Rapids Can Clinch Playoff Spot This Saturday!

DENVER (ColoradoRapids.com) - The Rapids currently sitting in the 4th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference travel to Gillette Stadium this Saturday to take on the New England Revolution. Kickoff is set for 5:30pm MT.

This the second and final regular-season meeting of 2006 for the two clubs; the last time they met the Rapids defeated the Revs 3-2 in Colorado's 11th annual 4th of July extravaganza at Invesco Field.

Both teams are capable of clinching playoff spots this weekend. The Rapids need a victory coupled with a Real Salt Lake loss to secure a berth in the postseason while the Revs need a victory or Red Bulls loss to book their trip.

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.

This match will only be broadcast on the MLS Direct Kick subscription package so if you don't get it join other fans for the official Rapids Official Away Game Viewing Party at the British Bulldog to watch the game live in a great soccer atmosphere!

The British Bulldog is located at Broadway and Stout streets in Denver and you never know who you might run into there......last weekend Rapids midfielder Terry Cooke was a surprise guest and spent the game chatting with fans and enjoying the match!

The Rapids look forward to seeing fans at the British Bulldog Saturday night for the official viewing party!

Rapids at New England Revolution Official Viewing Party Details:

WHEN: Saturday Sept. 30. Kickoff is at 5:30pm MT live on MLS Direct Kick! The British Bulldog is one of the few places in town who subscribe to the Direct Kick package so make sure you get there early to reserve your spot!

WHERE: The British Bulldog located at 2052 Stout Street in Denver (Broadway and Stout are the cross streets). Phone: 303-295-7974.

COST: Free to attend for fans of all ages!

The Colorado Rapids look forward to seeing all fans out at the British Bulldog for the game on Saturday!

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION v COLORADO RAPIDS MATCH PREVIEW
by MLSNet.com
GILLETTE STADIUM Foxborough Mass.
5:30pm MT
TV: MLS Direct Kick package
Sept. 30 2006 (WEEK 27) / MLS Game #175

After missing out on a first chance to secure their postseason spot a week ago the New England Revolution return to their home field to try and finish off qualification this time playing host to the Colorado Rapids. While a victory would certainly do it even if the New York Red Bulls lose or tie at home to Chicago their playoff fate will be secure. The Colorado Rapids can also clinch a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs on Saturday with a victory in New England combined with a Real Salt Lake loss in Kansas City.

REFEREE: Kevin Stott. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Jorge de la Bandera; 4th: Gus St. Silva
MLS Career: 127 games; FC/gm: 26.7; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 35; pens: 23
MLS 2006: 8 games; FC/gm: 25.5 (avg: 28.8); Y/gm: 4.3 (avg: 3.61); R: 4 (MLS: 39); pens: 4 (MLS: 37)
Games involving Revolution: P16 W10 L4 T2; FC/gm: 28.1; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 4; pens: 2
Games involving Rapids: P19 W5 L11 T3; FC/gm: 27.2; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 5; pens: 2

INJURY REPORT:
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: MF Shalrie Joseph (R hand); DF Marshall Leonard (L Achilles tendon repair); MF Daniel Hernandez (L ankle surgery); DF James Riley (R hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: FW Pat Noonan (R hip flexor) ...
COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: MF Alain Nkong (R knee); MF Matt Crawford (R hip strain); FW Luchi Gonzalez (R groin); QUESTIONABLE: FW Fabrice Noel (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF Terry Cooke (L knee)

SUSPENDED:
NE: Joe Franchino (eight cautions; through Sept. 30)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NE: Clint Dempsey Andy Dorman James Riley
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
NE: Jay Heaps Daniel Hernandez Jeff Larentowicz Khano Smith Taylor Twellman ...
COL: Kyle Beckerman Jovan Kirovski Pablo Mastroeni Thiago Martins Clint Mathis Mike Petke

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: COL: Fabrice Noel to Haitian National Team

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (27 meetings): Revolution 9 wins (2 shootout) 39 goals ... Rapids 14 wins (1 shootout) 48 goals ... 4 draws
IN FOXBOROUGH: (13 meetings): Revolution 6 wins (2 shootout) 27 goals ... Rapids 4 wins (0 shootout) 22 goals ... 3 draws

-This is the second of two meetings between the teams the only one set to be played on Route 1.
-A year ago the teams met twice playing to a scoreless draw in New England before the Rapids claimed a 2-0 victory in Denver. It was the first time since 2001 one team had won the season series - they evenly split them in 2002 (over four games) 2003 and 2004 (three games).
-New England last won in Denver in that 2001 season claiming a 1-0 victory at Mile High Stadium on May 19 before the teams played to a 3-3 draw in the Bay State.
-That Revolution victory ended a winless run of seven games in the series for New England with Colorado winning every game (one by shootout) beginning Aug. 9 1997 through the 2000 meetings.

