Union-Rapids Preview

BY foxsports • March 9, 2013

Some fascinating MLS reunions are set to take place in the Colorado Rapids' home opener, one day later than planned.

The Rapids will face their all-time leading goal scorer in Conor Casey when they meet the Philadelphia Union in a game pushed from Saturday to Sunday due to a snowstorm.

Up to one foot of snow was forecast for the Denver area Saturday, leading the league to postpone the game. Clear skies are predicted for Sunday.

Philadelphia coach John Hackworth knows this trip presents a major challenge regardless of the weather.

"It's an extremely difficult place to play," Hackworth said. "One, the altitude, it gets to you. In this sport, playing at the level we're trying to play at, the altitude has an effect. We're going to have to change our tactics because of that."

Casey is the Rapids' leader with 50 goals, helping the club win its lone MLS Cup title in 2010. His next two seasons were plagued by injuries, and Colorado declined to pick up an option on him for 2013.

The forward logged six minutes in his Philadelphia debut last Saturday, a season-opening 3-1 home loss to Sporting Kansas City.

"I've been there for a very long time, six years there," Casey said. "Great years there, amazing support from the fans. It'll be nice to play in the stadium again in front of family and friends and all those fans, a little strange to be wearing a different jersey."

He's not the only player excited about the possibility of taking on his former team. Danny Mwanga, an original member of the Union, has yet to face Philadelphia since the club traded him to Portland last year.

Mwanga was dealt by the Timbers to Colorado two days before the Rapids opened with a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas last Saturday, so he has yet to make his Rapids debut. He is tied for second on the Union's all-time goals list with 12.

"I was a part of that team and I know some of the guys on that team, so it can be an advantage," Mwanga told the Rapids' official website. "But at the same time they can try to make it hard for me. I'm ready for it."

Colorado is 3-0-2 all-time against Philadelphia, with Mwanga scoring the tying goal for the Union in each draw.

The Rapids are 6-0-3 in home openers since losing to San Jose in 2003.

Colorado midfielder Pablo Mastroeni should make his first home start since last season's opener. He missed nearly a year battling a concussion before returning last weekend.

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