Big, big game tomorrow for the Colorado Rapids. Having played in an unforgettable epic last weekend, thoughts must turn now to MLS big guns, Houston. The Texans visit DSG Park tomorrow night for the second time this season having drawn 0-0 back in June. Gary Smith, head coach of the Rapids, acknowledged how tough this game will be. "We are up against the most efficient and most organized team in the league," he said after training today. There may be some weaknesses to probe, however. Houston have played four games away from home in the past two weeks and could be fatigued. They will also be without Bobby Boswell, a player whom Smith rates highly. "Maybe their rotation may give us some options up front," he said, adding that Houston's defensive depth was not their strongest point.
The Rapids will make just one change. Terry Cooke, rested because of persistent hamstring problems last week for the game against New York, will return to the starting line-up at the expense of Nick LaBrocca who will be on the bench. Smith admitted this was tough on LaBrocca who had a magnificent game against the Red Bulls. "Nick was fantastic," he said. "It's just that Terry will help the balance of the team more at home with his delivery." So, despite murmurings over some recent defensive lapses, the back five will be unchanged. Mike Petke is trying to shrug off an injury but will be fit for the game. Smith defended recent criticisms of mistakes by Cory Gibbs, one of which gifted the Red Bulls an equalizing goal last week. "The trouble is that people forget about all the good things and focus on the bad," he said. "Cory has come on so much in the past few weeks given all his injuries over the past two years." I have to say I agree with him. It does not make any real sense to make changes at this vital stage of the season when the team is unbeaten in four games and playing well together. Here's hoping for a packed crowd tomorrow night. Kick off is at 7.30pm. Together we rise, indeed.