COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – There’s just something about the San Jose Earthquakes that the Colorado Rapids can’t quite seem to get over.
In their last seven meetings dating back to the start of the 2012 season, Colorado are a miserable 0-5-2 against San Jose, including a scoreless draw between the two teams on April 19 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
On Wednesday night, the Rapids will look to get over their rough-and-tough Western Conference rivals at Buck Shaw Stadium in their first midweek matchup of the season (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
“It’s probably not going to be a pay-per-view soccer match,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni told reporters on Monday. “But it is one that is going to be well-fought with a lot of energy and a lot of commitment.”
After that scoreless draw last month, Mastroeni spoke of applying lessons from playing a gritty team such as San Jose. Colorado’s scoring chances were limited and they looked frustrated at times offensively, struggling to break down the Earthquakes’ defensive-minded approach.
It’s similar to what the Rapids have encountered over the years against the Quakes, who’ve used a combination of notoriously physical play and timely goals to frustrate Colorado.
“All the scrappy stuff that falls by the wayside on the score sheet after games. It’s all those little things that makes San Jose tough to play against that people don’t realize,” Mastroeni said on Monday.
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“It’s not so much the in-your-face aggressiveness that they throw at you, it’s all the little stuff – winning second balls and fighting for every loose ball, battling in the box to get good positions on both sides, offensively and defensively. But I think for us that’s going to be the key.”
Meanwhile, Colorado must do without midfielder Vicente Sanchez, who scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over the Galaxy on Saturday night, as the Uruguayan recovers from a knee sprain that’s expected to sideline him for 4-6 weeks, according to the team.
Dillon Powers, who missed the last two games with a knee problem of his own, is expected to take Sanchez’s place in the lineup.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.