Union-Rapids Preview

The Philadelphia Union just snapped a lengthy road scoring

drought in a big way. A similar performance in Colorado against the

reigning champion would make a major statement to the rest of

MLS.

Philadelphia tries for a franchise-record third straight win

Saturday night when it faces a Rapids team trying to extend its

undefeated stretch to eight following five consecutive ties.

Entering the match with no goals in their previous three games

away from home, the Union (6-3-2) ended a 355-minute stretch

without a road goal with Saturday’s 6-2 win over Toronto. It was

the highest-scoring game for Philadelphia in its two-year

history.

“Everyone has been talking about how we haven’t scored too many

goals, but I think we proved them wrong in this game,” midfielder

Gabriel Farfan told the Union’s official website after scoring his

first MLS goal.

Philadelphia, two points ahead of New York for the Eastern

Conference lead, also could quiet some critics with its first win

at Colorado. The Union fell 4-1 in their only visit there Sept. 29,

and the Rapids have not allowed more than one goal in any of their

six home games this season.

“We’re not too worried about what other teams think about us,

but to get a result there would show that we can compete with the

best in the league, and hopefully we are one of the better teams in

the league,” said midfielder Justin Mapp, who along with Danny

Mwanga, posted his first career two-goal game Saturday.

The defending MLS Cup champion Rapids (4-3-6) were expected to

be among the best in the league, but injuries to last season’s top

scorers – Conor Casey (hamstring) and Omar Cummings (right ankle) –

have been difficult to overcome.

Casey, though, has been back for four contests, and he scored

his first goal of the season Saturday in a 1-all draw with Kansas

City.

“It was good to get it,” Casey told the Rapids’ official

website. “I’ve been injured and then played and had some

opportunities and didn’t finish. So, it was kind of a gimme, but

I’ll take it. Any way to get a start.”

Coach Gary Smith would like to see more production from his

talented forward as his club sits in fourth place in the West

following its fifth straight draw, tied for the longest such

single-season stretch in league history.

“The fact that we stay unbeaten is always good. … but we’re

going to have to turn the screw a little bit when we go away and

pick up some of those points lost here,” Smith said.

San Jose (2004-05) holds the league record with six consecutive

ties.

Colorado is 0-1-3 in its last four home games.