Colorado Rapids will change things up again for Saturday’s home game against Columbus Crew SC (TICKETS), but they will hope for the same outcome as the previous two inside Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
After back-to-back shutout wins over San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City, the Rapids take aim at three in a row before the break for World Cup qualifiers. But they will tackle Crew SC without Tim Howard or Bobby Burling, two of those who started last weekend’s win over Sporting KC. Howard is with the USA on national team duty, while Burling is to serve a one-game suspension, handed down by the league’s Disciplinary Committee.
That means a return in goal for Zac MacMath. It will be his first appearance since the 2-0 loss at Orlando City SC on April 29. With doubts surrounding the fitness of Jared Watts (calf) and Axel Sjöberg (knee), it raises questions as to the make-up of the back four, as Mekeil Williams is also absent. Williams is in Boulder with Trinidad and Tobago, preparing for their World Cup clash with the USA at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park next Thursday.
Columbus are 2-5-0 on the road and, though they disposed of Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 at home on Wednesday, this followed a 5-0 thrashing at Toronto FC last Friday. Gregg Berhalter’s team appear to score and concede in almost equal measure, having netted 23, but leaked 24. Only Real Salt Lake (29) and Minnesota United FC (30) have conceded more in all of MLS.
Having won three in a row, all by a 2-0 scoreline, the Rapids are now without a win in three against Crew SC. Indeed, they have not beaten Columbus in the last two at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
They won ugly against Sporting KC last time out, and will take that again against this Saturday’s visitors, in the hope that they hit the break on a high. The Rapids will also be eager to close the gap on those above them in the Western Conference (STANDINGS). Victory would still not lift them off the bottom, but it could have them breathing down the necks of both RSL and Minnesota, with the second half of the season looming, and with games in hand.
Rapids: Bobby Burling (out - suspended), Nana Boateng (out - back), Axel Sjöberg (questionable - leg), Jared Watts (questionable - calf).
Crew SC: Dilly Duka (questionable - knee), Waylon Francis (questionable - thigh), Hector Jimenez (questionable - contusion), Gaston Sauro (out - PCL), Ben Swanson (out - ankle).
HOW TO FOLLOW
Radio: Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 (English); La Invasora 87.7FM (Spanish)
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant 1: Eric Weisbrod
Assistant 2: Kathryn Nesbitt
Fourth Official: Juan Guzman
WHAT TO KNOW
Since winning three straight meetings between 2011 and 2013, the Rapids are winless in their last three games against the Crew (0-1-2).
Colorado has kept three clean sheets at home this season (3-0-0), tied for the fifth-most in MLS.
Crew SC have lost five of their seven away matches this season (2-5-0), tied for the third-most in MLS. Their 2.1 goals conceded per away match is the fifth worst in the league.
The Rapids have averaged 1.3 goals per game over their last four matches (2-2-0). They had scored an average of 0.6 goals per game over their first eight contests this season (1-6-1).
Wil Trapp leads the league with 926 passes completed this season. Trapp has a passing accuracy of 91 per cent, the highest in the league of any player with 210 attempted passes. (See Tale of the Tape).
Colorado has the fewest touches in the opponent’s box this season with just 142, which is 67 less than the next closet team (LA Galaxy - 209).