The Colorado Rapids play host to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night in a battle of two teams on the outside looking into the playoff picture of the Western Conference.
The Rapids (8-10-7, 31 points) find themselves only two points below the playoff line, while the Dynamo (7-14-4, 25 points) are a full eight points off playoff pace.
The Rapids, who are 7-2-4 at home in Commerce City, Colo., are on a short turnaround after falling on the road to the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 on Wednesday. They did get a goal from Gyasi Zardes in the 76th minute but could not draw even. It was Zardes' seventh goal since joining the team.
"It's obviously a really disappointing loss for us because goals that we conceded from individual mistakes just made it very difficult to come back from," Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said. "Having said that, we thought we were much better in the second half and created enough chances to win."
Colorado leading goal scorer Diego Rubio played the full 90 minutes against Vancouver but was not a threat. The Rapids have only won one game all season in which Rubio did not score, a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders on May 22.
If the Rapids want to get back above the playoff line, it starts with getting goals from Rubio. They've only lost three games all season in which Rubio has found the back of the net.
The road to the playoffs is harder for Houston, who are 3-9-0 away from home, and enter off a fourth-consecutive defeat: 3-2 last Saturday at home against CF Montreal. The Dynamo's Sebastian Ferreira scored in the 12th minute and Daniel Steres tied the game 2-2 in the 36th. But they surrendered the lead in the 69th minute.
"We're giving up too many goals, soft goals," Steres said. "It's not going to work in this league and this one's actually disappointing. The crowd was there for us again. It was all in front of us."
The Dynamo have only won three of the last 25 meetings against the Rapids and have won only once at Colorado dating back to August 2009. They've struggled to score goals in Colorado and are currently tied for second-to-last in the Western Conference with 31 goals on the season.
Ferreira's goal was his eighth of the season and ended a three-game streak without a score, all losses. He failed to register a shot in his previous two games.
--Field Level Media