Stories to Watch
Philadelphia is off to a promising start.
The Union started the 2018 campaign with two matches on home soil. Jim Curtin's men have a 1-0-1 record after holding the early Eastern Conference leaders Columbus Crew SC to a 0-0 draw just two weeks after recording a 2-0 win in their Season Opener against New England.
What is feeding their early success? Many fingers will point to the Union's stout defense led by veteran goalkeeper Andre Blake, who has walked away with back-to-back clean sheets. The Jamaican international, who captained the Reggae Boyz in a friendly against Antigua over the weekend, will return stateside to join the Union in Colorado as they resume MLS duties.
In addition to Blake, Curtin has opted to start 19-year-old Auston Trusty and 22-year-old Jack Elliott as his first-choice center backs. The defenders, whose average age is three years younger than the next youngest first-choice center back in MLS, have seen back-to-back starts alongside Keegan Rosenberry and Fabinho. The back four in addition to Blake, have yet to concede a goal this year.
In 2017, road games were problematic for Philadelphia, finishing the season with a 1-10-6 record away from Talen Energy Stadium. However, by the time Philadelphia makes their way to Commerce City on March 31, they will have had a two week break from game-action, meaning they will be well prepared for the contest.
Player to Watch
CJ Sapong has picked up where he left off last season after scoring in Philadelphia's Season Opener against a nine-man New England Revolution. The Union's lone center forward set the club's (and his own) single-season scoring record with 16 goals last year, level with Sebastian Giovinco for eighth-most in MLS. The 29-year-old made his 150th MLS start in the scoreless draw against Columbus on March 17.
Internationally, the 6'1" forward has registered four caps for the US national team, most recently recording an assist in a 1-1 draw with Portugal in November and starting in the January friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sapong re-signed with the Union through 2019 with a club option for 2020 and will most likely start up front against the Rapids when they meet on March 31 at DICK'S Sporting Goods Park.
Rapids vs Philadelphia Union - Recent Form
The Rapids have faced the Union 10 times in series history. The last time the two sides met Caleb Calvert scored his first MLS goal in a 2-1 defeat on May 20, 2017. In 2016, a 1-1 draw with the Union at DICK'S Sporting Goods Park extended Rapids’ unbeaten record to nine games and the Union's unbeaten record to seven.
Despite having the edge in the head-to-head series overall, the Rapids have not walked away with three-points against the Union since 2013, and have not beaten the Union at home in the previous three meetings. The Union's lone win in Commerce City came in the Rapids' 2013 Home Opener, when Zac MacMath was in goal for the visitors.
- Overall: Colorado 3 wins, 16 goals | Philadelphia 2 wins, 13 goals | 5 ties
- At Colorado: Colorado 1 win, 7 goals | Philadelphia 1 win, 5 goals | 2 ties
- Last meeting: Philadelphia 2, Colorado 1 (May 20, 2017)