Starters return for Colorado, who look to cool off Fire
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Almost all of the starters who missed Colorado’s midweek matchup in the CONCACAF Champions League will be back in action this weekend when the Rapids look to extend their six-game unbeaten streak in league play against Chicago on Satuday (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
The Rapids traveled to Honduras and forged a 1-1 draw against Real España on Wednesday without a number of their regulars, and they’ll bring nearly all of them back into the mix at Toyota Park.
“I guess, for us, [the break] is always good for the body, especially at this time of the season,” said defender Marvell Wynne, who will suit up for the Rapids after he was left off the traveling roster to Honduras. “But, in the end, I would have loved to play. I don’t really enjoy watching my team play to be honest.”
Midfielder Pablo Mastroeni and goalkeeper Matt Pickens are also back after missing the CCL match, but midfielder Jamie Smith will skip the Chicago match while he continues to deal with hamstring and calf issues. Smith received anti-inflammatory injections this week and the aim is to return for the club’s game against the LA Galaxy on Sept. 9.
The Rapids haven’t lost a league game since a 4-3 road defeat to the Seattle Sounders on July 16, and have won three of their last four on the MLS schedule. They face a Chicago Fire team that has struggled much of the season, but posted a 2-0 win over Toronto FC last weekend at Toyota Park.
The Rapids are well aware of the Fire’s speed in striker Dominic Oduro and winger Patrick Nyarko, as well as the immediate punch newcomer Sebastián Grazzini has given the team in the midfield.
Wynne — who will line up Saturday in the regular back four of himself, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor and Kosuke Kimura — said Chicago’s poor record of 3-7-15 this season is misleading.
“We know what they are about,” he said. “The record honestly doesn’t mean much. We are not going to take them lightly, we are not going in there with any extra confidence in any way, we are going there to win and play our game.”
With the Galaxy match still two weeks away and a welcome week off waiting for the Rapids after the Chicago match, the club is eager to head into the mini-break with their solid run of play still intact.
“We are on a good run in all competitions and it would be very nice to not only extend that but maybe end with a victory,” head coach Gary Smith said. “It certainly won’t be easy but, if we win tomorrow, I’ll certainly be looking on the internet and Expedia for flights to Vegas.”