After a rollercoaster of a week that saw both heartbreak and jubilation, the Columbus Crew (8-9-6, 5th in the East) will head west to Commerce City to take on the Colorado Rapids (8-6-9, 10th in the West). This will mark the 47th all-time meeting, and the first match between the two clubs in over 3 years.
The Rapids took the last contest on May 25th, 2019, and hold a 20-13-13 record against Columbus. The Crew haven't won in Colorado since 2015 and have only amassed four wins ever in the Centennial State.
For Columbus, the march towards top 4 in the East continues on. After a bitterly disappointing end in the loss to Montreal, the boys in Black and Gold battled from behind to win a thriller against the defending MLS Cup champions, New York City. The connection and chemistry between Lucas Zelarayan and Cucho Hernandez has been undeniable.
Lucas was able to continue his reign of terror over NYCFC, with his brace bringing his scoring tally up to 6 all-time against the Pigeons. Cucho, after being kept off the scoresheet for the last two matches, broke free on a run and buried a beautiful feed from Luis Diaz early on.
Speaking of Luis Diaz, since the arrival of Cucho from Watford, the Costa Rican has looked far more confident with his runs and decision making. His pace is indisputable, but it has been the ability to find his teammates behind him recently that has added another element to his game. This was all evidenced by his two assist performance in last Saturday's win.
If The Crew wish to continue on in this pursuit of a home playoff match, they must do something they have failed to do so far in this campaign, and that is to win back-to-back matches. That will not be an easy feat however, as Colorado hold an impressive 7-3-2 record at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this season.
The Rapids have also been on a bit of a rollercoaster as of late, winning an astounding 5-4 match against the New York Red Bulls, and then surprising Minnesota United with a 4-3 win. That win against Minnesota was spearheaded by a man that Crew faithful know all too well. Gyasi Zardes, the former Crew striker and two-time MLS Cup champion, completed a hat trick in the 61st minute, with what ended up being the winner against the Loons.
Zardes has picked up some of his old form after making the move away from Columbus, tallying 6 goals in 15 appearances in Colorado. The move has ultimately benefited both sides, but I don't suspect that it will be all love on the pitch. After scoring already this season against his other former club, the LA Galaxy, don't be surprised if Gyasi tries to make history repeat itself against The Crew.
Columbus will need to be on form once again if they want to continue their success on the road. Colorado will be looking to claw their way into the playoff picture in the West with three points at home. The match between The Crew and the Rapids kicks off Saturday, August 13th at 9 PM EST.