The Colorado Rapids are having a really good week. With victories over Montreal Impact and Houston Dynamo the Rapids improve their record against the Eastern Conference to 3 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss. Play against the Western Conference is another story. The Rapids are average versus the West, with a loss against Chivas USA and a draw against offensively anemic San Jose Earthquakes. The Rapids should be higher in the Western Conference Table. But unless the Rapids improve their results against the rest of the Western Conference, they might be on the outside looking in at the playoff picture at the end of the season.
Wednesday nights game against the Chicago Fire will feature the other opponent to the Montreal Impact for the first pick of next years MLS Superdraft. Hopefully the Rapids will take care of business with a line-up eyed towards having the important players rested for this weekends clash against many former Rapids coaches and players that represent FC Dallas. This weekends grudge match is more important in my mind. Especially the way that Chivas USA's Wilmer Cabrera and company left Commerce City with 3 points and their heads held high. Houston will have the same feelings if they leave with a point on the road from a mid-week game.
The last time the Rapids played Chicago was in a mid-week game when Oscar Pareja was suspended for an after game scuffle with San Jose manager Mark Watson. It ended up a loss in Chicago before the Rapids played their worst game of the season for a 3-0 loss in Portland. The only good victory this season against the West was in Vancouver with Jose Mari scoring a brace and maybe a goal of the season. After that the only matches against the current playoff teams in the West have been losses. This is another reason why the Dallas game is so important this weekend. The Rapids can beat every team in the East and accumulate points, but it amounts to nothing if we can't beat the Western Conference. That's why I'm cautiously optimistic about the recent form of the Rapids.
-Playing without Vicente Sanchez hasn't been a problem for the last week. If he can somehow play on Saturday in Dallas it might be a difference maker. If not Saturday, maybe the U.S. Open Cup game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on June 17th. The Rapids finally having a Open Cup home game during the World Cup break will be a blessing in disguise as the Rapids will have a fully rested squad for this match. Getting Sanchez some playing time will be good for the second half of the season. The benefit of a Rapids win against future MLS side Orlando will guarantee another home game in the next round of the fight for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Trophy. So for all the people that say the Rapids don't care about anything other then the MLS regular season, this is a perfect opportunity to make a deep run in this tournament.