It's "Kids Night" at the Rapids vs. Kansas City Game This Saturday!

DENVER (ColoradoRapids.com) - The Colorado Rapids just fresh off their Tuesday night exhilarating win on Independence Day are set to host Eastern Conference rivals the Kansas City Wizards this Saturday night at INVESCO Field. Kickoff is set for 7:00pm.

The Rapids are just 2 wins out of first place and will look to jump up the standings with a win against KC on Saturday. This will be the first meeting between the 2 clubs this year; the last time they faced off was in the Rapids' 4th of July celebration last season with the Rapids taking home the victory that night 2-1.

Saturday's game also features the Rapids' Kids Night promotion! All kids ages 16 & under can get a FREE ticket to Saturday's match with every purchase of an adult ticket. To take advantage of this fantastic offer call the Rapids at (303) 825-GOAL or CLICK HERE.

For the full match preview of Saturday's match including projected lineups the latest injury report miscellaneous game notes broadcast information head-to-head stats and more visit the Rapids MatchUp Page by CLICKING HERE.

COLORADO RAPIDS VS. KANSAS CITY WIZARDS MATCH PREVIEW
By MLSNet.com

COLORADO RAPIDS v KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
INVESCO FIELD at MILE HIGH Denver Colo.
7 p.m. MT (HDNet)
July 8 2006 (WEEK 15) / MLS Game #99

One-time Western Conference rivals - three times they met in the MLS Cup Playoffs - the Colorado Rapids and Kansas City Wizards face off for the first of two times this year. The Rapids are still looking to put together a consistent string of good results - their 3-2 victory against New England on the Fourth of July made them 10-1 all-time for their fireworks extravaganza. The Wizards however come in riding a four-game losing streak shut out in three of those games as they've fallen to third place in the Eastern Conference.

REFEREE: Michael Kennedy. SAR (bench): Corey Rockwell; JAR (opposite): Kyle Borne; 4th: Jair Marrufo
MLS Career: 75 games; FC/gm: 32.9; Y/gm: 4.1; R: 11; pens: 32
MLS 2006: 4 games; FC/gm: 33.8 (avg: 29.0); Y/gm: 5.0 (avg: 3.51); R: 1 (MLS: 11); pens: 1 (MLS: 19)
Games involving Rapids: P14 W4 L4 T6; FC/gm: 32.4; Y/gm: 4.9; R: 2; pens: 7
Games involving Wizards: P19 W7 L7 T5; FC/gm: 32.4; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 0; pens: 11

INJURY REPORT:
COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: MF Matt Crawford (R hip)
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - QUESTIONABLE: DF Jose Burciaga Jr. (calf strain); MF Sasha Victorine (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: FW Josh Wolff (L groin strain)

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Hunter Freeman; Mike Petke. KC: Davy Arnaud
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Nick Garcia Kerry Zavagnin

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (37 meetings): Rapids 14 wins (3 shootout) 51 goals ... Wizards 17 wins (1 shootout) 67 goals ... 6 draws
IN DENVER: (19 meetings): Rapids 11 wins (2 shootout) 33 goals ... Wizards 4 wins (1 shootout) 25 goals ... 4 draws

This is the first of two meetings between the teams the only one set for the Mile High City. They are set to meet at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 9.

2005 (MLS)
4/2: KC 3 COL 2 (Wolff 34; Jewsbury 40; Klein 61; Cunningham 54; Chung 81)
7/4: COL 2 KC 1 (Nkong 57; Cooke 61; Klein 8)

A year ago the teams met twice with each side winning on their home ground. Since the 2000 season the visiting team has come away with a victory just twice (Sept. 14 2002 a Colorado 2-1 win in Kansas City and June 9 2004 a K.C. 1-0 win in Denver) over a span of 21 matches.

The teams met three times in the MLS Cup Playoffs - in 1997 2000 2003 - while both were in the Western Conference with the Wizards advancing two out of the three occasions. If they continue the trend of meeting in the postseason every three years this year it will have to be at MLS Cup 2006.

Coaches record: Fernando Clavijo vs. KC: P6 W2 L4 D0 ... Bob Gansler v COL: P24 W9 L9 D6

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids returned to action after nearly two weeks off and continued their success in their annual home Fourth of July celebration taking a 3-2 victory against the New England Revolution at Invesco Field at Mile High. The Rapids now have 21 points from 14 matches still in fourth place in the Western Conference now two points behind Chivas USA and six points out of first place.

LAST MATCH
-It was a wild night as the Rapids returned to action after nearly a two-week layoff while the Revolution once again hit the road for a two-game road swing this time carrying a two-game winning streak both gained on their home ground.
-The Rapids went ahead after 13 minutes Nicolas Hernandez rising up for a free header from a Terry Cooke corner kick Cooke getting his league-leading seventh assist on the campaign. Then barely a minute later lightning suspended the match for some 50 minutes.
-After the restart Clint Dempsey continued his terrific form after his return from the World Cup hitting for his third goal since coming back. Andy Dorman received the ball on the right flank from Dempsey and hooked a cross into the box where Dempsey got onto the end of it throwing out his left foot to send it looping over Colorado 'keeper Joe Cannon into the goal.
-The Rapids struck dramatically just before halftime to regain the lead. Terry Cooke knocked the ball overhead up the park where it flicked on by Hernandez as Kyle Beckerman came racing through. He collected the ball behind the Revolution defense and raced in before clipping the ball over Matt Reis from inside the area.
-Colorado doubled their lead midway through the second half. A poor straight-up clearance bounced off Shalrie Joseph where Jacob Peterson poked it to Hernandez and he lashed home a high skimming shot for his second on the night.
-The Revolution pulled a goal back in stoppage time. Jay Heaps sent in a cross from the right to the back post where Dorman knocked it back and Taylor Twellman dove in to head it home from close range. But Twellman was injured on the play carried off on a stretcher.
-Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo made one change to the team that lost 1-0 to FC Dallas on June 24 in Frisco. Pablo Mastroeni made his first appearance since returning from the World Cup coming into the starting lineup.
-Here's Clavijo's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Hunter Freeman Mike Petke Aitor Karanka Eric Denton - Terry Cooke (Dan Gargan 89) Kyle Beckerman Pablo Mastroeni Dedi Ben Dayan (Jacob Peterson 65) - Nicolas Hernandez (Clint Mathis 78) Jovan Kirovski. [Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul Thiago Martins Fabrice Noel Chris Wingert]

