Rapids-Orlando City Preview
Last season turned out to be one the Colorado Rapids would rather forget. It's still early, but 2019 hasn't left many positive memories yet either.
The Rapids try to avoid matching the franchise's longest season-opening stretch without a victory Saturday night with a visit to Orlando City.
Coming off an 8-19-7 record last season, Colorado made several changes in the offseason and brought in veterans Kei Kamara, Diego Rubio and Benny Feilhaber in an effort to boost an offense that scored a league-low 36 goals. Those changes have yet to pay dividends, with the Rapids (0-2-3) totaling six goals in five matches, even though the three newcomers have accounted for four of the six tallies.
After playing to draws in its first two home games, Colorado scored two own goals in a 4-1 loss to Houston on Saturday. Kamara netted his 114th MLS goal on a penalty kick in the 81st minute to tie Ante Razov for fifth place on the league's career list.
"It's an unbelievable achievement," Rapids coach Anthony Hudson said. "We're incredibly pleased and proud of him. I was pleased that he got a small reward for the work that he's been putting in."
Colorado hasn't opened a season without a win in six matches since starting 0-5-1 in 2003. Hudson's club will try to notch just its second road win in the past 13 games after going 1-6-3 in its final 10 away contests in 2018.
"For us to have a real chance at winning games we need to come from the first minute," midfielder Kellyn Acosta said. "We need to be sound defensively. In the midfield, we need to be connected both defensively and offensively, and in the offense we need to be more clinical in front of the goal."
Orlando City (1-2-2) is in no position to offer any sympathy with one victory and six total goals in its first five matches.
The Lions remained winless at home following a 2-1 defeat to D.C. United on Sunday despite Dom Dwyer scoring his team-leading third goal.
"Yeah, I mean we're upbeat. The group sees a lot of positives from tonight," Dwyer said. "We played very well, I think we had a lot of chances and we concede off two set pieces. That's just how it goes, you've got to defend them a little better, but there's a lot of positives to take (from) tonight."
While Orlando is still waiting for Nani to register his first goal of the season, the former Manchester United star has a team-high three assists.
"He's just getting started," Dwyer said. "He's still learning the league. It's very different, he's got a lot of quality. We see it every day in training. He's settling in, it's going to take a little bit of time, but we just got to have more games together – the whole group."
Orlando is 3-0-1 all-time against Colorado, including a 2-1 home victory on April 29. The Rapids have scored just one goal in those four meetings.
Colorado defender Tommy Smith won't be available after he received a red card for violent conduct in Saturday's loss. Hudson could move Deklan Wynne into his spot or give Kofi Opare his team debut.
Updated April 5, 2019