Colorado Rapids Weekly Team Update

COMMERCE CITY CO (Oct. 15 2008) – The Rapids will play back-to-back Sunday matches for the first time this season as they prepare for a second consecutive trip to California and The Home Depot Center this Sunday to face Chivas USA.
The team will welcome the return of Conor Casey who comes back after serving his one-game red card suspension. The club will also see the return of Omar Cummings following his two-game stint with the Jamaican National Team and Bouna Coundoul from his time with the Senegalese National Team.
Despite being named to the U.S. National Team for their match against Trinidad & Tobago tonight Pablo Mastroeni will remain in Colorado with his MLS side due to a left knee injury suffered against LA. Mastroeni is listed as ‘Doubtful’ for the contest against Chivas and is making every effort to return to health and be on the pitch Sunday afternoon for the Rapids in their all-important match.
The rest of this week’s training should be interesting as the Rapids look at the balance of their healthy players and returning players to their current line-up. Does the team return to the 4-4-2 formation they have been mostly using since Gary Smith’s arrival or do they stick with the 4-5-1 they played last week against LA?
On Thursday the team will step away from the field in the morning for the chance to give something back to our local community. The Rapids staff and players will help build a playground at Holly Park for some refugee children of Commerce City in conjunction with Mercy Housing and KaBOOM Playgrounds. A ribbon cutting will be held to dedicate the playground on Monday October 19.
NEXT MATCH
Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA
This Sunday Oct. 19
6:00 p.m. MT
The Home Depot Center
Preview

LAST MATCH
Colorado Rapids 2 at LA Galaxy 3
Sunday Oct. 12
6:00 p.m. MT
The Home Depot Center
Match Recap
Video highlights

LATEST INJURY UPDATES
After suffering an ankle injury last week during training causing him to miss the team’s trip to LA midfielder Christian Gomez remains listed as ‘Out’ for this weekend’s match against Chivas USA. Christian spent much of Wednesday’s training running sprints and working on agility drills to strength his ankle and build up his fitness.
Goalkeeper Justin Hughes returned to the pitch working in with the other ‘keepers. After months of rehabbing multiply injures this season seeing Justin back in action was a welcome sight to his teammates.
WEEKLY TEAM NOTES
Assist-Man Cookie: With his 11th assist on the season in Sunday’s match against LA midfielder Terry Cooke has moved his way up to third in the league in that category despite having played in less games than any other player in the league’s top 9 in assists. Cooke is now only one assist away from tying his career-high set back 2006 when he finished as MLS’s assist leader. This season he has vaulted himself up the Rapids’ record books from sixth all-time in assists to second (32) just behind Chris Henderson (53). In comparison Cooke has only played in only 93 games as a Rapids player compared to Henderson’s 178 matches with Colorado.
Jekyll and Hyde Defense: The Rapids had pulled themselves back into a playoff position with strong defense allowing just one goal in three games (9/4 through 9/20). But over their last four matches the Rapids have conceded a total of 11 goals to fall out of position. Not since the 2003 season in which Colorado allowed 12 goals in their final four matches of the year have the Rapids given up that many goals in a four-game span. The most goals ever conceded by the Rapids in club history over a four match period was 17 during the 1998 season (4/25 through 5/9).
Rapids Playoff Watch: With just two games remaining in the regular season the Rapids find themselves in fifth place in the Western Conference on 34 points. This year the top three teams in each conference make the playoffs as well as the next two teams with the highest point total regardless of conference. Colorado (10-14-4 34 points) stand only 2 points behind Real Salt Lake Kansas City and New York who all are currently in playoff position. Making these final games even more important are the position of FC Dallas who sit in fourth place in the West on 35 points. Only three playoff berths remain with 8 teams still in the hunt as no team has yet to be eliminated from playoff contention with just six points separating last place from the final playoff berth. For a full breakdown and look inside the race to the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs click here.
Prep Zone Pig Out to Fight Hunger: This fall your school can join forces with the Colorado Rapids Foundation Food Bank of the Rockies (FBR) and other Colorado high schools to fight hunger and feed hope! High schools that register for this program are asked to spread the word at your school in their own creative way to raise as much money as they can! Each school will be provided with pig canisters pig banners and a pig out lunch for the top fundraisers.
In addition the Colorado Rapids Community Care Foundation in partnership with Teammates for Kids will sponsor the winning school with a $1000 donation to their athletic department. All participating high schools will be recognized during the Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake game on Saturday October 25 at 7:30pm and the winning school will be presented with a check for $1000 on the field. To register your school for the "Prep Zone Pig Out to Fight Hunger