COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — As a busy and important month looms for the Colorado Rapids, some of the club’s starters appear to be on the mend just in time.
Heading into the club’s matchup against the Houston Dynamo at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Sunday (9 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes), both striker Omar Cummings (ankle) and defender Marvell Wynne (hamstring) are expected to start and hopefully help lift the club from a frustrating two–game slide.
“We are at a point where Omar, Marvell, those guys we have missed, will be pretty much starters in this group,” head coach Gary Smith said. “I will leave it to the last minute, but I‘d like to think they will both be ready, if needed, to be in that starting XI.
“We are looking more healthy this weekend than at any other time this season outside the first couple of games,” Smith added.
That’s good news and great timing for the Rapids, who are coming off two straight losses that saw them concede seven goals and have two players sent off. Striker Conor Casey will sit Sunday’s game out for a red card last weekend in a 4-1 loss to Columbus, but he will be back when the club faces Sporting Kansas City on the road on July 6 and when it caps a busy week at home against Vancouver on July 9.
Smith and the Rapids, though, are fixated first and foremost on the match at hand.
“A catalyst and a key to what could happen this month will certainly be very prevalent on Sunday,” head Smith. “We want nothing less than a mindset of positive pressure and a real determined and passionate display in front of hopefully a full house for the July 4 festivities.”
The Dynamo, meanwhile, enter the match as one of four teams in MLS who have yet to win a game on the road this season. And though they’re winless in their last two games and seven points off the pace in the Eastern Conference, Smith never overlooks a team led by head coach Dominic Kinnear.
“They are a very effective side if you take them lightly, there’s no doubt about it,” Smith said. “They have in the past been one of the most difficult teams to play against. It won’t be a cakewalk by any stretch. We will need a bright, positive start with hopefully a goal early on to raise the spirits.”
Smith knows the Rapids need a good performance and all three points to banish the memories of two disappointing games, and get the month and the second half of the season off the right way.
“I’m not usually one for saying these games are vitally important, but I think there’s an added importance for this one for a number of reasons,” he said. “We are at the halfway point and would love to start the second half of the season on a good note. We’ll get a bit of confidence with a win at the weekend and get off on the right footing for a big month.”