COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — After scoring four goals in consecutive matches for the first time in club history, the Colorado Rapids (8-9-6, 30 pts) will take on the Columbus Crew (10-9-5, 35 pts) at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on Saturday, August 13 (7 p.m. MT; Altitude Sports, Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM).
Saturday’s match will mark the first encounter between Colorado and Columbus since a 3-2 Rapids win at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on May 25, 2019. Fresh off a 4-3 win at home over Minnesota United FC, the Rapids will look to extend a run of form that has seen them take 10 points from their last five games, losing just once and scoring 13 goals in that span.
Gyasi Zardes, who was named the MLS Player of the Week following his hat trick in the win over Minnesota, will be taking on his former club for the first time since his trade to the Rapids back in April. The 30-year-old forward spent over four seasons with the Crew, winning the 2020 MLS Cup with the side. Curiously enough, the Crew’s most recent goal against Colorado was scored by none other than Zardes in that May 2019 encounter. Zardes has now recorded five goals and an assist over his last six games for the Rapids.
Diego Rubio enters Saturday’s match in form after scoring his 11th goal of the season in the win over the Loons, matching his single-season career high for goals scored in MLS and marking the seventh consecutive match the Chilean has recorded a goal or an assist. Rubio’s team-leading 11 goals and six assists so far in 2022 mark a new, single-season high in his MLS career, surpassing his 11 goals and five assists in 2019. Rubio is now one goal away from tying Chris Henderson for the fifth-most goals scored all-time in Rapids history (31) and one game-winning goal away from tying former Rapids midfielder Paul Bravo for most in club history (12).
The Crew will arrive in Colorado following a 3-2 win at home against New York City FC last weekend. Columbus is 1-1-1 in their last three MLS matches, scoring four goals and conceding four in that span. Lucas Zelarayán leads Columbus in both goals and assists in 2022 as he has found the back of the net eight times and delivered 10 assists. The former Tigres UANL midfielder has posted an average of 0.53 assists per match this year, currently the highest rate in MLS. Goalkeeper Eloy Room has posted eight shutouts on the season with the most recent shutout on the road taking place on June 25 against Real Salt Lake. Recent signing Juan “Cucho” Hernandez has made an immediate impact for Columbus, recording five goals from his first six appearances for the club since his arrival in June.
Zardes won’t be the only player facing his former club on Saturday. Other familiar faces include Rapids defender Lalas Abubakar, who spent three seasons with Columbus after being drafted by the club in 2017; Rapids head coach Robin Fraser, who spent two years with the Crew while captaining them to the 2004 Supporters’ Shield; Rapids defender Aboubacar Keita, a Columbus homegrown who won the 2020 MLS Cup and 2021 Campeones Cup with the side; and Crew midfielder Marlon Hairston, who was drafted by the Rapids in 2014 and spent five seasons in Colorado.