COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Two down, three to go.
The Colorado Rapids are still stuck in the middle of a taxing five-game stretch in just 15 days to close out August, but it’s been so far, so good. Up next is a potentially crucial matchup against Chivas USA on Saturday (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online), and both teams have very real postseason aspirations.
“This is a team that’s nipping at our heels and they are a good team,” Rapids midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said of Chivas, who are currently just one point behind the 10th and final playoff spot. “They are definitely a changed team from that first game of the season and that game was no walk in the park.”
The Rapids defeated Chivas 1-0 on March 26 on a goal from Quincy Amarikwa.
Rapids head coach Gary Smith rested some key starters during the club’ 3-2 win over Isidro Metapán in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday, some of whom were carrying slight knocks. But Smith plans to have Omar Cummings, Pablo Mastroeni and Tyrone Marshall back for Saturday’s game.
“Two-thirds will see the field at the weekend,” Smith said of the team that played Metapán. “What I do hope is to bring back those three guys so they can come back into the group with fresher legs.”
Midfielder Brian Mullan may be a doubt after he rolled his ankle coming on as a second-half substitute in the CCL game. Jamie Smith has been doubtful for a couple of weeks now too, making one of the wide midfield positions possibly up for grabs.
Gary Smith may be tempted to play midweek hero Macoumba Kandji in a wide spot to supplement the attacking duo of Cummings and Sanna Nyassi, but Kandji only made his first start in nine months in the Metapán game and Smith will no doubt have at least one eye on next week’s CCL trip to Honduras.
Caleb Folan, whom Smith praised for his effort in a 2-1 win over San Jose last weekend, is another forward option for tomorrow, especially as he saw no time in the midweek game.
Defender Drew Moor, one of the few players with no rest so far this season, will break the MLS record on Saturday for most consecutive 90 minute games if he manages to play the whole match. It would mark his 68th straight 90-minute MLS game.