Colorado Rapids hope to build on momentum with home cooking
COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- On the road, the Rapids have exceeded expectations so far this season with two wins and three draws in seven matches away from Commerce City, including 2-0-2 over the last four away games.
Now, the Rapids need to defend their home turf if they want to continue climbing up the Western Conference standings.
Colorado welcomes Chivas USA on Saturday night to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (7 p.m. MT, PREVIEW), looking to extend their four-game unbeaten streak and start to build momentum on their home field.
“We need to win games at home,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja told MLSsoccer.com. “What you do on the road shows up when you get your points at home.”
Despite a win in their last home game, a 1-0 victory against Toronto FC on May 4, Colorado’s 2-2-1 home mark isn’t up to the team’s typical standards. Early losses to Philadelphia and Seattle at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park were atypical for the Rapids, who enjoy one of MLS’ greatest home field advantages playing at Colorado’s mile-high altitude.
"The road performances have been well fought, and we've found ourselves on the right side of some results," captain Pablo Mastroeni told ColoradoRapids.com this week. "I think, at home, the onus is on us to go out and really make the game and hold ourselves to a higher level."
Colorado will have as full a lineup as they’ve had all season on Saturday. Striker Edson Buddle is back after a serving a one-game suspension for a challenge against Columbus on May 11. Buddle scored the game-winning goals - his first two goals in a Rapids uniform - in his last two matches. Brian Mullan and Dillon Powers, who were rested last week, are also options.
“Now that we’ve got a rhythm going, we want to capitalize on home field [against] a team that’s lost their last game,” Buddle told MLSsoccer.com after practice on Thursday. “Just show our fans that we can play and dominate at home.”
Meanwhile Chivas’ miserable run of form, which has seen them collect just one point in their last six games, started with a 1-0 loss at the Home Depot Center to the Rapids on April 13. But even with Chivas rocketing towards the Western Conference basement in recent weeks, Pareja says he isn’t taking the goats lightly.
‘The first thing I told the boys [Wednesday] morning was: ‘No one is going to take this game lightly,’” Pareja said. “If we want to keep progressing, if we want to keep pushing and going up in the ladder, we have to respect our opponents.”
Mastroeni accepts that the team is on a good run, and hopes to keep that steak going come Saturday.
"That's the ideal situation, playing in a certain manner that there's no distinction between home and away." Mastroeni said. "If we can continue building on the last few performances, we'll find ourselves on the right side of the results."
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.