TEAM NEWS
-It was the first time since May 27 the Rapids scored at least two goals in a game and just the second time this season they had scored three - the first coming in the second game on the season on April 8. The Rapids had also come into the game with just four goals in their last five games.
-"It was a total team effort. Outstanding said Clavijo to The Denver Post. "We need to make sure we're talking and correcting and putting the little pieces together and make a run to win a championship."
-Colorado is now 10-1-0 all-time in its annual Independence Day game and have now won sixth in a row dating back to 2000. The annual fireworks display billed as the best in Colorado always draws large crowds who spur the team to perform. Eight times the game-winning goal has come in the 69th minute or later.
-"We always come out to win and we always try to score but on a personal level the atmosphere around [the Fourth of July game] pumps you up to make a better effort said Hernandez. Hernandez doubled his MLS goal haul in one night. "It's very special to contribute to a day that is so special in the history of the Rapids said Hernandez. "Not only that it great to do it on a day that is special in the history of the country ... The last time I had a two-goal game was six or seven months ago back in Argentina playing for Huracan. ... Whether with goals assists or by playing well as long as the team wins I'm happy. When you can contribute with goals as a forward it is definitely nice."

KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
The Kansas City Wizards went down to defeat for the fourth consecutive match continuing their hard times in Chicago with a 1-0 loss to the Fire on July 4 in their first visit to Toyota Park. The Wizards fell into a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points from 16 matches level with the Fire a point behind the New England Revolution and now fully 18 points in arrears of D.C. United.

LAST MATCH
-The Fire had yet to lose at their new home winning the first two games to begin a nine-game homestand while the Wizards -- who have won just once ever in Chicago in their last visit -- came in sporting a three-game losing streak.
-The game's lone goal was a thing of beauty. Justin Mapp worked his way around Matt Groenwald on the left flank and whipped in a cross finding Andy Herron at the near corner of the goal area. The Costa Rican received the ball with his back to goal popped it up into the air and put in a full bicycle kick past Will Hesmer inside the K.C. 'keeper's left-hand post.
-Wizards head coach Bob Gansler made three changes to the team that lost 2-0 at home to the Los Angeles Galaxy at the weekend. Will Hesmer came back in between the posts in place of Bo Oshoniyi and Shavar Thomas came back into the back four in place of the suspended Jimmy Conrad. Eddie Johnson made his first appearance since his return from the World Cup partnering Josh Wolff in attack in place of Scott Sealy.
-Here's Gansler's team (4-4-2): Will Hesmer - Matt Groenwald (Yura Movsisyan 74) Shavar Thomas Nick Garcia Jose Burciaga Jr. - Alex Zotinca Kerry Zavagnin Sasha Victorine Davy Arnaud - Eddie Johnson Josh Wolff (Scott Sealy 75). [Substitutes Not Used: Jack Jewsbury Bo Oshoniyi Brian Roberts Tyson Wahl Lance Watson]
-"I thought we played a decent first half. The key is in any game especially on the road not to give up the first goal. And we talked about that going into the game and we talked about it at halftime Gansler said. "When it happened it's a similar scenario then we're playing uphill and we just didn't have enough juice to be dangerous enough in the second half and get the goal back."

TEAM NEWS
-Even with the addition of Johnson to the lineup one game after Josh Wolff also came back the Wizards are struggling to score goals. After going their first 12 games without being shut out they've been blanked in two games in a row and three of their last four.
-"You play about as well as the other team lets you. We didn't generate enough dangerous looks for ourselves and that was the case before Josh [Wolff] and Eddie [Johnson] came back. So far in two games we haven't solved it so obviously we're in a bit of a slump scoring goals Gansler said. "We have been for awhile but now we're getting less and less chances."
-The Wizards play a third game of their last five on the road - all over a 15-day period - when they head to Colorado. "I've got to cut some of my guys slack because of our schedule. Schedule making is a difficult task but whoever put this one together should be flogged. ... It's a lot of wear and tear. It's not exactly 60 or 70 degrees either."
-It was the second time this season in four games the Wizards lost by a 1-0 scoreline. The Wizards are 4-1-0 when scoring the first goal 2-7-2 when they do not. Kansas City has scored the game's first goal in only twice in its last 11 games. "
-"We're not doing a whole lot going forward. We're not getting enough opportunities obviously said Wolff to the Naperville Sun. "(It's a) combination of the forwards combination of us providing good service good plays good ideas and just not pulling it off in the end. At the end of the day it's just not good enough."
-"I think that collectively we play well defensively defender Nick Garcia said. "Offensively we need to create some more opportunities."