After a slow start, the Colorado Rapids appear to have righted the ship and will go for their third straight victory on Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Colorado struggled through the first month of the season, going 0-3-2 through their first five matches this campaign. But a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake on April 6 gave the Rapids their first victory and they have won four of their last six matches to rise to fourth place in the Western Conference with 15 points.
Last time out, the Rapids earned a hard-fought 2-0 victory against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. The visitors opened the scoring after just eight minutes when Edson Buddle took a lay-off pass from Atiba Harris, brought the ball down in the middle of the area and fired it past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
Colorado hit for a second in the 69th minute resulting from a free kick in the right corner as the restart pinged out to the top of the box, where Dillon Powers struck the ball low and hard back toward goal which took a dramatic ricochet off defender Josh Williams that left Gruenebaum wrong footed for the 2-0 advantage.
"The boys were very disciplined. We were very concentrated on the job. Defensively was a huge performance. Solid. I saw the team growing a lot," said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. "Now we managed the game very well. We took advantage of the opportunities we had. And we played against a good team as well. So everything came well for us."
San Jose, meanwhile, is coming off a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the Seattle Sounders, their worst defeat since falling to Real Salt Lake by the same score on July 23, 2011.
While the 'Quakes lost for just the first time since a 1-0 setback against the Portland Timbers on April 14, they also have won just once in their last eight outings.
It's been a far cry from last year's version of the Quakes, but goalkeeper Jon Busch believes that a little adversity is good for the team.
"To be honest, this is a good test for us. Adversity is a great thing. You find out the strength of a man through adversity, not when things are good, when things are tough. And that's where we are right now. We're going to be fine. We've just got to tighten some things up."
In 51 all-time meetings between the sides, San Jose has claimed 24 wins, Colorado has 18 and the clubs have drawn nine times. Last season, San Jose won all three meetings, including a 4-1 triumph at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Oct. 6. The visiting team has also won three of the last five matches in this series.