Rapids face Orlando City without GK Howard
It was bad enough for the Colorado Rapids to lose a game to Real Salt Lake, but what made it worse is Colorado lost goalkeeper Tim Howard to a suspension.
Howard won't be on the pitch when the Rapids play host to Orlando City SC on Sunday afternoon at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The Lions (4-2-1) sit third in the Eastern Conference heading into weekend play in MLS, and it'll be an uphill climb for the Rapids without their top goalkeeper.
The Rapids' confidence is there despite the loss of Howard. He was sent off against Real Salt Lake when he handled a ball outside the box on a breakaway around the 20-minute mark.
The Rapids were still in a scoreless game when defender Tommy Smith was called for a handball in the box. Real Salt Lake cashed in on the penalty kick at 82 minutes and then added two late goals.
Colorado made several moves ahead of Sunday's match. Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, on loan to the Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League, was recalled and Rapids Academy goalkeeper Kainoa Likewise rejoined the Independence.
In addition, midfielder Sam Hamilton was loaned to the Colorado Rapids Switchbacks FC of the USL.
Colorado will also be without injured defenders Kortne Ford and Marlon Hairston. Defender Danny Wilson is questionable with an undisclosed injury.
The Rapids face a tough task in stopping the streaking Lions.
Orlando has won four straight matches after beginning the season 0-2-1, capped with a 3-2 win over San Jose last weekend. Forward Chris Mueller got the first goal for the Lions to extend his scoring streak to three straight games.
Mueller was named to the MLS team of the week after another strong performance.
Midfielder Yoshimar Yotun had two assists in the win, becoming the third player in club history to have two or more assists in at least two games.
Orlando has scored 12 goals in its four-match winning streak.
"We made a lot of changes in the offseason and it took a while for us to get used to each other, a few games to get into a rhythm," Lions striker Dom Dwyer told the MLS website. "We're hitting stride now and we're feeling confident. We're staying at the same level right now.
"We've got to continue to work hard, try and keep this run going and get a result in Colorado."
Despite not having Howard, beating the Rapids in Commerce City, Colo., will be tough. Colorado is unbeaten in seven straight MLS matches (4-0-3). Zac MacMath is expected to get the start in net for Colorado.
Still, it will be a challenge stopping the streaking Lions.
"It's another tough test, they're a good team, on a good run, they have some very good attacking players," Rapids coach Anthony Hudson told the MLS website. "We're clear about how they play and what they want to do, but nothing changes for us. The result on (April 21) hasn't dented any confidence."
Orlando will be without goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar (localized Ewing sarcoma), and defenders Scott Sutter (lower body) and Jonathan Spector (concussion).
Updated April 27, 2018