The last time the New York Red Bulls came to Colorado, they were treated to some wintry weather — in spring.
That April 16, 2016, match was played in a snowstorm that delayed the start of the game and the second half. It was worth it in the end — for the Rapids, that is. Dominique Badji’s goal in the 82nd minute that day gave Colorado a 2-1 win.
The weather is forecast to be better than 2016, although there’s a solid chance for rain to hit Dick’s Sporting Goods Park during the match. It might not slow down New York, which has won two straight and sits fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 5-3-0 mark.
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The Red Bulls are coming off a 4-0 win over rival New York FC, which was the first leg of the New York Derby.
The challenge for the Red Bulls is to reverse their fortunes in Colorado. They haven’t won in the Centennial State since a 1-0 victory in 2007; the Rapids are 5-0-1 at home against New York since that loss.
More important for Colorado (2-4-2) is simply getting a win. The Rapids have lost three straight — to Real Salt Lake, Orlando SC and Sporting Kansas City — that has dropped them into 10th in the Western Conference.
It has been a bit of a struggle for first-year coach Anthony Hudson, but he has tried to remain upbeat.
“We approach the game in a way that we know their strengths and can expose their weaknesses,” He told Altitude Radio. “We have to focus on doing a certain job that will be effective in this game, and I feel confident.”
Colorado will have to slow down one of the more exciting young players in the MLS. New York’s 23-year-old Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra. He joined the Red Bulls as a young designated player on Feb. 16 and has delivered. The Argentine has three goals and six assists in the Red Bulls’ eight games, including a goal and an assist in the win over New York FC.
“He’s growing every day,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch told the MLS website. “He’s determined every day to figure out how to fit in better, how to integrate and how to make sure that he honors this team with his progress, performance, commitment and mentality, and so he’s been a lot of fun to have here.”
Gamarra will try to continue his success — his three goals came in the last four games — on Saturday. The last time New York was in Commerce City, Colo., the Rapids were on their way to reaching the Western Conference finals. Unless they can turn things around — and quickly — there will be no postseason for Colorado.
“What I’ve been really pleased about is we’re showing some strong performances, and even against the best teams we’re doing well,” Hudson told the team website. “We’re creating problems, we’ve scored goals, we’ve taken the lead in many games, but we’ve also had bad moments. We’ve had moments where we’ve taken our foot off the pedal.
“We’re disappointed by the last few results. We’re not going to hide that fact.”
Saturday is a chance for the Rapids to change their fortunes.