Chivas USA isn't exactly a giant in the world of MLS, and they never really have been. Still, at home in the Home Depot Center you know there will be a bunch of Chivas fans rocking it every week and the Rapids road record has never been a thing of beauty; even last year when they won the cup they got to the playoffs mostly on account of a great record at home than anything resembling road dominance. The Rapids may be the better team, but as we all know, anything can happen in football and the Rapids will have to be mindful of a few things.
Here's my three keys to beating Chivas USA today.
Keep Streaks In Mind - Colorado knows how to beat Chivas USA. They have done it many times, with the overall all time match-up between the two sides being 8-4-5 in the Rapids favor. The Rapids have also not lost to Chivas at home or away since 2009 and won the two games against the Goats last year by a combined 4-0 aggregate. The team knows how to defeat Chivas and they should keep what they know in mind as they start this one.
Attack From The Outset - Omar Cummings is a very important part of this Colorado Rapids squad, and he will not be playing today because of a call up from the Jamaican national team. Conor Casey is also potentially going to miss the game because of injury, although that's not been confirmed. Chivas has a pretty good goalkeeper in Zach Thornton and a defense that's not nearly as bad as what we saw last week against the Portland Timbers, so if the Rapids don't start out the game strong with their Cummings-less attack, there's a chance that the Goats will get suited to the attack and in a rhythm. Even if the two men starting are Caleb Folan and Quincey Amarikwa, they have to stay constantly on the offensive to try and sneak in a first half goal or two. The defense should be good enough to hold the fort on the other end.
No Trap Games - No matter how good the Rapids looked at home against Portland, the fact still stands that Colorado has always been pretty terrible on the road in their 15 years of football. When a 4-6-5 record - their road mark last season - is the second best in franchise history, you know that you have some work to do away from altitude. Chivas is an easily beatable opponent, even with their new look version. This could easily be a trap game if the Rapids - especially thinned out of Cummings, Sanna Nyassi and perhaps Casey - come out with any weaknesses. This isn't a super-star filled squad like the New York Red Bulls, the strength of this squad lies in the fact that they are tight-knit and play their game to perfection. Any weakness shown will be exploited by Chivas and away from home we know that could spell disaster for Colorado.