Preview: Rapids, Revs square off in Rocky Mountain clash

DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
9 p.m. ET (Altitude; CSN-NE)
July 23, 2011 (WEEK 19; MLS Game 188)

The Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution will both be looking to build upon buoying midweek victories when the clubs meet on Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids opened a two-game homestand in impressive fashion, rolling to a 4-1 victory against the New York Red Bulls. The Revolution kicked off a three-game road swing by ending a nine-game winless skid with a 1-0 victory at D.C. United.

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REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Brian Poeschel; 4th: Silviu Petrescu
MLS Career: 5 games; FC/gm: 21.6; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 0; pens: 2

INJURY REPORT: COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: FW Conor Casey (L achilles tear); QUESTIONABLE: FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear); PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain); MF Brian Mullan (lower back spasms); DF Anthony Wallace (R quad strain); DF Danny Earls (L quadriceps contusion); FW Omar Cummings (R ankle sprain) … NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION – OUT: FW Kheli Dube (whiplash); PROBABLE: DF Kevin Alston (L hamstring tightness); MF Zak Boggs (L high ankle sprain); DF Ryan Cochrane (L foot pain); DF Chris Tierney (L hamstring tightness)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Conor Casey … NE: Ryan Cochrane
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Ross LaBauex, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Wells Thompson, Anthony Wallace … NE: Rajko Lekic, Stephen McCarthy, Pat Phelan

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (37 meetings): Rapids 18 wins (1 shootout), 61 goals …Revolution 11 wins (2 shootout), 47 goals … Ties 8
AT COLORADO (18 meetings): Rapids 12 wins (1 shootout), 34 goals … Revolution 3 wins (0 shootout), 14 goals … Ties 3

  • The Revolution haven’t defeated Colorado since 2007, a 1-0 win at Gillette Stadium. The Rapids have won three of the seven meetings since (with four draws), including victories in both games last season.
  • New England last won in Colorado on June 15, 2002. The Rapids have won six of the nine home meetings since, with three draws.
  • Coaches' records: Steve Nicol vs. COL: P22 W6 L9 D7 … Gary Smith v NE: P6 W2 L0 D4

LAST MEETING
5/7: NE 0, COL 0

  • Ryan Cochrane and Benny Feilhaber each had chances find the woodwork for the Revolution, while Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens was called upon to make two saves, including a point-blank stop of a Shalrie Joseph header.
  • Matt Reis made one save as the Revolution recorded their first shutout of the season.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-2-3-1): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane, A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney - Ousmane Dabo (Darrius Barnes 75), Stephen McCarthy (Sainey Nyassi 46) - Kenny Mansally, Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber - Rajko Lekic.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Scott Palguta - Kosuke Kimura, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson (Jamie Smith 73) - Caleb Folan (Andre Akpan 30), Quincy Amarikwa (Ross LaBauex 85)

COLORADO RAPIDS

The Colorado Rapids exploded for a 4-1 victory against the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids have 30 points from 22 games, sitting in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Sainey Nyassi gave the Rapids the lead after just two minutes, exchanging a one-two with Omar Cummings at the top of the penalty area before placing a right foot shot past Frank Rost in the Red Bulls goal.
  • Nyassi nearly hit a second in the 26th minute, his low drive from outside the area hitting the base of the left post, but Wells Thompson streaked in to slot home the rebound.
  • Five minutes later, though, Nyassi did scored his second, racing through the heart of the Red Bulls on a dribbling run and firing a shot high into the goal. On the hour, he scored his third with a similar run through the heart of the defense, nutmegging Carlos Mendes before sliding the ball under Rost.
  • Thierry Henry was able to pull a goal back for the Red Bulls in the 67th minute, scoring his league-leading 10th goal of the season from just inside the penalty box after Juan Agudelo pulled back a centering pass from the right.
  • Rapids head coach Gary Smith made one change to the team that fell 4-3 to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Brian Mullan came back into the team for the injured Conor Casey.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Brian Mullan, Pablo Mastroeni (Joseph Nane 69), Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson - Omar Cummings (Caleb Folan 73), Sanna Nyassi (Andre Akpan 86).

