There are so many storylines associated with the Philadelphia Union’s first road match Saturday against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Conor Casey’s return to Colorado is a natural angle. The weather conditions are expected to cold and nasty. The Union have never beaten the Rapids.
Breaking it down in basic terms, the Union simply need three points following a disappointing 3-1 season-opening loss to Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park. For most of that match, the Union were in control.
While numerous storylines are prevalent, the Union are looking at the next 90 minutes. Basic but true.
“It’s amazing that for 70 minutes of that game, we dictated in every area,” Union manager John Hackworth said of the opener. “But for 20-25 minutes, we were a different team on the field. And I don’t have an answer for that.
“All I can say is that we’re preaching consistency. If we can do it for that long against that quality of opponent, there’s no reason to ever let down.”
The Rapids dropped their opening match, 1-0 at FC Dallas.
On Saturday, expect to see two clubs vying for some crucial points.
“They had a rough start last weekend and they probably feel like they should have scored a couple goals,” Hackworth said, referring to the Rapids. “We’re both in the position of needing wins very badly in week two and that’s going to be really difficult. Two teams fighting to get back on the right side of the board.”
The Union should see a familiar face competing for the Rapids – former No. 1 overall pick Danny Mwanga.
Mwanga was recently acquired from the Portland Timbers and is expected to play, especially with a knee injury to Edson Buddle.
Download and print: Union-Rapids roster card
“I’m sure Danny Mwanga will be extremely motivated,” Hackworth said. “I know he hasn’t been in Colorado very long, but he has had a week to get settled. He’s one of those guys that we saw in our scouting report that could be on the field for them. It’ll be good to see him but I won’t talk friendly to him until after the game.”
This is only the meeting between these two clubs this season and the Union will be searching for their first victory in six career tries.
The Rapids are 3-0-2 all-time against Philadelphia.
When it comes time for this match, all records can be wiped away.
It’s a matter of executing for 90 minutes.
“We had control of the match against (Sporting Kansas City) and let it slip with a little mistake here and there,” said defender Ray Gaddis. “You can’t do that in this league. The talent is too good. We have to maintain it for the full 90 minutes. Going on the road is never easy. We’re going to a tough place to play.
“For us, we’re sticking together and we’re going to have to execute it for 90 minutes. I don’t know what else to say other than that.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at email@example.com