Rapids look to rebound against Sounders
The Colorado Rapids followed up their MLS title with the best start in franchise history, but injuries to two key players have hampered them in the past two games.
The Rapids, though, could have Pablo Mastroeni available as they try to avoid a rare three-game losing streak Friday night against the visiting Seattle Sounders, unbeaten in four straight.
Colorado (3-2-0) followed up its first championship in 2010 by winning three in a row to open this season, taking its first two home games by a combined 7-2.
The Rapids, however, were then hit by injuries, with Mastroeni hurting his right calf and Conor Casey straining his left hamstring during a 4-1 victory over D.C. on April 3.
Without those players, Colorado was shut out in back-to-back road games. The Rapids will now be trying to avoid dropping three straight for the first time since a five-game skid June 2-28, 2007.
The Rapids (3-2-0) nearly came away with a point against Real Salt Lake on April 13 but fell 1-0 on a goal in the 93rd minute.
"I felt like we should have got something out of that game. We came here and we played, unlike (a 3-0 loss to FC Dallas on April 8)," goalkeeper Matt Pickens said. "We tried to come in and switch some things around come in with a better mentality than we did with Dallas. This is something to build on going home and playing against Seattle."
Colorado also lost reserve forward Quincy Amarikwa to an ankle injury against Salt Lake.
Casey is questionable for Friday, but the Rapids did get good news on Mastroeni, as their captain is listed as probable after returning to practice. Midfielder Sanna Nyassi (strained hamstring) is also probable.
"It's tough not being able to be on the field and helping the guys out," Mastroeni said. "That's probably the most frustrating part, sitting at home and not being able to help."
The Rapids may need all the help they can get against the Sounders, who are 1-0-3 in their last four and have given up seven goals in their six games. Seattle (1-2-3) kept its unbeaten run going Saturday in Philadelphia when Alvaro Fernandez's header in stoppage time gave the club a 1-all draw.
"(Fernandez) and I talked this week and I tried to be very clear as to what I need from him and what I was looking for," coach Sigi Schmid told the team's official website. "He came up huge for us."
Star forward Fredy Montero set up that goal in his first action since wrist surgery.
Steve Zakuani had a pair of early goals in a 2-1 victory over visiting Colorado on July 25, while Casey scored in a 1-0 home win over Seattle on May 29.