TEAM NEWS

  • With Conor Casey out for the remainder of the season with an injury, Sanna Nyassi scored the club’s first hat trick since Conor Casey hit for three in August 2009 in a 4-0 win vs. Chivas USA.
  • Nyassi had primarily filled a wide midfield role for the Rapids – including starting wide on the right in the game in Seattle. But he was given the second striker role alongside Omar Cummings against New York.
  • “I just felt that little bit more freedom in there. He’s not been asked to necessarily defend as much, but we saw good work on the other side of the ball as well,” said Rapids coach Gary Smith. “But what was the difference was in and around their penalty box. A change of pace, a bit of creation, and a real decisive movement. You wanted to get beyond their back four and really make something happen."
  • Nyassi would expect to keep his place for the weekend match against New England – when he and twin brother Sainey could finally face each other in an MLS game. While with Seattle, Sanna saw his club meet New England over the brothers’ first two seasons together in the league, but the pair were never on the field at the same time.
  • "I know that whenever I’m given that chance I can bring something to the team and help them win. So I think I’m going take it from there, looking forward to the next team and playing against my brother," Sanna Nyassi said.
  • Casey suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the match in Seattle, forcing him off after just 38 minutes. He had scored all six of his goals on the season in an eight-game stretch, after missing six games early in the season through a hamstring injury.
  • “I am bitterly disappointed for Conor, who was in a terrific run of form,” Smith said. “It’s a big challenge for the player. He’s had some serious injuries before and he’s come good, and I don’t see any reason he can’t get over this and still be as effective. But for both us and him, we are going to miss each other. We are going to miss him not being in the team, and he is going to miss being in it.”
  • Smith did say his options in attacks would feature Caleb Folan, when the need called for a bigger, target forward up top.
  • “Caleb will get more football,” Smith said. "I am sure he is looking forward to that. He’s always very heavily in my mind set — I just have to make sure he’s getting the right amount of football as he adapts to the league and as he gets fully over some of the physical and health issues he might have had before.”
  • It was a second successive home win for Colorado, after going seven games and three months without a victory in Commerce City.
  • “We’ve had great crowds but we haven’t been able to put games away. So I think that’s two home games in a row, and it’s nice to get on a roll in the second half of the season,” said Wells Thompson. “Your home’s the place you want to be a fortress and you want people to be scared when they come in here.”

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The New England Revolution put an end to their winless streak at nine games, coming away from RFK Stadium with a 1-0 victory against D.C. United on Wednesday evening. The Revolution have 19 points from 20 matches, in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • United had a glorious chance to open the scoring just before halftime when Pat Phelan handled inside the box and referee Michael Kennedy pointed to the spot. But Charlie Davies skied his effort over the crossbar.
  • The game's lone goal came in the the 73rd minute. Midfielder Stephen McCarthy broke free of Ethan White on a corner kick and sent a glancing header past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, off the far post and into the back of the net.
  • Revolution head coach Steve Nicol made four changes to the team that fell 3-0 to Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium. Ryan Cochrane came back into the back four for Franco Coria, and Zak Boggs, Shalrie Joseph and Zack Schilawski all came into the midfield for Kenny Mansally (Zack Schilawski 79), Sainey Nyassi and the suspended Benny Feilhaber.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-3-2-1): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane (Darrius Barnes 22), Chris Tierney - Stephen McCarthy, Shalrie Joseph, Pat Phelan - Zak Boggs (Sainey Nyassi 58), Zack Schilawski (Kenny Mansally 68) - Rajko Lekic.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Revolution won for the first time since a 1-0 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 14.
  • “It's huge, absolutely huge,” Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. “When we go 1-0 up, guys are throwing themselves in front of shots and chasing things down. They were gritting their teeth and pushing through it.”
  • It was also the club’s first win away from home, after six losses and three draws in their first nine away matches.
  • “We haven’t had a lot to be happy about this year and after our performance against Philadelphia on the weekend, we were really down in the dumps and it just shows a lot of heart and resolve in these guys,” said goalkeeper Matt Reis. “I still think this team is good enough to win and we definitely showed it tonight.”
  • The Revolution kept a clean sheet for the first time since a scoreless draw against Toronto FC on June 15, allowing nine goals in the four games in between.
  • “Whenever you’re playing away from home that is usually the key – you have to try to keep it at zero for as long as you can and that’s what we did tonight as a team,” Reis said. “As the game goes on more and more that it’s zero-zero, it’s only going to frustrate the home team and help out the visitors and that’s kind of what happened today.”
  • Ryan Cochrane returned from suspension to reclaim his place in central defense, but lasted just 22 minutes before forced off with a left foot injury, which had hampered him coming into the match.
  • The Revolution started with three nominal attackers, with Zak Boggs and Zack Schilawski flanking Rajko Lekic. For Schilawski, it was his first start since April 30, 2011, a 3-0 loss at Chivas USA