Rapids Host MetroStars Tonight!

ColoradoRapids.com - The Colorado Rapids will host the MetroStars for the first time of 2005 this Saturday night at INVESCO Field at Mile High. Kickoff is set for 7:00pm MT.

Weather: a reminder that MLS games are not cancelled or postponed due to weather (except in the event of lightning). So tonight's game will progress no matter what the weather. Bundle up!

Saturday is also the Rapids' annual "Free Jersey Night"; the first 6000 kids ages 16 and under into the stadium on Saturday will receive a free Rapids replica jersey identical to the one pictured at left! Gates open at 6:00pm Saturday so get there early to make sure you get yours!

COLORADO RAPIDS VS. METROSTARS

Probable Colorado Rapids Starting Lineup (4-5-1 formation from Left to Right)
GK- Joe Cannon
LD- Eric Denton
CD- Ritchie Kotschau
CD- Net Borchers
RD- Hunter Freeman
LM- Chris Henderson
CM- Pablo Matroeni
CM- Alain Nkong
CM- Mark Chung
RM- Terry Cooke
F- Luchi Gonzalez

For the most complete information on this game with broadcast information injury updates miscellaneous notes and head-to-head matchups visit the Rapids' MatchUp Page by clicking here

MATCH PREVIEW
Courtesy of MLSNet.com

This inter-conference matchup in the Mile High City features a pair of clubs that have gotten off to slow starts - what neither was looking for in trying to rebound from their 2004 campaigns.

The Colorado Rapids enter the match on a higher note their first victory of the season coming last week after a three-match winless run to start the year. The MetroStars are still looking for their first victory on the season a first loss of the year coming last weekend after two draws to open.

REFEREE BREAKDOWN:
Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): David Bragg; JAR (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Scott McCaslin
MLS Career: 33 games; FC/gm: 33.0; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 8; pens: 12
Games involving Rapids: P5 W2 L0 T3; FC/gm: 31.4; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 2; pens: 1
Games involving MetroStars: P8 W3 L4 T1; FC/gm: 31.8; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 2; pens: 2

INJURY REPORT:

COLORADO RAPIDS - DOUBTFUL: GK Byron Foss (concussion/laceration); PROBABLE: FW Jean-Philippe Peguero (R ankle sprain); DF Ricky Lewis (L foot sprain); FW Jeff Cunningham (L knee injury); MF Matt Crawford (R quadriceps strain) ...

METROSTARS - OUT: GK Jonny Walker (rotator cuff surgery); QUESTIONABLE: FW Abbe Ibrahim (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Eddie Gaven (L ring finger fracture); FW Jason Hernandez (L hamstring strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

YELLOW PERIL: MET: MF Amado Guevara (9 CP in 2 gms)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (21 meetings): Rapids 10 wins (0 shootout) 26 goals ... MetroStars 10 wins (0 shootout) 33 goals ... 1 draw
IN DENVER (11 meetings): Rapids 6 wins (0 shootout) 12 goals ... MetroStars 4 wins (0 shootout) 11 goals ... 1 draw

• This is the first of two meetings this season between the teams. Their second and final league encounter will be on July 16 at the Meadowlands.
• A year ago the Rapids won both meetings between the clubs. Colorado came from behind to grab a dramatic 3-2 victory in their only visit to Giants Stadium on June 30 (Gaven 23 Galvan Rey 53 - Cila 13 89; Borchers 78) then the lone goal from Long Island native Jordan Cila (54) gave the Rapids a 1-0 home victory on Aug. 21.
• The Rapids have won the last three meetings between the two clubs which answered a two-game MetroStars winning streak in the series.
• There hasn't been a draw in the last eight meetings between the clubs since a 1-1 draw on April 14 2001. Over that time five of the matches have been won by shutout (Rapids 3 MetroStars 2).
• Coaches record: Fernando Clavijo v MET: P8 W1 L6 T1 ... Bob Bradley vs. COL: P21 W10 L9 D2

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids won for the first time in four league matches on the season a 2-0 victory against the Columbus Crew on Saturday night at Invesco Field. The Rapids jumped to fourth place in the Western Conference with four points from four matches still six off the pace of West leader FC Dallas and a point behind third-place San Jose Earthquakes.

