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Colorado Rapids vs. Columbus Crew - Game Preview

COLUMBUS, OH - JUNE 26:  Emmanuel Ekpo #17 of the Columbus Crew defrends against Ian Joyce #17 of the Colorado Rapids on June 26, 2011 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Colorado 4-1.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - JUNE 26: Emmanuel Ekpo #17 of the Columbus Crew defrends against Ian Joyce #17 of the Colorado Rapids on June 26, 2011 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Colorado 4-1. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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This should be an interesting game on a few levels. Columbus came into the season looking to be a bottom feeder and have managed to claw their way to first place in the Eastern conference - of course, a team of dead fish caught in nets could probably win first place in the MLS Eastern conference so take that as you will - while the defending MLS Cup champion Rapids have been battling injury problems all season en route to a comfortable spot juggling between 4th and 5th place in the Western conference. Through all that, both of these teams have 34 points.

Both teams are also coming off of huge road wins right now. Colorado defeated the Philadelphia Union to give Philly their only home loss of the season 2-1 thanks to a great performance by Matt Pickens. Columbus completed a season sweep of Real Salt Lake on the other side of things, storming into Rio Tinto and scoring two quick goals to shell shock RSL into a 2-0 loss in mid-week.

Columbus has been better at home than on the road this season while Colorado has been better on the road than at home somehow in some bizzare switch of reality. Last time these two teams met, Colorado had their worst loss of the season as they were quickly sent to 10 men and looked ineffective as they lost 4-1 at Crew Stadium. Recently Colorado has been strangely proficient at beating Columbus 1-0 at home, with the last two games against Columbus at DSGP ending with that scoreline, including a playoff game last season.

Macoumba Kandji has a very good shot of seeing some playing time this game, so keep an eye open for that. It's likely that since the team is well rested we will see the Sanna Nyassi - Omar Cummings duo that has recently looked so dangerous up top starting together once again. This is probably the Rapids best shot to turn that little bit of home form they've had into an all-out streak at home so three points here will be vital.

UZ'S PREDICTION: 1-0 Rapids