SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 13: Ross LaBauex #16 of the Colorado Rapids and Bobby Burling #2 of the San Jose Earthquakes go for the ball at Buck Shaw Stadium on August 13, 2011 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The month of September has not been kind to the Colorado Rapids. The Rocky Mountain club are in the midst of a five-game losing streak in all competitions, and have not won in MLS league play since August 13th. Ironically, that was a 2-1 win away against San Jose. Also, just four days later, the Rapids won their CONCACAF Champions League opener against Isidro Metapán. However, the club has managed two draws and five losses in all competitions since.
Gary Smith is expected to field a strong starting XI against a struggling San Jose side that is virtually out of the MLS playoff picture. Colorado (10-9-11) will also benefit from the return of standout midfielder Jamie Smith. San Jose (6-11-12) has won only one game in their last eleven matches. The win during that span occurred on September 10th, a 2-0 win over Chicago Fire.
Look for the speedy duo of Omar Cummings and Sanna Nyassi to start together in attack. Caleb Folan could play a role in the match as the Irish international has not featured in the past two CONCACAF Champions League matches. Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni should return in central midfield and the back four should consist of Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, and Miguel Comminges. Brian Mullan and Jamie Smith should handle the wing duties.
Colorado desperately needs a win to get closer to securing a playoff spot in the MLS postseason. Gary Smith recently stated after the disappointing 2-1 loss to Real España in the CONCACAF Champions League that his focus will be on qualifying for the MLS playoffs. San Jose will look to play spoilers as the Rapids only have four league matches left, including the clash against San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.