Commerce City, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Crew will attempt to snap a four-game winless run on Friday when the club heads to Dick's Sporting Goods Park to take on the Colorado Rapids.
Following a dramatic 3-2 loss to Toronto FC on May 31, the Crew have drawn three straight matches, two of which came against Western Conference opposition.
Most recently, Columbus played to a scoreless home draw with FC Dallas in a match that was postponed one day due to an unfortunate injury sustained in the inclement weather leading up to the contest.
"I want to compliment both teams for hanging in there and still trying to play the game," Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said after the match. "The conditions were tough; they were saying it felt like a hundred degrees. This was a lot like some of the games we play in Brazil. So both teams, all the players on the field gave a great effort and that is a big deal. That is a compliment to them, to still come out after obviously the postponement last night and stick with it."
Columbus will come up against a Colorado side that has quietly climbed to second place in the Western Conference.
The Rapids, on 25 points, are 3-1-1 in their last five games and returned from the World Cup break to get a 2-0 home win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, handing the visitors just their third loss of the season.
"Today they found a way to shut that team out in the second half," Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said after the match. "You can't teach that. You don't work on that - you can talk tactics and techniques all you want, but on a given day, with emotions running high, (Vancouver) wanting to score a goal and wanting to get back in the game, the resiliency of the group and their ability to stick together, and work through those tough times, was tremendous today."
Colorado's defense has been stellar of late, keeping three clean sheets over its last four games. And with the Rapids taking on a Columbus side that has failed to score in its last two outings, another shutout may be on the cards Friday.
"Just communication along the back line, asking the same from each other as we did tonight," said defender Shane O'Neill with regard to Colorado's defensive approach. "In the last 15 minutes, we were all just fighting for each other. I think if we do that, first half it's all about controlling the game, setting the tempo, possessing. Second half you just have to grind it out. As playoffs approach, these games get tight and the defense has to step up."