COMMERCE CITY, CO (May 27, 2017) – It wasn’t pretty but it worked. The Colorado Rapids got a huge home win 1-0 over Sporting Kansas City at home. A first half Kortne Ford goal, his first as a professional, lifted the Rapids to victory. Some heroic defending and poor shooting by KC sealed the result.
Once again, Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni had his team in a 4-4-2. Bobby Burling and Kortne Ford started at center back. Shkelzen Gashi and Mohammed Saeid started on the wings in the midfield. Kevin Doyle and Dominique Badji started up top.
Kansas City Manager Peter Vermese had his team in their patented 4-3-3. With Dom Dwyer out with an injury, Latif Blessing started up top with Jimmy Medranda and Gerso Fernandes. Benny Feilhaber and Roger Espinoza highlighted the midfield. Captain Matt Besler led the back line.
Kortne Ford Goal Lifts Colorado Rapids Over Sporting KC in Nail Biter
The Rapids made an early set piece count. Dominique Badji earned a free kick five yards from the penalty box. Gashi stepped up and curled a ball into 18. Ford rose up and headed the ball into the bottom corner. It was his first professional goal, just 11 minutes into the match.
Sporting responded almost immediatelly. They put together several good offensive sequences with numbers forward. Colorado were on their heels defending in the box. Fernandes and Medranda got several shooting chances from the run of play. Feilhaber had two direct free kick attempts, but everything went into the defensive wall.
Kansas City outshot Colorado 14-3 in the first half and had 74 percent of the ball. The Rapids counter did not produce much, but Gashi was very dangerous on set pieces. The visitors nearly tied it in the 28th minute, when Graham Zusi got the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard towards the forwards, but Burling won the ball and headed it back to Howard.
The half ended 1-0 with Burling, Eric Miller, and Roger Espinoza on yellow cards.
Vermes had his team turn up the pressure in the second half. Sporting threw numbers into the box, creating several scoring chances. Howard denied Blessing on a point blank shot in the 57th minute.
The visitors continued to have trouble getting shots on frame. Feilhaber had a golden chance inside the box in the 81st minute, but Howard made the save after Burling deflected it.
Seth Sinovic had another chance in stoppage time, but fired a shot off the cross bar and out of play. The match was capped off with a second yellow to Espinoza in stoppage time. Kansas City couldn’t recover and the match ended 1-0.
Kortne Ford had his best game as a professional, even without the goal. He made several critical plays on both sides of the ball. He kept Blessing in check and was a force on set pieces.
For Colorado overall, this is a much needed win after two road losses last week. They got three points at home against a conference opponent. The defense bent, but didn’t break. This was a vintage 2016 Rapids home win.
For Kansas City, this is a tough loss. They were the better offensive team by far, dominating possession and finishing with 24 shots. They only mustered two on target though. This is a different (read: not as sharp) offensive team without Dwyer up top. They need him back soon. Regardless, Vermes will have the forwards practicing their finishing next week.