Last year when the Rapids home game of the series against the then-expansion - and bottom feeding - Philadelphia Union came up on September 29th, the high-flying Colorado Rapids flat out smoked them. The 4-1 win at home was the continuation of a brilliant season at home for Colorado and was an absolutely embarrassing game for the Union as such offensive powerhouses as Wells Thompson and Quincy Amarikwa were scoring goals along with an Omar Cummings brace.
Fast forward to a year later and the situation surrounding the Rapids v Union match in Commerce City is a bit different.
Colorado is still playing well at home this year just as they were last season - 2-1-3 so far on the year - but Philadelphia has turned into a fantastic squad, taking their team from last year and adding a couple of pieces like Fayrd Mondragon and Carlos Ruiz to become the team to beat in the Eastern Conference and a defensive powerhouse on top of that. Their offense was in question for most of the year as 1-0 finals seemed to be the norm every single week they played but a recent 6-2 explosion of offense in Toronto has left some people wondering if the Union have been reborn into the offensive madhouse that they showed the potential to be last season.
Carlos Ruiz will miss this game thanks to Gold Cup duties, which is good news for the Rapids as he leads the Union in goals scored this season with three. Colorado won't have anyone out for the Gold Cup - Tyrone Marshall will be skipping Jamaica duties to stick with the Rapids for at least this match - but still are missing a truckload of players due to injury. Marvell Wynne, Omar Cummings, Brian Mullan and Sanna Nyassi are all guaranteed to miss the match because of injury, suspension, international duties or what have you. Drew Moor may also not play the full 90 due to a hamstring issue. Jamie Smith is slated to come back, which would be a fantastic thing for a Rapids offense that has been lacking in fire and finishing ability since his departure a few games back.
Unfortunately, it looks like this game is a draw waiting to happen with both teams having been a bit happy on the low-scoring this season. Colorado is looking to set an MLS record by getting a draw today, as no other team in the history of MLS has ever drawn six straight games in a row. A draw or a win would give the Rapids an eight game unbeaten streak, six of the current seven games unbeaten have been single point affairs with only a single win, which took place one month to the day ago against the Houston Dynamo.
That's right, it's been a full month since we saw the Rapids come out with a result that didn't earn them a single point. Strange to think that six games into the year we hadn't seen a draw at all. Beating the Union would be a welcome change to the unfortunate tie-itis that Colorado has been facing lately, but I don't see it happening against such a strong defensive squad. Then again, I almost always get my predictions wrong here, so we'll probably see a true result either way. Just to spite me, y'know?
UZ'S PREDICTION - 1-1 Draw