Commerce City, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Rapids have gotten off to a good start under new manager Pablo Mastroeni and the team will attempt to continue those positive feelings when Sporting Kansas City invades Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday.
After a 1-1 draw in their first match under Mastroeni, the Rapids claimed a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers in their home opener, and will be eyeing another three points at home against Sporting.
All three of Colorado's goals this season have come from penalty kicks with Vicente Sanchez converting two of them while Deshorn Brown scored from his own miss on the rebound.
Against the Timbers last weekend the Rapids had to wait until the 71st minute to break the scoreless deadlock when Brown was brought down by Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts inside the penalty area.
The foul earned Ricketts a red card and allowed Sanchez to fire home the spot kick that put Colorado in front, turning the game on its head.
Andrew Weber came on in place of Ricketts, but he too gave away a penalty kick just two minutes later when he tripped Sanchez.
Weber was able to save Brown's penalty kick, but the Jamaican followed up and scored on the rebound, putting the game beyond reach.
Mastroeni was known as a defensive-minded midfielder during his playing days, but his philosophy is much different now that he is coaching.
"Every game is different, every situation is different. But for me, nine times out of 10, I'm making offensive substitutions, because I want to win the game," Mastroeni said after Saturday's 2-0 win. "I don't want to lose. And when you make a defensive sub, teams feel that, your team feels that, you start dropping off, they start coming on. Before you know it, you're in the penalty box, somebody touches somebody, [and] it's a penalty kick. That's how a negative substitution always ends up happening."
Colorado will hope to continue its positive play against a Sporting side that recorded its first win of the campaign last time out in a 1-0 triumph over San Jose.
The defending MLS Cup champions got off to a slow start with only one point from the first two games, but a 1-0 win over San Jose last time out has head coach Peter Vermes feeling better about things ahead of Saturday's visit to Colorado.
"We've always said that the league play is the foundation to everything that we do and for us to make sure that we continue to get better," Vermes said. "Even though we lost our first game, the second one we tied and now we've won. It's a good progression for us to keep going with some confidence. Now we go on the road against a team that's doing pretty well right now in Colorado."
Sporting was dismissed by Mexican side Cruz Azul, 5-2, on aggregate in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League prior to the San Jose match. However, Vermes saw his team tighten things up at the back as the Earthquakes managed just one shot on goal to give goalkeeper Eric Kronberg a fairly easy night in the Kansas City net.
Dom Dwyer's 57th-minute goal provided the difference for Sporting, which has yet to score more than one goal in any of its five games in all competitions so far this year.
Sporting will also try to extend its unbeaten run against the Rapids to eight games with Kansas City's last loss to Colorado coming in March 2009.