COLORADO (5-9-6) vs. NEW ENGLAND (10-4-6)
Thursday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
[MLS THURSDAY PREVIEW] The Rapids halted a 10-game winless streak by upending Houston, 1-0, last weekend courtesy of a Dwayne DeRosario own goal but need another result to strengthen its shaky playoff hopes. One-game suspensions to Herculez Gomez and Ugo Ihemelu won't help the cause and Colorado is still near the bottom of the goalscoring heap with just 17.
New England beat the Beckham-less Galaxy by the same score Sunday, cashing in on a defensive error through Taylor Twellman, who latched onto a scuffed clearance and touched the ball twice in tight space before drilling it left-footed into the net. His total of nine goals is more than half as many as Colorado, and he's played fewer games.
Without Gomez, the team's top scorer with just four goals, the Rapids may again have to rely on Nicolas Hernandez for some attacking punch. Little has been forthcoming from the Argentine this year after he scored seven goals and six assists last season; he's scored just one goal and assisted on another.
Hernandez netted twice last year when the Rapids beat the Revs, 3-2, at their old home, Invesco Field at Mile High, on the Fourth of July. Maybe he just doesn't like Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Despite the team's anemic goal total, midfielder Terry Cooke has somehow accumulated six assists and can usually be counted on for a few quality serves. Coach Fernando Clavijo has used Jovan Kirovski as a playmaking midfielder and though he has three goals he's yet to record an assist. Jacob Peterson, who scored four goals last season playing mostly in midfield, has been playing up front, where he played at Indiana, but he too has just one goal in 2007. When the attack has been in sync, which hasn't occurred often, the chances have been squandered. But more often the Rapids have lacked cohesion going forward.
Aside from a 3-0 loss to D.C. United two weeks ago, the Revs have been hard to score against and tough to stop the past six weeks. Pat Noonan scored in three straight games, Steve Ralston is just one assist away from hitting double-digits, and forward Adam Cristman is a threat whether he starts or comes off the bench.
New England's 5-2-2 road record includes wins at Dallas, Houston and New York. This task is no tougher.
This is the first meeting between the teams this season, they play again Sept. 29 at Gillette Stadium. If the Rapids don't win this one, by the time of the rematch they could be planning for next year. After playing the Revs, four of their next six are on the road.