After having last weekend off, the Colorado Rapids return to MLS action on Saturday with a match at Sporting KC (6:30 p.m. MT, live on Altitude TV).
Riding a nine-game undefeated streak, the team has shown no signs that the bye week interrupted their form or hunger to continue their run.
"Training has been very good. The level of intensity that we've found in the last three days was very good. " head coach Oscar Pareja told ColoradoRapids.com following Wednesday's practice. "We used the weekend to rest some players and have some re-gen for their bodies. But during this week we have been focusing on the Kansas City game and everybody's into it, so we're pleased."
Saturday's match at Sporting Park will pit two teams even on 39 points apiece through 26 games, with both teams tied for third place in their respective conferences.
"It's going to be a tough challenge, they're a good team," Rapids midfielder Nathan Sturgis said Wednesday. "It's a tough place to play in their place. They're a physical team so we just have to be ready for a battle."
Sporting KC is coming off a midweek win in the CONCACAF Champions League over Olimpia in Honduras. But in MLS play, SKC has lost three of their last four and has been shutout in their last two matches - losses at Chicago and San Jose.
But Rapids coach Oscar Pareja says KC's form as a whole over recent years is more telling of the challenges the weekend match presents.
"(Sporting KC) is a team that is coming off a couple of good seasons," Pareja said. "It's a team that has been together. It's a team that already has some sequencing patterns that are very automatic in their system."
Pareja's mentality all season has been one of respect to his opponents, but also one to look at how his team can impose the game.
"We're trying to put emphasis on what we have, and the strengths that we have," Pareja added. "(We) see Kansas City as one more opponent who has their weaknesses, too. They are strong in some other areas, but if we keep doing a good job and keep doing the work on the field, I don't have any doubt that we'll bring the points."