COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids are perhaps peaking at exactly the right time.
Maybe there are still questions about the team’s away form – and they face another huge challenge this weekend against Rocky Mountain rivals Real Salt Lake – but there can be little doubt they are in awesome form at home right now.
The Rapids have won their last three home games by the same margin of 3-0 with wins over Houston, Chivas USA and New England.
Yes, these were teams in the lower halves of their conferences and who seem destined not to make the playoffs this year, but these were more than just solid performances. The Rapids took control of all three games and played some very nice soccer as well.
Perhaps indicative of the form the team is in was the way in which the opening two first-half goals against New England last weekend were constructed and taken.
Both goals essentially involved three players. The strike tandem of Omar Cummings and Conor Casey are typically in the discussion when it comes to talking about Rapids goals and they were indeed the scorers here.
But wide midfielder Jamie Smith played a crucial role in providing clinical passes, particularly for the first goal after just five minutes when his inch-perfect ball ran straight into Cummings’ path. The Jamaican made no mistake in slotting it past Matt Reis and the Rapids were on their way.
Rapids coach Gary Smith said there’s a growing confidence sweeping throughout his team and that’s certainly reflected in these three players.
“Jamie was instrumental in these goals,” coach Smith told MLSsoccer.com. “In a flash, you also see Omar’s growth in the game and then there is Conor’s confidence which has grown again and he is able to pick the right finish.”
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Colorado hammer New England 3-0
The latter would be a reference to Casey’s goal in the 35th minute, which the Rapids manager also said was one of the best goals he had seen during his time as Rapids head coach.
Smith was quick to praise all his team after the game on Saturday. He knows, though, that a peaking strike force backed up by some clinical and skilled offensive play from midfielders such as Jamie Smith will go a long way to securing at least a playoff position.
The Rapids are enjoying their soccer right now and will go into Saturday’s game against Salt Lake undaunted and confident they can take something from the game. What a nice statement it would make to break RSL’s dominance at home.