Rapids hope patchy away form over after impressive win

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids haven’t had much luck on the road in the past few seasons.

Maybe that’s about to change in 2012.

Last year, the Rapids suffered seven losses on the road compared to just two setbacks at home. The mile-high altitude of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park often makes facing the Rapids a formidable task for visiting teams.

Goalkeeper Matt Pickens hopes that after Sunday’s impressive 2-1 away victory over Philadelphia, Colorado will become a more formidable outfit away from home as well.

“In MLS, that’s what it comes down to on these away trips,” said Pickens, who made a number of key stops to preserve Sunday’s win. “Going away to other teams’ home venues, it’s hard to get points, let alone three points in MLS on a home trip.”

Even in 2010, the year the Rapids captured their lone MLS Cup title, road wins were hard to come by. The men in burgundy went just 4-6-5 away from the friendly confines of DSG Park – compared to 8-2-5 at home. With that in mind, winning Sunday’s game over the Union in their road opener had to feel particularly rewarding.

Colorado anticipated an early onslaught from a young and hungry Philadelphia team, but they weathered the storm – responding well to a second yellow and subsequent red card to Jeff Larentowicz and were able to collect three precious road points as a result.

“I knew [Union head coach Peter Nowak] was going to come aggressive, with a lot of offensive players,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said. “It is a hard place to play. I think Philadelphia did a good job pressuring us, taking the ball away from us. … I’m very proud of my players.”

The Rapids also have a glorious opportunity to grab two wins from their first two road games for the first time in franchise history. They take on the struggling New York Red Bulls on Sunday at Red Bull Arena (4 pm ET, ESPN) with a chance to notch three wins in three games to open the season.

Pareja and the Rapids will be hoping to make history against New York, putting their bout of bad results on the road firmly behind them just a few weeks into the young season.

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