Expect lineup changes for the Rapids in match against Timbers

Atiba Harris and Hendry Thomas are off suspension and likely to return to starting XI

Hendry Thomas and Atiba Harris

Photo Credit: 
Bart Young / Colorado Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — In the middle of a three-game road swing, with matches in each time zone, and coming off two consecutive losses, expect lineup changes for the Colorado Rapids this weekend.

When the Rapids head to JELD-WEN Field for Sunday afternoon’s matchup with the Timbers (5 pm MT, NBC Sports / LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com), they’ll likely have lineup changes both due to returning players and by choice. Following a six-game unbeaten streak, they've have now lost two straight, and as a result, a shake-up is likely this weekend.

First, key midfielder Martín Rivero may not travel with a quad injury that he suffered in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Fire, although fellow midfielders Hendry Thomas and Atiba Harris will both be available for selection after both were suspended for Wednesday’s game.

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But with Sunday’s game marking the middle point of a three-game, 10-day road trip, regulars could simply be rested against Portland.

“The good thing is that we’re deep,” head coach Oscar Pareja, who also returns on Sunday from a one-game suspension, said on Friday. “We have some players that can bring some fresh legs for sure, so we are considering [resting players].”

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After allowing six goals in their last three games, Pareja hinted at a possible change to Colorado’s backline during the second half of Wednesday’s loss in Chicago. In the 72nd minute, the Rapids moved center back Marvell Wynne to his more natural right back position, with center back Germán Mera coming off the bench to pair with Drew Moor at center back.

Changes or not, Pareja believes his team can stop Portland’s 14-game unbeaten streak. Earlier this season, a battered Rapids team drew 1-1 in Houston during the middle of the Dynamo’s 36-game home unbeaten streak, perhaps giving them an added sense of confidence heading into the weekend.

“This group has reacted well during the year to adversity and I know they’re going to do it this time as well,” Pareja said. “At training today, they asked me to stay longer, because they want to keep finishing. So that’s a good note for me from the players.”

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.