Coaches records: Steve Nicol v COL: P12 W4 L5 D3 ... Fernando Clavijo vs. NE: P3 W2 L0 D1

2006 (MLS)
7/4: COL 3 NE 2 (Hernandez 13 69; Beckerman 45 - Dempsey 26; Twellman 90)

For the second time in three years the Rapids and Revolution met in the annual Fourth of July celebration in Denver and the Rapids continued their success on the holiday holding on for a wild 3-2 victory at Invesco Field at Mile High.

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 low 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.

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]

Here's Nicol's team (3-4-2-1): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps Michael Parkhurst James Riley - Andy Dorman Shalrie Joseph Jeff Larentowicz Tony Lochhead (Jose Cancela 67) - Steve Ralston Clint Dempsey - Taylor Twellman (Willie Sims 94+). [Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Brown Jani Galik Ryan Latham T.J. Tomasso Danny Wynn]

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution missed out on a chance to secure their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs seeing the Kansas City Wizards come back to grab a 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium last Saturday evening. The Revolution are still in third place in the Eastern Conference now with 39 points from 29 matches trailing the second-place Chicago Fire by five points while still leading the fourth-place Wizards by five.

LAST MATCH
-The Revolution were riding a three-game unbeaten streak and could secure their spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs with a victory while the Wizards were returning from action after a two-week layoff still in possession of the fourth and final postseason spot in the East.
-The home side got the start they were looking for taking the lead after just 17 minutes. A good movement saw Steve Ralston swing in a cross from the right which Andy Dorman slightly deflected on goal. Wizards 'keeper Bo Oshoniyi could only parry it back out but Clint Dempsey rose up to powerfully head home off the underside of the crossbar and narrowly over the line.
-New England saw a good chance from Dorman blocked by a sliding Shavar Thomas then Jay Heaps somehow contrive to spoon a shot over from nearly on the goal line after a corner fell to his feet.
-The Wizards punished the Revs for their misses in the 58th minute. Ryan Raybould hooked in a cross from the right Sasha Victorine got up to head back across the area and Scott Sealy took advantage of a lax line to get in behind the Revolution defense and knock home the leveler past Matt Reis.
-Revolution boss Steve Nicol made no changes to the team that went to Giants Stadium and came away with a 2-0 victory at midweek.
-Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps Michael Parkhurst Avery John - Steve Ralston Jeff Larentowicz Joe Franchino (Jose Cancela 77) James Riley (Khano Smith 69) - Andy Dorman - Taylor Twellman Clint Dempsey. [Substitutes Not Used: Jose Manuel Abundis Kyle Brown Tony Lochhead Willie Sims Doug Warren]
-"I have said it enough times this year said Nicol. "We had a chance to finish them off and we didn't. If you don't get that insurance one then all it takes is one slip or one bit of genius and the game is gone."

TEAM NEWS
-A win would have wrapped up a postseason berth for the Revolution. They can clinch again this weekend with a victory against Colorado - or if the Red Bulls drop any points to Chicago in New York.
-"We would have preferred it but we have seen enough in the last couple of games that I am sure we will be in the playoffs said Nicol. "It's not the end of the world. It's another point towards the playoffs and we move on to next week."
-The draw extended the Revolution's unbeaten streak to four games - all over a 15-day span. "We should have won we let 2 points slip away Ralston said to The Boston Globe. "We had chances to wrap it up and do it at home and we should have done it. In the second half our legs caught up with us a little bit but if we play like we did in the first half we are going to win a lot of games."
-Nicol was also bothered by the circumstances surrounding the leveler. "The goal we lost could have been avoided had we stepped up but we didn't said Nicol. "We defend as a unit and everyone has to get out at the one time. It certainly could have been avoided had we stepped out which we should have done."
-Nicol was pleased with the change his substitutes brought to the game. "We brought (Smith) on so he could run at their fullback which he did. I thought he did great. You can't live with him when he gets going with his pace Nicol said. "With (Cancela) we just felt that we weren't getting hold of the ball and we didn't want to sit and just gamble on being tight. We thought he could give us something attacking-wise."
-It was the second match without Shalrie Joseph in the center of midfield expected to miss the remainder of the regular season with a hand injury. As well Joe Franchino will be suspended this weekend - meaning second-year player Jeff Larentowicz will likely partner with Tony Lochhead in the midfield.
-"We miss [Joseph] but Joe is a no-nonsense guy and we just get on with the business Larentowicz said to the Globe. "If there is a player I have learned the most from it's [Joseph] what he does with the ball how he defends the role of that position. I learned from his way of leading the team."
-Larentowicz came to the Revolution after playing in the heart of the defense at Brown University. As a rookie he played all of just 45 minutes in just one substitute appearance.
-"Last year I was a sweeper in a back three and now I am a sweeper in the middle of the field Larentowicz said. "Midfield has always been my favorite position. I like to be involved."

