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May 10, 2024 9:42 pm

Rapids won’t overlook revenge-minded Earthquakes

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The Colorado Rapids will face the San Jose Earthquakes for the second time in less than a month on Saturday night in Commerce City, Colo.

Even though the Rapids (5-3-3, 18 points) won the first meeting 3-0 on the road, head coach Chris Armas said his squad won’t be taking the Earthquakes — last in Western Conference standings — lightly.

That’s because San Jose (2-8-1, 7 points), which has since added dynamic playmaking midfielder Hernan Lopez on a designated player contract, brings in a three-match unbeaten streak (2-0-1). Most recent was a 3-1 victory over Los Angeles FC last Saturday before a crowd of 43,774 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Rapids coach Chris Armas is also quick to point out that the final score in the first meeting on April 13 was a bit deceptive. San Jose finished with a 61.2 percent possession edge, outshot Colorado 24-13 and hit the crossbar twice in the second half. Zack Steffen was forced to make six saves for the first of his two clean sheets this season.

“I won’t have to convince our players that that’s a good team,” Armas said. “We went to their building and won the game (but) we could have been finished in the first half. In certain moments they were dangerous in transition, they hit the post a few times on the night. We get big credit for going there to get the result, but that’s a good team.”

“We did have a lot of shots and a lot of possession,” San Jose coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “But they were much more efficient than us and dangerous in that attacking third, and we paid the price (by) not defending in those moments and not putting away our chances. So, there’s not much I’m going to need to tell our guys.”

Colorado, fifth in the Western Conference, is 4-1-1 over its last six matches and comes in off a 2-0 win at New York City FC last Sunday. Brazilian striker Rafael Navarro, who had a brace in the first meeting with the Quakes, scored his team-leading fifth goal in the 16th minute and Cole Bassett sealed the win with a goal in the 86th minute.

San Jose, which is an MLS worst 0-5-1 on the road, hasn’t won at Colorado since 2013.

The Earthquakes followed up their big win over LAFC with a 1-0 victory over USL Championship side Oakland Roots SC on Tuesday in a Round of 32 match of the U.S. Open Cup. Ousseni Bouda scored the game-winner in the 76th minute.

–Field Level Media

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