorado’s had gone more than 40 minutes of the match without a shot.

The visitors momentum was momentarily put on pause when captain Sam Cronin was sent off in the 84th minute, however Sarvas ended any hopes of a Sporting Kansas City comeback with his second goal of the season two minutes later. Colorado caught Sporting KC with numbers committed forward for a corner kick and pounced on the counter as Sarvas provided the finishing touch with a right-footed strike that found the back of the net despite the best efforts of Melia.

Colorado goalkeeper Zac MacMath, on loan from Philadelphia, made three saves in the shutout for a Rapids side that that has conceded the fewest road goals in MLS this season. He held onto a shot from Dom Dwyer in the 26th minute, got a foot to Soni Mustivar’s effort despite a late deflection in the 73rd minute and then raced off his line in stoppage time to preserve the clean sheet with a sliding stop on Paulo Nagamura.

Sporting Kansas City’s 18 shots tied the team’s single-game season high, however all but the three aforementioned attempts were either blocked or off target. Krisztian Nemeth and Benny Feilhaber each were poised to capitalize on defensive turnovers by the Rapids in the 35th minute only to have their shots denied by defensive interventions. Graham Zusi sent a shot skimming off the top of the crossbar in the 71st minute and his free kick in the 85th minute connected with Chance Myers, whose header was cleared off the line.

Wednesday’s setback raises the stakes for Sunday’s showdown with the LA Galaxy, who can secure a Knockout Round bye and home field advantage in the Western Conference semifinals with a victory. A limited number of tickets, including standing room only tickets are available, via Ticketmaster.com and the first 5,000 fans inside the stadium will receive Sporting KC touchscreen gloves courtesy of Pepsi. In addition, Sporting Style will be offering 50% off all secondary jerseys and fans are encouraged to arrive early for the Fall Festival on the Sprint Plaza, as well as a “Paint the Wall” ceremony at 5:15 p.m. featuring Sporting KC captain Matt Besler.

Major League Soccer
Regular Season: Game 33

Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 18,897 (69th straight sell out)
Weather: 78 degrees and partly cloudy

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