The Rapids try to strengthen their grip on a playoff spot in a midweek clash with the Union.
Philadelphia Union, by Keith Hickey: He’s becoming a fixture in this section, but that’s just demonstrating the extraordinary year he’s had for Philadelphia. Sebastien Le Toux has gone, in one year, from being a backup and squad player in Seattle to being the undisputed star in Philadelphia, and is among the league elite in every offensive category. After an extended rest, Alejandro Moreno shrugged off his troubles with fitness and form, putting in an excellent shift in the Union’s demolition of Chivas USA, picking up his second goal of the year with a powerful first-half header. Brad Knighton recorded his second clean sheet in three games, and has allowed just a single goal in 292 minutes.
Colorado Rapids, by Thomas Kelly: The Rapids have to take some positives from their disappointing draw last week in Utah. They played well away from home even without one of their star strikers, Omar Cummings. Connor Casey continued his fine scoring ways and has been one of the most important players for Colorado this season. The Rapids need every point they can get with the playoffs around the corner and they have been unstoppable at home this year.
Philadelphia: For most of the season, fist overall pick Danny Mwanga was everyone’s runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year. But Mwanga hasn’t scored since August 14th, an agonizing 405 minutes without a goal. If he doesn’t find his shooting boots soon, D.C. wunderkind Andy Najar could make the race for the rookie award interesting.
Colorado: Focus is the one of the most important factors for Colorado right now. They played a fantastic first half last week creating chances and scoring a goal right before halftime. It was a different team in the second half though. They seemed to allow Real Salt Lake to take control of the game even though the Rapids had momentum. If Colorado lose focus at home on Wednesday they could easily go a goal or two down to Philadelphia.
Philadelphia: Danny Mwanga is listed as questionable, meaning that with just three days rest, Alejandro Moreno might be partnered by Sebastien Le Toux. With Le Toux moved forward, Justin Mapp and Andrew Jacobson would be the likeliest choices on the wings, with Fred, who scored last game against Chivas USA, in the middle alongside Stefani Miglioranzi. A backline of Jordan Harvey, Danny Califf, Juan Diego Gonzalez, and Sheanon Williams is likely, while Brad Knighton is a lock to start in goal.
Colorado: Hopefully Omar Cummings will be fit for Wednesday night after missing last week's game to an ankle injury. Seeing as he is such an important player and works so well with Connor Casey up top, the Rapids need him healthy to create scoring chances. If Cummings can't play, new signing Macoumba Kandji needs to start having an influence in the Rapids attack and support Casey up top with good distribution.
Philadelphia: The altitude of Commerce City and the short period between matches are difficulties the Union will have to overcome. In Philly’s favor, however, is their wonderful run of form at the moment. The league’s newest team has given up just one goal in its last three matches, and is coming off its biggest victory in club history.
Colorado: It's important that Colorado doesn't let last week's draw carry over into the game with Philadelphia. Giving up a late goal like that can really effect a team's mentality. Motivation could be the determining factor in this game and if the Rapids come out flat and allow Philadelphia to control possession and tempo it could be a long night. The last time these two teams met in Philadelphia they played to a 1-1 draw.
Philadelphia: There’s a big part of me that wants to call for a Union win and see the underdogs go for the improbable, but on short rest and under pressure against a Rapids side that needs a win, I can’t see anything better for Philadelphia than a draw. 1-1, and the Union’s slim playoff hopes crumble in the Rocky Mountain air.
Colorado: It's hard to believe that Colorado will lose to Philadelphia at home but anything is possible. I think they will be so motivated after knowing they should have beaten Real Salt Lake last week away from home that they will come out hungry for a win this week. Also taking into consideration Colorado's unbeaten record at home, I see a 2-0 victory.
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