Sporting Kansas City-Rapids Preview

The Associated Press

Though Sporting Kansas City has gotten off to an underwhelming start as reigning MLS Cup champion, it might have already cleaned up mistakes that cost it points in its first two matches.

That stingy defense on Saturday will look to stymie the host Colorado Rapids, who have yet to score this season without the aid of a penalty kick.

Sporting KC (1-1-1) comes off a 1-0 home victory over San Jose last Saturday. Dom Dwyer scored the game's lone goal on a penalty in the 57th minute, marking the club's first strike by a forward in a 564-minute stretch dating back to his goal versus Houston in last year's Eastern Conference finals.

"We really needed three points today," Dwyer told the team's official website. "We can't keep dropping points – at home, especially. We needed to get a solid win in the league, and we did that. That's the most important thing – but yeah, it's nice to get a goal."

Kansas City only allowed one shot on goal for the second straight game. However, Sporting surrendered FC Dallas' lone goal on that shot in the 90th minute of last week's 1-all draw a week after giving up a goal in stoppage time in a 1-0 loss at Seattle.

"I'm pretty proud of this win because they're very dangerous the last five minutes of the game," keeper Eric Kronberg said. "That's something we've been working on with the last couple of games, and we got it right this time. We managed the clock, took the ball to the corners, did everything right to close out a win."

Sporting KC will look to avoid an 0-2 road start for the first time in four years. It's 4-0-5 over the last nine meetings with Colorado, including wins in three of the last four. KC hasn't lost to the Rapids since a 2-1 road defeat on March 28, 2009.

But Colorado (1-0-1) is riding a 10-game home unbeaten streak - winning five straight - after claiming its first victory under first-year coach Pablo Mastroeni by beating Portland 2-0 last Saturday.

"I didn't see any difference in getting my first win," Mastroeni told the team's official website. "It's still new. I still feel like I'm still with those guys."

The Rapids still haven't scored in a non-penalty kick situation, getting goals from Vicente Sanchez and Deshorn Brown two minutes apart in the second half against the Timbers. Sanchez also scored on a penalty in the 72nd minute of a 1-all draw at New York a week earlier.

Being without midfielder Dillon Serna - who fired a team-best two shots on goal against the Red Bulls - likely won't help ignite the offense. Serna is expected to miss his second straight game due to a sprained ankle.

Chris Klute is also expected to sit out again after suffering a strained hamstring versus New York. Klute led the team in 2013 with seven assists.

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