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Rapids set to keep rolling in matchup with struggling Sporting KC

May 14, 2022; Commerce City, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles FC defender Mamadou Fall (5) and Colorado Rapids forward Gyasi Zardes (29) during the second half against Los Angeles FC at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After a pair of unfortunate results — falling to the San Jose Earthquakes and then losing to Minnesota United FC in the U.S. Open Cup — the Colorado Rapids were in desperate need of positivity.

To right the ship, the Rapids blanked LAFC at home on Saturday, 2-0, extending their regular-season unbeaten streak at home to 22 games (13-0-9).

Now, the Rapids will aim to keep this momentum rolling when they face Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The Rapids (4-4-3, 15 points) dug deep on Saturday to stay in the top half of the Western Conference table. To beat LAFC, which leads the league’s race for the Supporter’s Shield, they needed a pair of penalty kicks from Gyasi Zardes and Diego Rubio.

For Zardes, the goal was his first in a Colorado kit. He joined the club last month via trade with the Columbus Crew.

“It is such a good feeling to score here in front of our home fans, especially (being) my first goal,” Zardes told Univision after the game.

The 2-0 result against LAFC also gives the Rapids a positive goal differential on the season at plus-1. Colorado hopes that figure improves as Zardes, an experienced striker with 90 MLS goals under his belt, finds his stride with his new club.

“It feels good to see everybody lock in and knowing their roles,” defender Auston Trusty told the Denver Post.

Sporting KC advanced in Open Cup play last week, but the club hasn’t won a league match since late March. With a 2-7-3 record (9 points) and a minus-13 goal differential, Kansas City finds itself toward the bottom of the Western Conference table, just one spot ahead of last-place Vancouver.

After his team lost 7-2 to the Portland Timbers on Sunday, captain Johnny Russell ripped the team’s performance in a postgame interview.

“To concede six goals in one half of a game is — I’m trying to choose my words carefully here — it’s not even embarrassing. It’s so far beyond that,” Russell said. “It’s just a complete disgrace as a professional, individually and as a team. That second half is so unacceptable on so many levels.”

–Field Level Media