MLS Talking Points: Positives for Rapids and Union

At Memorial Day, more than one-third into the 2016 MLS regular season, the Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Union lead their respective conferences. Who had money on that? After their 1-1 tie on Saturday night left their teams with one-point leads, both coaches, Pablo Mastroeni and Jim Curtin, could take something positive from the game.

After the Rapids went ahead on Sam Cronin's goal in the 87th minute, the Union came back to equalize in stoppage time. The draw ended the Rapids' string of six straight wins at home to start the season but didn't dent Mastroeni's confidence.

"Myself and everyone in [the locker room] believe that we're going to win every game," he said. "I don't know if that's a good or bad thing."

With first-year players Jermaine Jones (with the USA for the Copa Centenario) and Shkelzen Gashi (on Albania's short list for Euro 2016) both unavailable, Dillon Powers, the 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year, and Dillon Serna, who has played with the U.S. U-20s and U-23s, got rare starts.

“Everyone needs to play,” Mastroeni said. “There’s no guarantee that if those guys were available that we’d win that game. You’ve got to go out and win it with the players that you have."

The Colorado game was a big test of how the Union would fare in two road games in four days -- one in Orlando City, the other in Colorado -- and it rallied for draws in both games, extending its unbeaten streak to seven games, two short of the Rapids' active streak.

“I’m happy for the resilience my group showed,” he said. “It’s difficult going on the road to Orlando on turf in the heat and coming [to Colorado] in the altitude. To get points in both places, it showed a lot of character and grit. We were in it for the full 90 minutes so I’m proud of them in that regard.”

Georgetown draft picks Keegan Rosenberry and Joshua Yaro have gotten a lot of attention for their work on the backline, but their third first-round pick, German Fabian Herbers, came off the bench to assist on Carroll's tying goal.

“He’s a good young player,” Curtin said of the first-round draft pick out of Creighton. “He comes in and leaves an impact on the game right away. It’s not an easy game for a rookie to go into."
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