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids weren't able to repeat their Home Depot Center magic seeing Chivas USA make a first-half goal stand up for a 1-0 victory last Saturday evening in Carson. The loss left the Rapids all alone in fourth place in the Western Conference with 39 points from 29 matches now two points behind third-place Houston Dynamo and three points behind second-place Chivas while leading Real Salt Lake by three points for the final playoff spot.

LAST MATCH
-The teams came in tied for third place in the Western Conference both with 39 points three ahead of Real Salt Lake and just a point behind Houston Dynamo. Chivas had just two losses since July 8 (11 games) while the Rapids had just two wins in their last seven games.
-Just as they had done a week before when they claimed a scoreless draw against the Galaxy on Victoria Street the Rapids looked to close the game and break on the counter.
-But Chivas found a way through in the 34th minute. A neat passing movement from Juan Pablo Garcia to Jonathan Bornstein saw the rookie slip Francisco Mendoza into the area. After skipping past defenders Dan Gargan and Aitor Karanka Mendoza found himself alone in front of goal and nimbly slotted inside the right post past a diving Joe Cannon.
-Nicolas Hernandez had a pair of quality chances in the second half including one where he was in alone behind the Chivas defense but Brad Guzan kicked that aside to preserve to put his side potentially one win away from a first-ever spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
-Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo made no changes to the team that went to The Home Depot Center the weekend before and came away with a scoreless draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
-Here's Clavijo's team (4-4-1-1): Joe Cannon - Dan Gargan Aitor Karanka Mike Petke Hunter Freeman - Nicolas Hernandez Kyle Beckerman Pablo Mastroeni Jacob Peterson - Clint Mathis (Melvin Tarley 81) - Thiago Martins (Jovan Kirovski 68). [Substitutes Not Used: Colin Clark Bouna Coundoul Eric Denton Daniel Wasson Chris Wingert]
-"I think we did enough to at least get a draw said Clavijo. "Our attitude and determination level was superb but sometimes you need a little luck and tonight we didn't have it."

TEAM NEWS
-Over the last seven matches the Rapids have scored only three goals. Clavijo however is not bothered by the recent scoring slump. "I'm not concerned about the goals that we're not scoring I'm concerned with not giving up goals and giving ourselves a chance to win he said.
-The Rapids have also allowed just one goal in the last three games. "We came with the right attitude and that was to get a result. But they played well in which they got a good defensive break and a good individual play by Mendoza and they capitalized on it Mastroeni said. "I think instead of sitting back we really came after the game to get the result. We were just unfortunate. I think we played well and if we continue on this path then I think we're hitting the playoffs in stride."
-The Rapids' playoff hopes will hinge on the last three matches two of which will be played away from Invesco Field at Mile High. Road games have proven to be a struggle for the Rapids throughout the season as they have won only twice away from home.
-"The outlook in this locker room is positive said Mastroeni. "When your back's against the wall is when you perform the best and these last games are going to be tough. We don't want any gimmies though and we don't want to rely on the results of other teams to make the playoffs. We want to take destiny in our hands and earn it and if we keep working hard we'll hit the playoffs in stride."
-With a victory in New England and a Real Salt Lake loss in Kansas City the Rapids will clinch a spot in the playoffs.
-"We have a team that realizes how important every game is. I think we have an idea of what we need to do to reach the playoffs which is finishing but we didn't do it Clavijo said. "I think the attitude and the determination to win the game was superb. Just sometimes you need a little luck and today we didn't have it."
-Still Clavijo will likely be without Terry Cooke and Alain Nkong for at least another week. Nkong was expected to be able to return to training but will likely not return until the week leading into the Oct. 7 match against New York.
-"It's not desperation just yet Clavijo said to the Rocky Mountain News. "You want them to contribute in a big way in a game that is a must-win or a playoff game."