HOW IT PLAYED OUT
Life, death and 1-0 decisions involving the Colorado Rapids.
On Saturday, the burgundy opposition played up to the monicker it's earned over the last 12-plus months, giving Sporting Kansas City time, space and shots. In fact, the visitors ripped off 25 shots, or 12 percent of its total on the season. But the Rapids' packed half of the field, coupled with the continued absence of Dom Dwyer, proved too much of a hurdle in the end, marking Sporting KC's fourth loss of the season.
Seth Sinovic gave Sporting KC its best chance late in second half stoppage time, firing a bender from distance that hit the crossbar. Bobby Burling also got in the way of a Benny Feilhaber shot in the 81st minute — an attempt to finally break the final Colorado defensive line.
Not much of a consolation if you're a Sporting KC fan, but touching nonetheless: Colorado's young homegrown product Kortne Ford scored the first of his career. Ford, a native of Olathe, Kansas, moved to Greeley, Colorado, in 2008 with his mother, Laurie, to start a new life. Shortly after arriving, Laurie was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. During her fight, she would drive her son to Denver multiple times a week for soccer practice. As you can imagine, their relationship strengthened during those years — Kortne turning down a scholarship to play at Stanford to stay close to home — and continues to as Laurie now fights Stage 4 bone cancer, a diagnosis she recently learned of.
The entire Rapids community has honored the Ford family this month, and on Saturday it was easy to see how much the goal meant to Kortne and his teammates.
While iffy defending ultimately caused Ford's header on the free-kick, some might question whether the sequence should've happened at all. Dominique Badji appeared to make no effort to play the ball in the build-up leading to the foul, looking back to find Ike Opara and put a body into him.
However, with 73 percent of the possession and 25 shots taken, to only put two on target, even against a defensive-minded opponent, was never going to cut it.
"Frustrating," Matt Besler said as he walked away from a postgame interview.
MAN OF THE MATCH
It appeared that Sporting KC was deploying two No. 8's at times on Saturday. Ilie spent more time beside Roger Espinoza and Benny Feilhaber than ever before this season, even drifting into the space wedged between the final third and midfield for significant stretches of play. His passing accuracy dipped (only slightly) because of this — 84 percent — but he was everywhere on both sides of the ball, giving Sporting KC a chance to break down the Rapids.
"This is a frustrating one. For me, there's not a whole lot to say other than that we're frustrated, because everybody put everything they had into this game," Besler said after the match. "We tried everything. They put everyone behind the ball, obviously. We tried to be patient, play through them and put crosses into the box ... I don't know what we're going to say in the locker room. It's just disappointing."
GIF OF THE MATCH
Home against Minnesota United FC at 4 p.m.