The Union is now cruising down the home stretch of the season. Their gaze now turns to a home match against Colorado this weekend. Before we get to the preview let’s look at last week as the team play their 26th and 27th games of the season which had different results.
Union vs Rapids Preview
The midweek game had the team traveling to Frisco to take on FC Dallas in a steamy affair. The team came away with a 1-0 loss in a game that saw the Union control the second half but not be able to put the ball in the back of the net. The weekend saw the team travel to DC where they once again laid the smackdown on DC United.
This time, the score line was only 6-0 but it still saw Julian Carranza pick up a hat trick to get to twelve goals on the season. Mikael Uhre picked up another goal to get to nine on the season and Daniel Gazdag was able to convert the PK to take his total up to thirteen. Cory Burke also got on the scoresheet, bringing his goal-scoring total to six to this point in the season.
After a two-game road trip, the team comes back home for a two-game homestand. The homestand starts off this Saturday as the team welcomes the Colorado Rapids to Subaru Park. It has been a while since the Rapids have come to Chester or that the teams have played in general. The Union were supposed to take on the Rapids in Colorado in 2020 but did not due to the pandemic taking out the middle chunk of the season. Let us see how Colorado is doing this season, who their player to watch out for is and what the prediction for the score line will be for this upcoming match.
2022 MLS Season
After the 2021 season which saw them almost make the MLS cup final, the Colorado Rapids had some big expectations coming into this season to see if they could repeat that form or if last season was just a blip. Boy has this season been much different than last season for sure. For starters, the team has traded away one of their biggest players, Kellyn Acosta for Mark Anthony Kaye. Then, during this season, the team trades away Kaye to Toronto. The team has also lost Auston Trusty to Arsenal at the midway point of this season, but that deal had been agreed upon early in the season.
The results have also not been too kind to Robin Fraser’s side. They have struggled to put together a true run of solid games. To this point in the season, through twenty-six games, the Rapids have accumulated a record of 8-10-8 for eight wins, ten losses and eight draws. The team is coming into this game on the back of two draws in their last three games and a record of 2-1-2 in their last five games. Calling this season a bit chaotic for the Rapids would be a bit of an understatement.
The player to watch out for is one that has fallen off most fan’s radar in the past few years after his move away from SKC. This player would be none other than striker Diego Rubio. The Chilean is having one of his most productive seasons in the MLS to date. Through twenty-three games played, he has accumulated a scoring record of twelve goals and six assists, which is a MLS career high for goals and tied for his career high in assists. It is fair to say that he is having one of the best seasons of his career on a team that is struggling for consistency.
The biggest asset that he provides to this team is his ability to pop up anywhere to demand the ball. He will fire the ball from anywhere and crash the box if need be. He has played at times in a two-striker system this season with in season acquisition Gyasi Zardes. The tandem has not always worked out but has started to find a bit of confidence and consistency. It will be interesting to see how the Union attempt to defend him. I certainly think he will need to be tightly marked and the communication between El Brujo and the backline will be vital in stopping the Chilean from truly getting going.
The Union are coming into this game feeling good after a solid result against DC United. The team is starting to truly get the most out of the front three with Gazdag and Carranza both in double digit goals while Uhre is only one away from joining them in the double-digit club. The team has never had more than one double-digit goal scorer in MLS play, let alone the possibility of three in one season.
I do not see any reason why this front three cannot continue their impressive season against the Rapids. In terms of lineup changes, I am not sure that Curtin will make any changes from the DC lineup which did so well in breaking down that defense and creating a number of chances going forward. I see the Union coming away from this game with a 3-1 victory. Game time on Saturday is 7:30 pm.
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Mandatory Credit: Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire