The Colorado Rapids will be the last ones to blame a hectic travel schedule for Saturday’s defeat to the Chicago Fire, but this was perhaps one game too many.
It was the fifth match in 15 days for the Rapids, their second away match of the week after making a 28-hour round trip to Honduras for Tuesday's CONCACAF Champions League tussle with Real España. Saturday's game marked Colorado’s first loss in all competitions since losing 4-3 to the Seattle Sounders on July 16, and after going down two goals in the first half, it seems fatigue may have caught up with them.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
“What we did not want to do was concede as we did and then, to go two behind, makes it difficult,” Rapids head coach Gary Smith told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. “You don’t want to be chasing the game. I thought some of the guys looked like they had had the brutal flight they did have.”
Defender Drew Moor, whose streak of 69 straight 90-minute MLS games will be snapped in Colorado’s next match on Sept. 9 at the LA Galaxy due to yellow-card accumulation, admitted to some errors in the back four.
“I think we got off to a tough start,” he said. “We made some mental mistakes that we usually don’t make in the back and they capitalized on it. We weren’t able to dig ourselves out of a hole.”
The silver lining for the weary Rapids is that there are two weeks until that Sept. 9 trip to Los Angeles. The team will then play Santos Laguna at home in Champions League play four days later. Team captain Pablo Mastroeni expects the squad to come back refreshed and pushing for the postseason after the brief period of rest.
“The break will be nice,” he said. “Unfortunately, you want to get back on the field after losing a game; you want to get back to your winning ways. It’s nice to get a break, but I think the training sessions we will have leading into it will be intense and we’ll have that same type of push-for-the-playoffs mentality.”
Smith said the break will be much needed even if Saturday’s performance didn’t send his team into it in the best of spirits.
“It was a tough one to go into the break with," he said, "but this is a group with a lot of resilience to get what we will need in both competitions."