Another week, another victory for the Colorado Rapids. A 2-0 victory over Los Angeles Galaxy pushed the Rapids to second place in the MLS Western Conference. The Rapids were led by goal scorers Dillon Powers and Hendry Thomas and solid midfield play in a match where the Galaxy rarely threatened. The victory sets up a massive game against their Rocky Mountain rivals Real Salt Lake with the Rocky Mountain Cup on the line. It is simple really for the Rapids: get a result this Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and the Rocky Mountain Cup comes back to Colorado for the first time since 2006.
Cue up The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, Week 22 edition
The Good: Fine Form--the Rapids are in a stretch of form that has not been seen in a while. Undefeated in six, with 14 points during this run has brought them within striking distance of the top of the table in the Western Conference. With 11 games left in the season, the playoffs are a realistic possibility. Optimism has never been higher in Colorado and a victory over a full strength RSL team would be the outcome of the season.
The Bad: RSL is good--although confidence is high right now in Commerce City, caution should be urged as well. Real Salt Lake is not a depleted Galaxy team. RSL has lost two very tough games at the death in the last two weeks. They have quality all over the pitch and it will take a complete performance from the Rapids to get the three points. With Hendry Thomas out and lack of goal scoring up front, this will be a very, very difficult match.
The Ugly: Again, the goals--I have no problems with midfielders scoring, but it is getting ridiculous that our strikers cannot score. Perhaps this changes with a possible new signing this week, but the simple truth is our last five goal scorers are:
A clinical finisher up top would have had many opportunities to add to these totals. Edson Buddle was much better against the Galaxy, but if he is called upon this weekend, he has to score goals.
The Rapids sit on 34 points at 9-7-7 and are three points off their pace from all of last year of 37. They have a chance to go to the top of the table and smack-dab in the middle of the Supporters Shield conversation. But more importantly a victory over RSL continues to grow the confidence of this young group. After the injuries, horrible start, a bad June, and now the win streak--this team is gelling and the rest of the MLS is asking the question: are the Rapids for real. Win this weekend, and that question is answered.