The winless stretch began at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan., on a mild April evening, but over the last five weeks, it has accompanied Sporting Kansas City on trips to Dallas, San Jose, Calif., Vancouver, British Columbia, Houston and Colorado.
The streak will make the return trip home.
The Rapids extended Sporting Kansas City’s winless span to seven matches with a 1-0 result Wednesday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
In a match defined by its dreary pace, Rapids midfielder Dillon Serna scored the game’s only goal in the 78th minute, less than two minutes after Sporting KC defender Ike Opara was ejected for a second yellow card. Opara received the card for a foul against Jermaine Jones, a call that prompted immediate argument from Sporting players.
“It’s a bad call. In a game like that, to call that a second yellow is sad. It’s really sad,” Sporting coach Peter Vermes said. “But we still had a chance to defend the action.”
Instead, Colorado, 7-2-2, extended its advantage atop the Western Conference standings and remained unbeaten at home in six matches.
Sporting, 4-6-2, was shut out for the third time in seven matches. It earned its best chance in the 92nd minute on a strike from Dom Dwyer off a free kick.
Even without a goal, Sporting was on its way to earning a crucial road point with a scoreless draw before the second yellow card to Opara.
“I thought we played well from the get-go,” Vermes said. “I don’t think we gave anything away. They had one chance after the foul and the yellow card and the sendoff. Outside of that, there was nothing else in the game. They should be elated to walk away with what they got.”
Colorado entered the match averaging an MLS-best 5.8 shots on goal per game. It didn’t record any in the opening half and had just three for the game. Sporting managed only one, but it clogged the passing lanes in an effort led by midfielder Roger Espinoza.
A much-appreciated effort, given the showing only four days earlier.
After calling out his team’s lack of hustle in Saturday’s loss in Houston, Vermes fielded a starting lineup Wednesday without four of his veterans — midfielder Benny Feilhaber, winger Graham Zusi and defender Chance Myers did not make the trip to Colorado, and captain Matt Besler opened the game as an available substitute. Espinoza served as the captain in his place.
Vermes said Zusi is battling a minor injury, but he classified the Besler, Feilhaber and Myers absences as his decision.
Sporting is in the midst of a 22-day stretch that includes six matches. It returns home Sunday for a date with Orlando City SC. The nationally televised match, which will start at 2:30 p.m., will kick off a three-match homestand.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY 0
KANSAS CITY: Ike Opara, Nuno Coelho, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Seth Sinovic (Amadou Dia, 59th), Lawrence Olum, Roger Espinoza, Soni Mustivar, Brad Davis (Jacob Peterson, 76th), Dominic Dwyer, Jimmy Medranda (Connor Hallisey, 68th).
COLORADO: Axel Sjoberg, Bobby Burling, Marc Burch, Mekeil Williams, Dominique Badji, Jermaine Jones (Dillon Powers, 87th), Luis Solignac (Dillon Serna, 76th), Micheal Azira, Sam Cronin, Kevin Doyle.
Kansas City: None. Colorado: 1, Dillon Serna (1), 78th minute.
Shots on goal
Kansas City: Ike Opara, 56th minute; Lawrence Olum, 59th; Dominic Dwyer, 61st; Ike Opara, 76th.
Colorado: Dominique Badji, 33rd minute; Axel Sjoberg, 75th.
Kansas City: x.
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero.
Assistant referee: Sean Hurd.
Assistant referee: Logan Brown.
4th official: Nima Saghafi.
Announced attendance: 12,857.