The Colorado Rapids find themselves on the opposite side of a situation they were in a just a week ago. The Rapids had lost three in row when they visited Montreal on June 29 and upset the Impact - who had yet to lose at home - with a 4-3 win. So Oscar Pareja and his side know not to take D.C. United lightly on Sunday (7:30 p.m. MT), even though the Eastern Conference side has only won two games all year.
"Every game is very difficult, every game has a different story," Pareja told ColoradoRapids.com following Saturday morning's workout at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. "This is a very competitive and very balanced league. It's very difficult to see a team that dominates others all the time. So for us it's the detemination to play a game with a lot of responsibility and enthusiasm and try to maintain our rhythm."
The Rapids enter Sunday's match at 7-7-5 (26 points) and with a modest two-game winning streak after defeating New York 2-0 on the 4th of July. DC comes to Colorado at 2-13-3, having scored only eight goals all season while surrendering 29.
As he's done all season, Pareja re-iterated that he expects his players to be mentally prepared on the task at hand, regardless of the opponent.
"Ten percent of the motivation comes from the group and the coach, and the other 90 percent comes from within the players individually, who have a respect for their profession, their team, and their performance," Pareja said of how his team approaches a match like this. "We can't be satisfied with two games because at this moment we're fighting for a spot in the playoffs. That internal motivation is important for the group. We assist them as a group, keeping them motivated and rested. And the player, himself, has to put his professionalism on display."
Following Sunday's match the Rapids have ten days before their next regular season game on July 17 against the New England Revolution at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. In between, the team will play a friendly exhibition in New Mexico against Mexico's Santos Laguna on July 12.