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Preview: Sporting Visits Colorado on Sunday

September 25, 2020 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Sporting Kansas City News Release

Two teams within touching distance of first place in the Western Conference will go toe-to-toe Sunday at 8 p.m. CT when Sporting Kansas City (6-5-2, 20 points) battles the Colorado Rapids (5-4-4, 19 points) at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.

FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus and FOX Sports GO will provide three hours of live coverage on Sunday beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT. Local radio broadcasts will air on ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM, with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 94.5 FM. Supporters can also access the Sporting KC app for in-game updates and exclusive offers, including a digital coupon for free Ritz Crackers at any Kansas City area Price Chopper location.

The newest chapter of a rivalry that dates back to the inaugural 1996 MLS campaign will be written Sunday, with Sporting looking to snap a two-game losing skid and Colorado seeking a third successive victory.

Manager Peter Vermes' side took four points from the previous two head-to-head meetings this season, as Sporting secured a wild 3-2 win at the MLS is Back Tournament on July 17 before coming from behind to post a 1-1 draw on Aug. 29 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Khiry Shelton, Alan Pulido and Graham Zusi scored in the five-goal thriller -- which also saw Colorado's Jack Price and Danny Wilson receive second-half red cards -- while 18-year-old Gianluca Busio canceled out a Cole Bassett strike in last month's stalemate.

Sporting will have the chance to bounce back quickly after falling 2-1 to Orlando City SC on Wednesday at Children's Mercy Park. Johnny Russell once again delivered a standout performance for the hosts, scoring his fourth goal in a torrid three-game stretch to vault his team-leading goal tally to six on the year. The Scottish international has become the fourth player in Sporting history to notch four consecutive regular season goals for the club, and his three-match scoring streak is tied for the longest in MLS this year.

A minimum of one Sporting lineup change will be on tap this weekend, as midfielder Gadi Kinda will serve a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. Busio missed Wednesday's tilt against Orlando for the same reason and could return to the center of the pitch alongside Ilie Sanchez, who stepped back into the starting XI this week for the first time since the MLS is Back Tournament. Mexican striker Alan Pulido -- Sporting's record signing who has four goals and four assists in all competitions -- may also be poised for an increased role, having come off the bench versus Orlando after missing four straight matches from Sept. 2-19.

Led by head coach Robin Fraser, the Rapids are one of the Western Conference's most in-form clubs. Colorado has won three of four and suffered just one loss in seven since the end of August. The Rapids have exploded for 13 goals over their last five contests, including 5-0 victories against Real Salt Lake on Sept. 12 and the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday.

Red-hot Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett has four goals and three assists in his last seven appearances, including a goal in Colorado's 1-1 draw against Sporting on Aug. 29. Jonathan Lewis (five goals), former Sporting striker Diego Rubio (two goals) and reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Andre Shinyashiki (two goals) are also in the attacking mix for a team that traded veteran Kei Kamara to Minnesota United FC last Saturday.

A remarkable logjam in the West currently sees the conference's eight playoff spots separated by only four points. Co-leaders Seattle and Portland sit on 21 points, with eighth-place Real Salt Lake on 17 points and Vancouver, Houston and the LA Galaxy on 15 points in a three-way tie for ninth.

The final six weeks of the regular season will feature all teams playing 10 or 11 more matches to round out the 23-game campaign by Decision Day on Nov. 8. The Audi MLS Cup Playoffs will then commence later in November, consisting of eight Western Conference teams and 10 Eastern Conference teams in a single-elimination, bracket-style format through MLS Cup on Dec. 12.

Sporting Kansas City at Colorado Rapids

2020 MLS Regular Season | Match 14 of 23

Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 | 8 p.m. CT

Dick's Sporting Goods Park | Commerce City, Colorado

Broadcast Schedule:

English TV | FOX Sports Kansas City

English TV | FOX Sports Midwest Plus

Streaming | FOX Sports GO

English Radio | ESPN 94.5 FM

Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM

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