KANSAS CITY – Sporting KC have been bad this season. Saturday night, they gave up seven goals at Portland Timbers. Colorado Rapids overcame unprecedented adversity on the weekend to down LAFC. A team looking to resurrect their season needed a result against a team that had just bounced back. Dániel Sallói would not go quietly into the night in Blue Hell.
Dániel Sallói brace leads SKC to much needed 2-1 win over Rapids
Peter Vermes made a season high four changes from the last game. Ben Sweat started at outside back and Nikola Vijnovic was up top. Robin Fraser had a healthy squad with Danny Wilson and Jack Price starting, coming off hamstring injuries.
The home side wanted a penalty ten minutes in. The hand of Lucas Esteves deflected a cross into the box, but Johnny Russell pushed him from behind in the process. VAR did not have Drew Fischer go to the monitor.
Sallói opened the scoring in the 24th minute. Oriol Rosell took a free kick at midfield quickly. Sallói drove at Lalas Abubakar, cut inside, and slotted the ball inside the near post.
Colorado responded minutes later. Auston Trusty got forward and sent a low cross into the six. Sporting couldn’t deal with the cross cleanly. Gyasi Zardes played the ball back to Esteves who tapped it in.
The injury list grew for SKC before halftime. Vijnovic went down without contact running for a ball in transition. He appeared to injure his calf or Achilles and was subbed out for Marinos Tzionis. The half ended 1-1.
Sallói took initiative, scoring five minutes into the second half. Abubakar reached to clear a cross from Kortne Ford, deflecting it right to the winger. He ran into space and beat William Yarbrough with a low shot.
Colorado suffered their own forward injury after the hour mark. Gyasi Zardes went down with what looked like a hamstring injury. He was subbed off for Michael Barrios. They went Route One in the final 20 minutes but were unsuccessful. Jonathan Lewis had the best chance with a shot off a deflection. Tim Melia made the reaction save.
Auston Trusty was given a second yellow for a tactical foul in stoppage time. Esteves and Andreu Fontàs were given red cards for violent conduct after a VAR review also sent off Sallói for a leg sweep on Nicolas Mezquida.
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Sallói opportunism on Abubakar: Sallói was aggressive and clinical on both goals. Abubakar got burned on the first and was unlucky on the bounce that led to the second. These were Sallói’s third and fourth goals of the year. His red card soured what should have been a great night.
“My man goes up on the first goal. I should have had that. Discipline. When we’re not, it looks like that,” Colorado captain Jack Price said post game.
Injuries to forwards: Both of these teams had been hurt by significant injuries this year. SKC are running out of options with Vijnovic. Colorado have big hopes for Zardes. This was his fifth game in Burgundy and Blue.
Bounce back vs. bounce back down: Colorado came back down to earth after their win over the weekend. Sporting got a potentially season defining win.
Rivalry in Blue Hell: These teams do not like each other. Their games get very physical. MLS After Dark and Blue Hell popped off in stoppage time with four red cards, all of which should have been avoided. Tempers boiled over as Esteves and Fontàs chose violence, sending this game into chaos.
“I am a big believer in teammates standing up for each other. I’m also a believer in controlling your emotions. To become a bigger team we have to take some emotion out of it,” said Rapids Head Coach Robin Fraser.