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SKC, Rapids meet in clash of Western Conference powers

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Sporting Kansas City look to continue a strong run when they visit the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night at Commerce City, Colo.

Sporting Kansas City (10-4-3, 33 points) notched a 3-1 home win over the Rapids on June 23, beginning a 5-1-1 stretch that has helped the club catch the Seattle Sounders for a share of first place in the Western Conference.

Kansas City also is thriving on the road, with three straight wins over the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Sounders and Los Angeles FC by a combined 9-2.

The fourth-place Rapids (8-4-3, 27 points) pose a strong challenge. They are 5-0-2 in their past seven home matches while outscoring foes 15-5.

Colorado is 3-1-2 since the June loss to SKC and is coming off a 1-0 road win over Austin FC.

Meanwhile, SKC routed LAFC 4-1 on Wednesday as Daniel Salloi scored his team-best 10th goal of the season. His career high is 11 in 2018.

Salloi had two goals in the June win over the Rapids, and earlier this week he was named to the MLS All-Star team for the first time.

“He’s done a great job,” SKC coach Peter Vermes told reporters. “I’m happy for him because obviously he’s turned a lot of things around and he’s on the verge of being really, really good — not only a good player for us, but I think one of the better players in the league now.”

Colorado’s defensive backfield is in flux after the team sent 22-year-old U.S. Men’s National Team player Sam Vines to Royal Antwerp in Belgium. Vines had two goals in 53 matches (49 starts) with the Rapids.

Colorado has made two recent acquisitions by landing midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye from LAFC and forward Dominique Badji from Nashville SC. Badji is returning to the team for which he scored 24 goals in 91 matches from 2015-18 before being traded to FC Dallas.

“I was young here, raw but getting a little bit more refined,” said the 28-year-old Badji, while making it clear he’s happy to be back with the Rapids. “Now I’m mature, I’ve grown into my body, I know how to use my body much better.”

–Field Level Media

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