COMMERCE CITY, CO - MARCH 19: Omar Cummings #14 of the Colorado Rapids fights for position against Jeremy Hall #17 of the Portland Timbers at Dicks Sporting Goods Park on March 19, 2011 in Commerce City, Colorado. The Rapids defeated the Timbers 3-1. (Photo by Michael Martin/Getty Images)
Nobody ever said that Major League Soccer was an easy league to win, and part of the reason why is that a simple small run of form, good or bad, can either slide you right into the thick of the playoff race or make you forgotten. Colorado's two game slide in the last week against Western teams had the worst possible effect on the team, putting them not only out of the playoff race into sixth place, but keeping them helpless as plenty of other teams took the points they needed on Saturday.
With Portland winning against the Sounders on Saturday and the Galaxy putting together a three win week, the Rapids are not only out of the race but are watching teams sneak up on them from behind. Specifically, Chivas USA are level on points with the Rapids with 19, and the Timbers are only three behind.
Portland being only three points away from catching up to the Rapids in their tie for sixth in the West will make Saturday's match against them the second 'six pointer' in three matches for Colorado. We all saw how they bungled up their last chance to gain ground in the conference against Vancouver, but in this case the Rapids will be at home and will also be the team trying to hold off the team behind them.
Those two tidbits should make us feel a bit better about the upcoming game, but it's doubtful that it will with Colorado's penchant for blowing up games they should have won lately. It's going to be a nervous 90 minutes for the Rapids and their fans, and 90 of the most important minutes of the season.