With three of the remaining four games being at home for the Colorado Rapids, and having been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday, they can now take on the role of spoiler.
The first parade to rain on will be that of Montreal Impact, who sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, four points behind New York Red Bulls, though having played a game more. Only the top six qualify for the postseason.
Montreal lost 1-0 at home to New York City FC on Wednesday night. That was a fourth straight loss inside Saputo Stadium for Mauro Biello’s team. They have gone 1-6-0 in the last seven games. The solitary success, though, came at BMO Field, where they defeated the league’s top team, Toronto FC, 5-3. Ignacio Piatti bagged two goals and two assists.
The Impact have just three games left, and know that their hopes of reaching the playoffs for a third year in a row hang by a thread.
They will have been lifted by Thursday’s news that leading light Piatti had agreed a deal to stay with the club beyond June of 2018. Only four players in MLS have more goals than the Argentine in 2017. The Designated Player, with 17 on the season, is sure to be their main threat on Saturday (TICKETS).
Desperately seeking a strong finish to the season, the Rapids go in search of their first home win since July 1, albeit they have played just four at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since that victory over Houston Dynamo.
Interim head coach Steve Cooke appears to have few injury worries ahead of this contest. Stefan Aigner played 55 minutes in Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at FC Dallas, making his first start in MLS. There was also a return to league play for veteran central defender Bobby Burling, who had not stepped onto the field since mid-June, while Shkëlzen Gashi got 20 minutes under his belt, having missed the trip to Vancouver with a hamstring issue.
This marks only a sixth meeting between these two teams. The Rapids did well to return from Montreal with a point last season, though they did lose the last time the Impact were in Commerce City - a wonder goal from Didier Drogba saw to that, on October 10, 2015. The Rapids then went unbeaten in the regular season at home until Real Salt Lake stole all three points back in April of this year.
The home form of 2016 needs to be rediscovered if the Rapids are to close out strong. Though the main aim of 2017 disappeared with defeat in Dallas, the focus must now shift. Fight for pride, fight for the fans, and disrupt the hopes of others.
Rapids: Joshua Gatt (questionable - leg)
Impact: Blerim Džemaili (out - suspended), Ambroise Oyongo (out - right knee)
HOW TO FOLLOW
Radio: Altitude 950; La Invasora 87.7FM (Spanish)
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Assistant (bench): Jonathan Johnson
Assistant (opposite): Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow
VAR: Rosendo Mendoza