MLS: Rapids face CF Montreal, seek third straight win

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The Colorado Rapids have found ways to be productive on the offensive end. Maintaining some good defense could lead to more rewards.

The Rapids face visiting CF Montreal on Saturday night in Commerce City, Colo.

In three of its past six matches, Colorado (8-7-4, 28 points) has tallied three goals.

Djordje Mihailovic scored three of his eight goals this season in the Rapids’ 3-0 victory at St. Louis City on Wednesday. Mihailovic picked up his first MLS hat trick and Colorado secured its second consecutive clean sheet.

“Another clean sheet, two in a row,” Mihailovic said. “That’s probably what I’m most proud of from (that) game. We continue to grow as a defensive team.”

Montreal (4-7-7, 19 points) is riding a five-match unbeaten streak after its 2-2 home draw against New York Red Bulls on Wednesday. But the team’s record is only 1-0-4 during that stretch.

Montreal jumped out to a 2-0 lead Wednesday but couldn’t hold on, which should have the team’s attention.

“I think it’s something that will motivate the whole group,” midfielder Nathan Saliba said. “I saw it in the guys’ eyes. It’ll motivate us for Saturday.”

The lack of consistency has caused concerns for Montreal as it struggles to make headway in the standings.

“If we don’t have all these self-critical standards within us and the requirement of a top-level athlete to be more ambitious, it’s a shame,” Montreal coach Laurent Courtois said. “If we had that kind of attitude all the time, we’d be in a different place in the standings.”

Montreal forward Kwadwo Opoku scored in his first match back from an injury Wednesday.

“I’m just coming back,” Opoku said. “My cardio isn’t at the highest level yet. It was tough to play in the heat. We have to work on how we defend to protect our lead.”

Montreal will be without defender Joaquin Sosa, who’ll serve a suspension for accumulation of yellow cards.

Certainly, the Rapids will look to exploit Montreal’s defense, particularly if Mihailovic stays in his grove.

“He’s heading up,” Colorado coach Chris Armas said. “He’s helping our offense get going.”

Seeking a third victory in an eight-night stretch, Armas said there could be lineup adjustments because of the recent workload.

–Field Level Media

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