The MLS Saturday night schedule includes an inter-conference clash between the Colorado Rapids and New York City FC. The Rapids are actually slight home underdogs at +186 compared to NYCFC at +125. Meanwhile, a draw is set at +259
The Rapids are currently struggling to remain in the playoff race. They are 11th in the Western Conference, nine points out of a playoff spot. They’ve managed to take five points from their last four league games, but it hasn’t made much of a difference in the standings. They need to start cranking out the wins if they expect to play in the postseason.
New York City, meanwhile, is clinging to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite losing the Hudson River Derby last weekend. The Blues currently have a two-point cushion for the seventh spot but are just two points out of fourth place, so a win this weekend could give them a little bit of a cushion. The bad news is that they’re winless in their last three league games.
Despite three straight games in all competitions without a win, NYCFC can feel good about some of their recent performances. A controversial call cost them a point last weekend in a game in which they had the run of play for long stretches against their biggest rival. The Pigeons can also feel good about Alex Callens being back to shore up their backline after being away on international duty. There are also whispers that Alexandru Mitriță could be back for Saturday’s game, even if the Romanian is only able to come off the bench.
Of course, with or without Mitriță, New York City should feel good about its chances of scoring against one of the worst defensive teams in MLS. The Rapids have conceded 40 goals in 20 games despite having U.S. legend Tim Howard in net. Maxi Rodriguez, who has six goals and 12 assists on the season, should be licking his chops at the thought of facing the porous Colorado backline. Rodriguez has four goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been in good form.
A Familiar Face
When NYCFC travels to Colorado, they will be facing a familiar face in Jonathan Lewis, who was traded from New York to the Rapids in May. Lewis is a key part of the Colorado attack who the Rapids missed badly while he was with the U.S. National Team during the Gold Cup. The good news is that Lewis is back and scored in his first match since returning from international duty. In fact, he’s scored in his last three appearances for Colorado.
Unfortunately, the Rapids have few other options on the attacking end. Jack Price, the team’s leader in assists this season, is doubtful to play Saturday because of a hip injury. Leading scorer Kei Kamara has also gone cold since April, scoring just once in his last nine appearances.
Things look bleak for the Rapids heading into this game. However, they have somehow lost just one game in their last nine league matches. Also, these teams have a history of playing to a draw, so expect Colorado to do just enough at home to get a point. Bet on a draw between the Rapids and NYCFC.