Rapids' slim postseason hopes hang on tough LA trip

Oscar Pareja (LA - COL)

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The monkey clinging to the Colorado Rapids’ backs is getting louder and louder.

The Rapids will enter Friday night’s game with the LA Galaxy (11 pm ET, Univision Deportes) with an eight-game road losing streak in hand, the second-worst road losing spell in franchise history, only behind a nine-game skid between 2000 and 2001. If that wasn't enough, the Rapids are likely facing their toughest challenge yet when they battle a red-hot Galaxy team that’s won four games in a row in all competitions.

“It’ll be hard, but they’ll be facing a team that’s coming [to Los Angeles] to win,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said this week.

Despite the losing streak, the Rapids still hold an outside chance of clinching a postseason berth following last Wednesday’s 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers. With six games left on the season, including Friday night’s match, Colorado sit eight points behind slumping Vancouver for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. But with a match looming in Vancouver on Sept. 23, the belief remains the Rapids’ camp that an improbable run to the postseason is still realistic.

Also potentially working in Colorado’s favor is the nine-day layoff which helped heal several injuries on the team. Players received two full off days (Friday and Saturday), a boost for a Rapids team that has struggled with injuries all season long.

“It’s all right, I got it taken care of,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said of his sore knee. “I don’t know what happened, it might’ve been the turf [from an Aug. 31 match in Portland].”

Striker Omar Cummings is also expected to return from international duty in time to suit up for the Rapids on Friday.

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.