Philadelphia Union looking to halt Rapids
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.