After slow June, team prepares for long stretch before next break

Stretch includes 12 matches against Western foes, including 8 at home

Commerce City, Colo. - After having three of the past four weekends off, the Rapids begin a stretch playing on 10 consecutive weekends on Saturday when they host the Portland Timbers at Dick's Sporting Goods Park (7 pm MT, TICKETS).

"We're definitely ready for this," said captain Drew Moor. "We haven't had as many games, and it was important that we had some time to recover and some time to look at different things and players, because we need that time for months like these. July is jam-packed with, not just a lot of games, but big games against Western Conference teams, and opponents that are right around us in the standings."

Starting Saturday, the Rapids will play for the next 10 weekends before the next break from September 7-9. Twelve of the 13 matches during this stretch are against Western Conference opponents, and eight are at home. In fact 17 of the final 19 games are against the West.

"We're 15 games into the season," Moor said. "We're getting guys back from injuries, some important key members of this squad, who are able to adapt as soon as they step in. So there are no excuses as far as system or formations. Everybody has been integrated in and everybody is ready to go."

Two of those players returning from injuries are forwards Conor Casey and Omar Cummings. Casey, who is recovering from a hamstring strain after coming back from Achilles surgery, started the last match against San Jose and last 67 minutes before asking to come off for fresher legs. Cummings replaced Casey, despite not being fully recovered from a sprained ankle. Another is Jamie Smith, who was taken off the disabled list ahead of the last match after fully recovering from a torn ACL.

They will likely all be called to play important roles over the second half of the season.

"This is an extremely important month," Moor added. "We have some home games, we have some tough road games, and we have to get as many points as we can."