Rapids not ready to rest in first
As much of a surprise as it might be, the Colorado Rapids hold the best record in Major League Soccer, sport a two-game winning streak and a five-game unbeaten streak, heading into Saturday's clash at the last-place New England Revolution. However, with only seven points separating worst from first in the West, the Rapids aren't planning to rest on their laurels any time soon.
The Rapids currently sit in first place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Kansas City Wizards, the team they defeated last Saturday to take over the top spot and drop into a second-place tie with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"First is no good unless you do something with it at the end of the season," said Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni. "There's only one team that's going to be happy at the end of the season. We're happy where we are, we're working hard and that's definitely contributed to our success the last several games and we just want to keep rolling."
The fact that the Rapids have played one more game than the rest of their Western conference foes makes their position even more precarious. However, being in first does give them energy as they enter the meat of the stretch run.
"It's not even that we're in first place but that we have momentum," said midfielder Jordan Cila. "We have some tough games on the road coming up now. We've got to go back to K.C. (next weekend) where we lost 2-0 earlier in the season so it's good we've got momentum."
Rapids coach Tim Hankinson does believe that the top spot comes with some measure of satisfaction.
"How many times has the noose been around my neck this year ... and we've been the target, we've been criticized all season," Hankinson said. "But we've hung in believing that if we got people healthy that we had a good team. ... Whether it's short-lived or long-lived it's good to show ourselves that we can play a big game when we have to and get a result."
Midfielder Mark Chung believes that Rapids simply need to continue to play as they have been.
"We have to stay there, to try to get home field advantage for the playoffs and once you get to the playoffs, anything's possible," he said.
Geoffrey Urland is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.