Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser has told his players to be fully prepared for another challenging week that begins with a trip to Houston Dynamo.
The Rapids have climbed up to fourth in the Western Conference standings thanks to a run of one loss in their last seven matches.
Fraser’s men now face two road games in a matter of days – against Houston and LA Galaxy – before hosting Real Salt Lake next weekend.
Saturday’s opponents Dynamo are on a club-record run of 11 games without a win, but Fraser is not expecting anything other than a tough contest at BBVA Stadium.
“It’s just another really challenging start of a challenging week for us with Houston in Houston, LA Galaxy in LA and finishing with Real Salt Lake at home,” Fraser said.
“In spite of Houston’s record, they certainly have a number of talented players and they’re a good team.
“They haven’t gotten the results to go their way over the last several weeks but doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re a really good team with talent in a number of spots.
“For us, we obviously need to deal with them, deal with the conditions and be as sharp as we can and be as ready as we can.”
Houston may be languishing two points off the foot of the division, but they are unbeaten in seven games on home soil this term, drawing the last three of those.
After losing back-to-back games on their travels at the hands of Austin FC and Minnesota United, Tab Ramos will be seeking a return to winning ways at long last this weekend.
“I can’t say I feel good about this run,” Ramos said. “It’s about results and right now we are not getting them.
“The Minnesota result was a tough one to take. We gave up a bad goal and were swimming upstream, but we played quite well after getting over the first 15 or 20 minutes.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Houston Dynamo – Maxi Urruti
Having missed the Dynamo’s last three matches because of coronavirus protocols, Urruti has a chance of featuring against the Rapids. Urruti’s presence will make a big difference, with the 30-year-old boasting a credible six goals in 15 MLS outings this season.
Colorado Rapids – Mark-Anthony Kaye
Recently-acquired midfielder Kaye was handed his Rapids debut in the goalless draw with Sporting Kansas City last time out and impressed in his 90-minute appearance. The former Los Angeles FC midfielder played double the number of key passes (four) than anyone on the pitch and earned a place as a back-up in the MLS Team of the Week.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Rapids have won their last two matches against Houston, including a 3-1 victory at home on May 15. Colorado have never won three consecutive matches against Houston in MLS play (34 matches, including playoffs).
– The Dynamo have set a club record by going 11 straight matches without a victory (D7 L4) following a 2-0 loss at Minnesota United. That is tied for the second longest winless run in MLS this season, with only Atlanta United (12 straight from May-August) going longer without a win this season.
– The Rapids have kept eight clean sheets in 16 matches this season, including in each of their last two, tied with Nashville for the most in MLS. Colorado had kept just seven clean sheets in their previous 35 matches (including playoffs) dating back to July 2019.
– The Dynamo are last in MLS in both possession (42.8 per cent) and passes per match (353.7) this season. Houston have won the possession battle and MLS-low three times this season, though they did not win any of those matches (D1 L2).
– Diego Rubio, who scored the Rapids’ second goal in the 3-1 win over Houston in May, has scored six times against the Dynamo in his MLS career, more than he has scored against any other team.