There will be no repeat MLS Cup Championship for the Colorado Rapids in 2011. With weather conditions less than ideal for playoff soccer at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City on Wednesday night, the wounded Rapids fell to Sporting Kansas City 2-0. This loss, coupled with an earlier 2-0 score, gave Kansas City a 4-0 aggregate win to propel them to the MLS Eastern Conference Finals.
The writing may have been on the wall even before the game started, as Rapids Head Coach Gary Smith was forced to shuffle both his lineup and formation in order to compensate for injuries. The analysts over at SB Nation's Colorado Rapids blog, Burgundy Wave, explain:
Rapids head coach Gary Smith was forced to field a lineup that had many reserves and also had them play in a 4-3-3 formation. Colorado faced an injury crisis as Kosuke Kimura and Drew Moor were injured during the previous game. Colorado had seven regulars on the injured reserve. Wells Thompson played at right back, as opposed to his familiar midfield role. Scott Palguta started in central defense alongside Marvell Wynne. Ross Labauex started in central midfield with Joseph Nane while Brian Mullan and Sanna Nyassi supported Omar Cummingsfrom the attacking wings. Even with the attacking lineup, Colorado found it difficult to hold possession or seriously threaten Jimmy Nielen's goal for the majority of the evening.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Denver for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the Colorado Rapids be sure to visit Burgundy Wave. Visit SB Nation Soccer for more news and notes around the league and around the world.