COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – When the Colorado Rapids face Chivas USA at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night (7 pm MT), they’ll be looking to avoid the same lapses in concentration that doomed them in their last two games.
The Rapids spent almost their entire Thursday morning practice working on defending set pieces, a recurring problem in losses to the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy. Colorado have now lost three straight.
“Every game has a different challenge,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said of his team. “And right now, the group is aware that we have to start winning games because we don’t want the season to go by and make it hard for us at the end.”
Pareja will have a potent new weapon available to him on Saturday, however, as the Rapids welcome all-time leading goalscorer Conor Casey back to their bench for the first time since he ruptured his Achilles last July.
“I’m going to be available and just kind of take it from there,” said Casey, who said he likely expects to play the final 10 to 20 minutes of Saturday’s game.
While Pareja repeatedly commented that he was happy with his team’s performance in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Galaxy, a sense of urgency is beginning to grow in Commerce City after a three-week point drought.
“Three straight losses is something you’ve got to get out of,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “We’ve built on our losses throughout the year, but a game at home against a conference team coming off three losses, obviously this is one we want to put in the bag.”
Henao set to begin challenging in Colorado
New signing Harrison Henao is due to arrive in Colorado on Friday, and will begin to compete for a spot in Pareja’s starting lineup right away.
The midfielder’s Visa and ITC paperwork are complete, making him eligible to play immediately, and according to Pareja, he could play as soon as Wednesday’s clash in New England.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.