All but one of the statistics from Sporting Kansas City’s game Saturday against the Rapids were astonishing.
The one that wasn’t was sad for Sporting KC: goals scored. In a 1-0 loss to Colorado in Commerce City, Colo., the Rapids scored an early goal that allowed them to sit back and defend basically the rest of the game.
“We demolished them in every category, except we didn’t score,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said in a postgame interview. “They got the win, they got the three points. But I give our guys a lot of credit. Very rarely do you see a team go away from home and play the way we did today in this league. I’m proud of that fact. I feel sorry for the guys that we didn’t get the points that we deserve.”
Sporting dominated in possession (73 percent to 27 percent), passes (628-220) and shots (25-6), but the Rapids got on the board in the 11th minute thanks to a dubious foul call.
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Sporting KC defender Ike Opara and the Rapids’ Dominique Badji were running for a ball on the left wing when Badji appeared to run into Opara and they both fell to the ground some 6 yards from the edge of the penalty box.
That drew a free kick for the Rapids (3-8-1) and they cashed in.
Shkëlzen Gashi delivered a beautiful ball into the penalty box and Kortne Ford’s header was well-placed to the right of Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia, who had no chance.
While tipping his cap to Colorado for its goal, Vermes disagreed with the referee’s decision on the foul.
“It’s one thing and one thing only: You’re going to let them play and let it stand. It’s shoulder to shoulder, two guys fall down. Whoever gets to the ball first, it’s their ball and you play on,” Vermes said. “To call a foul, it’s a gift. It’s an absolute gift by the referee.”
Sporting KC (6-4-4) dominated from that point on, but the Rapids often had 10 players deep in their own end. At times, Sporting KC’s defensive players seemed to spend more time on the attack instead of defending.
They were unable to get a ball into the back of the net, but did have some good chances. The best came in stoppage time of the second half when Seth Sinovic’s long-range shot beat Rapids goalie Tim Howard but grazed off the top of the crossbar.
In the 28th minute, Sporting midfielder Benny Feilhaber slipped a gorgeous pass to Graham Zusi on the left side of the penalty box. Zusi chipped the ball past Howard, but Bobby Burling headed the ball off the line to keep Colorado ahead.
Two minutes into the second half, Roger Espinoza unleashed a rocket from outside the penalty box, but the ball was just wide of the mark.
In the 57th minute, Latif Blessing found a bouncing ball at his foot near the penalty spot, but his shot taken with a pair of Rapids defenders near him was right at Howard.
Blessing, who started in place of Dom Dwyer, also got his head on a corner kick in the 74th minute but skied it over the bar.
But in the end, Sporting was not able to get the goal it needed.
“This one is a tough one to swallow, just the way that we owned the game,” Vermes said. “I think this is something that is going to sit in the pit of the stomach until the next game. These guys are going to be fired up, because we played at a level that was completely different, just the chances and possessions that we had.”
There was one other negative for Sporting: Roger Espinoza saw a second yellow card which meant a red card in the 93rd minute.
Rapids 1, Sporting Kansas City 0
KANSAS CITY: Tim Melia; Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic; Latif Blessing, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Jimmy Medranda (Soony Saad, 74th), Ilie Sanchez, Graham Zusi; Gerso Fernandes.
COLORADO: Tim Howard; Bobby Burling, Kortne Ford, Marlon Hairston (Mekeil Williams, 87th), Eric Miller (Mike da Fonte, 46th); Mike Azira, Shkelzen Gashi, Dillon Powers, Mohammed Saeid (Josh Gatt, 76th); Dominique Badji, Kevin Doyle.
Kansas City: None.
Colorado: 1, Ford, 0 (Gashi), 11th minute.
Shots on goal
Kansas City: Espinoza (unsporting behavior), 41st.
Colorado: Burling (unsporting behavior), 19th; Miller (unsporting behavior), 21st; Howard (time wasting), 86th; Doyle (unsporting behavior), 89th.
Kansas City: Espinoza (unsporting behavior), 95th.
Referee: Hilario Grajeda.
Assistant referee: Cameron Blanchard.
Assistant referee: Andrew Bigelow.
Fourth official: Younes Marrakchi.