LAST MATCH
• The Rapids scored early in each half to claim a first three-pointer of the campaign. They opened their account after just two minutes a long cross from Luchi Gonzalez finding Chris Henderson on the left of the area and he headed back for Pablo Mastroeni who hammered a low first-time volley home inside the far post.
• Then just before the hour Henderson was again involved as he wriggled free on the left flank and whipped in a cross from the corner that found an unmarked Gonzalez who headed home for his first MLS goal. The Crew were reduced to 10 men for the final 13 minutes after wingback Mario Rodriguez was sent off with a straight red card in his MLS debut.
• Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo made two changes to the that lost 1-0 to Real Salt Lake the previous Saturday. Terry Cooke made his first MLS start coming in wide on the right of midfield while Mark Chung moved forward Wolde Harris moving to the substitutes bench. Alain Nkong also returned to the starting lineup after a match coming into the midfield for Kyle Beckerman.
• Here's Clavijo's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Hunter Freeman Nat Borchers Ritchie Kotschau Eric Denton - Terry Cooke (Leo Cullen 78) Pablo Mastroeni Mark Chung Chris Henderson - Luchi Gonzalez Alain Nkong (Jean-Philippe Peguero 62)

TEAM NEWS
• It was a first victory at the Rapids helm for Fernando Clavijo. "We played well even in the last game but we were just not able to come out with the three points. Today we benefited from the hard work and we played as a team. We moved the ball around well from the beginning and we were alert for the entire 90 minutes. I always tell the boys to keep focus for the entire game and they did today so I'm extremely happy and proud of them."
• Clavijo had some difficulty getting his first-choice strike partnership together. He started Nkong up top with Gonzalez bringing on Peguero for the final half-hour. Peguero saw some minutes because he had been training the entire week. "Jeff (Cunningham) had only trained two days so I decided not to use him unless I had to. ... I'm happy players are coming back from injuries and the team is playing well."
• Cunningham played 15 minutes as a substitute in the Rapids reserves 1-0 loss to Columbus the following day.
• But Clavijo was pleased with Gonzalez in attack. "Luchi did outstanding playing the ball outside inside and forcing Columbus to have to play the ball wide out of the back like we wanted them to said Clavijo. "And every time you put the ball in the back of the net it's a plus."
• For his part Gonzalez was pleased with his partnership with Nkong. "I was able to run off of him into the spaces Gonzalez said. "He was drawing them and creating a hole for me to run into."

METROSTARS
The MetroStars continue to search for their first victory on the season falling for the first time this year in a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire at Giants Stadium last Friday night. The MetroStars are at the foot of the Eastern Conference table with two points from three matches two behind the Kansas City Wizards and D.C. United and eight off first place.

LAST MATCH
• At Giants Stadium the Fire defeated the MetroStars for the fifth time in nine league matches since Bob Bradley moved from Chicago to the Big Apple club.
• Nate Jaqua scored the game's only goal when he stripped the MetroStars Jeff Parke in midfield and raced in on goal holding off the defender before hitting a low shot that took a deflection before skipping past Metro 'keeper Zach Wells.
• Amado Guevara had a glorious opportunity to pull the home side level shortly after the break when Kelly Gray pulled down John Wolyniec from behind but the Honduran international pounded his penalty off the base of the post -- his first miss from the spot in MLS after going 6-for-6 a year ago.
• MetroStars coach Bob Bradley made no changes to the team that played to a 2-2 draw with the Kansas City Wizards the previous weekend. Here's Bradley's team (4-2-1-3): Zach Wells - Chris Leitch Jeff Parke (Tim Ward 46) Carlos Mendes Jeff Agoos (Tim Regan 46) - Michael Bradley Mark Lisi - Amado Guevara - Youri Djorkaeff John Wolyniec Sergio Galvan Rey (Eddie Gaven 70).
• "It was frustrating to make a bad mistake and get down and have two defenders come off at halftime and use two subs at that point. Then have a penalty at the beginning of the second half to tie it up and then we can't convert Bradley said. "The effort after that to keep going and try to push the game was pretty good. The plays that needed to get pulled off technically around the backs weren't good enough tonight."

TEAM NEWS
• There will some real concerns in the MetroStars back four this week as both Jeff Agoos and Jeff Parke face battles to get fit. Parke suffered a concussion in the first half while Agoos had a right calf strain that forced them both off at halftime.
• This is the first time as an MLS head coach that Bob Bradley has failed to win any of his first three games to open the season.
• "There have been positive things. It's disappointing and frustrating to have only two points but it's a long season. Some things in these three games have made everybody feel that this is going to be a good team."