The Colorado Rapids are in position for their first playoff
berth since 2006 largely because of a string of dominating
performances at home.
Even with leading goal scorer Conor Casey suspended, they’d
likely be unsatisfied with anything besides three points Wednesday
night against the Philadelphia Union, who’ve lost 10 of their 13
The Rapids (10-7-8) haven’t conceded a goal at home since July
31 against FC Dallas, building a shutout streak of 428 minutes
while extending their home unbeaten run to nine.
They’ve won their last three home matches by 3-0 scores, twice
getting goals in the first five minutes while improving to 7-1-4 at
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“When you start off games like we have with the last three home
games scoring quickly, goals seem to come easier and it is
definitely something you want to recreate every time you come out
and play,” Casey said after the Rapids beat New England in their
last home match Sept. 18.
Colorado, which holds a five-point lead on Kansas City for the
final MLS playoff spot, can all but secure the berth by winning
both home games this week, including a matchup with league-worst
D.C. on Saturday.
“We go back home for two games in a very good mood, a confident
mood, to try to see ourselves in the postseason,” coach Gary Smith
said after a 1-all tie at Real Salt Lake last Saturday.
Casey scored his 11th goal but also picked up his fifth yellow
card, earning him a suspension for Wednesday’s match.
It’s unclear if Omar Cummings will be able to help pick up the
slack. The Jamaican forward has five goals in his last four games,
boosting his season total to 10, but he missed last weekend’s match
with a sprained left ankle.
Macoumba Kandji may get his second consecutive start after the
Rapids acquired the striker from New York on Sept. 14.
Colorado will need to find a goal somewhere in order to win a
fifth consecutive home game, but it may help to be facing
Philadelphia, which has allowed 26 goals while going 2-10-1 on the
The Union (7-12-6), however, may be more confident than ever
after the most lopsided victory of their inaugural season, 3-0 over
Chivas USA on Saturday. Sebastien Le Toux capped the scoring with
his 12th goal – two behind MLS leader Edson Buddle of Los
Coach Peter Nowak’s club has also shown some improved defense
lately, shutting out two of its last three opponents after allowing
at least one goal in its first 22 games.
“I think the big thing is continuity and getting to know each
other better,” captain Danny Califf told the Union’s official
website. “We put an onus on trying to be better defensively one to
11, so I think that’s starting to pay off.”
In their first meeting, these teams played to a 1-all tie Aug.
14 at Philadelphia.