Dynamo-Rapids Preview

The Colorado Rapids have dropped their last two matches

following a club-record nine-game undefeated run, conceding goals

at an alarming rate. Facing the Houston Dynamo may help cure their

recent woes.

Colorado looks to extend its unbeaten streak in this series to

five and keep Houston winless on the road Sunday night.

The Rapids (5-5-7) have allowed as many goals in their past two

games – seven – as they did during their entire 2-0-7 run from

April 30-June 11. They lost 3-1 to Los Angeles on June 18 and 4-1

to Columbus last Sunday.

“It’s unusual that we concede many goals, and were as sloppy as

we were for the goals that took Columbus into the lead,” coach Gary

Smith told the league’s official website. “It’s five games we have

been beaten this season, and we have fallen foul to some

decisions.”

Conor Casey scored for the fourth time in five games, though he

will serve a one-game suspension Sunday for sliding into Crew

goalkeeper William Hesmer in the 29th minute.

The defending MLS Cup champions are far from where they’d like

to be at the midway point of the season, around the middle of the

Western Conference standings and 13 points behind first-place Los

Angeles.

“It’s time for us to step it up, improve and start picking up

points,” Casey said.

The Rapids will look to bounce back versus the Dynamo, against

whom they’ve gone 3-0-1 in the last four meetings. Houston has lost

its last two visits to Colorado by a combined 4-0 score and enters

this contest with an 0-3-5 road record.

The Dynamo led the first matchup this season on Colin Clark’s

goal in the 71st minute, but Jamie Smith and Scott Palguta later

scored to give Colorado a 2-1 victory May 4.

However, it’s been the Dynamo (4-6-7) who have often recovered

to earn points after falling behind.

Brian Ching scored in the 89th minute last Saturday to lift

Houston to a 2-all draw against D.C. The Dynamo have earned eight

points in the 11 games in which they’ve allowed the first goal,

second in MLS to Columbus’ 10 points in such contests.

Clark assisted on Ching’s tally after replacing the injured Brad

Davis, who sat out the second half after aggravating a left

adductor strain.

Davis lauded his team’s come-from-behind effort, though he’s

doubtful to play in Sunday’s rematch against the Rapids.

“We’ve lost games, but we still feel like we definitely need to

get on a roll and we need to figure out a way to start winning some

games,” Davis said. “All in all, when you are down a goal, all you

can do is continue to fight until you get back in (the game) and

that’s what the guys did (against D.C.).”

Colorado’s Omar Cummings said he refuses to let his ankle injury

slow him and plans to be back in the starting lineup Sunday. His

last start came in the victory over Houston when he suffered a

sprain near the end of the first half.

Cummings, who has two goals in nine games, has played only in

the second half of the Rapids’ last two matches.

“Ready or not, I’m going to play,” he said. “I’m hoping to go

the full 90, at least get the start and go from there.”