For Rapids, playoffs within reach
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids now have 41 points, one more point than they totaled all of last season, and there are still four regular games left in 2010.
Those playoffs are so close, you can almost smell them.
The Rapids came into Wednesday's home game against the Philadelphia Union knowing that anything less than a win would be disappointing. Not that a draw, or even a loss, would have eliminated them by any stretch, but their end-of-season run right is all about gathering momentum — and taking it into the playoffs.
The convincing 4-1 victory was the team’s fifth straight home win, a stretch that's seen them score 14 goals and concede only one, and that was a last-minute consolation for the Union.
WATCH: Full match highlights
In between these convincing home victories, the Rapids also secured a valuable point in last weekend’s bruising encounter with Real Salt Lake. With D.C. United still to visit Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this Saturday, things are looking good for Colorado.
The Rapids could not have got off to a better start with new strike combination Omar Cummings and Macoumba Kandji. The duo combined well in the eighth minute as Cummings scored his first of the night. Seven minutes later, an unmarked Cummings volleyed home Jamie Smith's corner for his 12th goal of the season.
“Those two goals were a very nice foundation,” Rapids head coach Gary Smith said. “In the second period, we settled down more. I am very pleased to get the three points, and it sets us up well for Saturday.”
Cummings was somewhat predictably awarded the Man of the Match title. Not surprising in a 4-1 romp. But the performance of the Colorado back four shouldn’t be ignored, either.
Drew Moor, who frustratingly lost control of the ball to set up Jack McInerney’s consolation goal in the 90th minute, was arguably the best player in an solid back four. The Texan has become a leader in the absence of the vocal Julien Baudet.
“I thought that back four played ever so well; it was a really good performance,” Smith said. “Drew was for me the standout in a back four where the other three did a great job.”
Moor remains the only Rapid to have played every minute of every league game this season.
Smith also used the game to give some valuable time for Quincy Amarikwa and Claudio Lopez. Lopez, who has typically been brought on as a substitute this season when the Rapids need to chase the game, enjoyed the last 20 minutes when the game was all but safe. Smith said he wanted Lopez on there to calm things down and keep possession.
Amarikwa came on for the last quarter of an hour and scored his debut goal for the Rapids off an unselfish cross from Kandji. Wells Thompson provided the third, which was his second goal in the last two home games.
The Rapids’ game against D.C. this coming Saturday kicks off at 9 p.m. ET.