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Rapids can keep hopes alive with revenge at San Jose

Jeff Larentowicz and RAfael Baca (SJ - COL)

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – To pinpoint the start of the Colorado Rapids’ summer swoon, many would point out a heart-crushing loss on June 20 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

During that game, the Rapids were leading 1-0 deep into the second half, and appeared to be in control of the contest until two goals in the final ten minutes gave the visiting Earthquakes a stunning 2-1 victory. Since that game, the Rapids have gone 2-7-1 in league play to drop from the fifth to the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings.

“It was certainly early in our summer, a game that you can look back at and say ‘that’s a game we need to get three points from,’ or at least a point after they tied it up,” defender Drew Moor told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “I think I remember saying after the game that was one of the toughest losses I’ve been a part of since being here with the Rapids.”

Colorado have a chance to extract a form of revenge Saturday night when they make their lone trip of the regular season to Buck Shaw Stadium in San Jose (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live). They'll need no less than three points to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, as they sit 11 points out of the fifth and final playoff spot in the West.

“We were talking with the [team], and we’re at the point in the season now where the same story has happened where we play well, and we don‘t get the result,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “This is an opportunity to reverse that. The memory we have with San Jose is frustrating because we couldn’t get the result. But we’re getting another opportunity.”

In other developments, new midfield signing Hendry Thomas will travel with the Rapids to San Jose and could make his much-anticipated MLS debut on Saturday. The former Wigan man, who is specifically working on his conditioning after playing sparsely in 2011-2012 with the EPL side, said on Friday that he feels closer to match fitness after three days of full training this week.

“I feel better, every day I feel better,” the Honduran international told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “It’s up to [the coach], but I’m working and I’m at the service of the group. If he needs my services, I’ll be here.”

Striker Omar Cummings did not practice on Friday due to ankle soreness, and as a result, the Jamaican international may not make the trip to San Jose. Fellow front man Conor Casey, hobbled by a left hamstring injury the last few weeks, could make his first start since July 28 in Cummings’ place. Attacking midfielder Kamani Hill will also make the trip to San Jose after being sidelined the last two games by a quad strain.

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.