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Defending champs Colorado short on players
by Ridge Mahoney, November 1st, 2011 2:12AM

TAGS:  colorado rapids, mls


[MLS PLAYOFF WATCH] The final whistle probably couldn't come soon enough for the Rapids in their 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City Sunday night. Going down by two goals in the home leg was bad enough; losing three players from an already stripped-down squad because of injuries turned the game into a nightmare on the eve of Halloween.

Defenders Kosuke Kimura (fractured left foot) and Drew Moor (separated shoulder) and striker Caleb Folan (sprained left knee and ankle) joined the injured list. None were able to finish the match and all will miss the second leg Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer) at Livestrong Sporting Park.

Pablo Mastroeni missed the first leg because of a concussion and is questionable for the second game, in which Colorado will also be lacking suspended defender Tyrone Marshall.

Jamie Smith went down with a torn ACL prior to the start of the playoffs and striker Conor Casey has been out with a torn Achilles' tendon since mid-July.

Folan twisted his knee and ankle vying for a ball with SKC defender Aurelien Collin midway through the first half, and Moor came up grimacing after a fierce shoulder charge by Teal Bunbury. Kimura suffered a fracture of the third metatarsal late in the first half when tackled by defender Matt Besler. He was replaced by Marshall, who departed in the 59th minute when adjudged to have fouled Bunbury in the penalty area.

“The two injures in the first half bit into us hard,” Smith said to mlssoccercom. “The moves certainly don’t help us. The strongest group went out there and they were three players light by the end of the game. Because you have to make changes, it makes you weaker.”

SKC kept attacker Omar Bravo out of the game to rest his injured groin, and with a 2-0 lead and playing at home, he could sit out the second leg as well. If SKC advances, it hosts the Eastern Conference final Sunday against either Houston or Philadelphia.

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