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Rapids-Chivas USA Preview

AP - Sports

Having been eliminated from playoff contention, the Colorado Rapids and Chivas USA are both looking to finish strong and carry some momentum into next season.

The Rapids would appear to have a better shot at doing so given their history with the Western Conference's worst team.

Unbeaten in the last seven meetings, road-challenged Colorado tries to extend Chivas' longest winless stretch in club history to 13 games Saturday night.

In their final game before World Cup qualifying, the Rapids (9-19-4) fell 4-1 to San Jose on Oct. 6 to set a single-season franchise record for losses.

"It's very disappointing," midfielder Brian Mullan told the league's official website. "It's one of those seasons where things just don't fall into place. Everybody was giving it their all, and you get a couple of bounces one way or the other and you start on a roll, and things usually happen, but they didn't happen for us this year."

In addition to playing without Mullan, who underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Thursday, Colorado won't have Conor Casey. The club's all-time leading scorer with 50 goals is unavailable in its final two matches due to various injuries.

While those absences could prove costly for a Rapids team that's been outscored 21-7 during an 0-9-1 road skid, coach Oscar Pareja is looking forward to getting some of his younger players on the field.

"For me, this is great timing to see the guys that I need to see, like a (defender) Chris Klute, see a (defender) Tyson (Wahl), see how the other guys are developing," Pareja said.

Colorado has had its way with Chivas of late, outscoring it 16-3 during a 5-0-2 run in the series. The Rapids have also gone 4-1-0 over their last five road matches against Chivas, including 1-0 wins in 2010 and '11.

"Although both teams are out of the playoffs, it's still an important match in the fact that guys are playing for jobs next year and guys are playing for pride," Chivas defender James Riley said. "We know that the foot print and the foundation for next year begins with these last two games. Obviously we want to end on a good note to send us off into the offseason break and be ready for a great year next year."

Chivas (7-17-8), which has been outscored 33-8 during an 0-9-3 skid, avoided what would have been a franchise-record eighth consecutive loss Oct. 7, playing to a 1-all draw against FC Dallas. Jorge Villafana scored in the 69th minute to prevent a sixth consecutive shutout.

"For us, (Saturday is) another game that's there with an opportunity to win," coach Robin Fraser said. "Regardless of where you are in the standings and what's going on, it's about winning - if you're a competitor then certainly everything you compete in you want to win in.

"We felt like we were coming off a good (second) half in our last home game and we want to be able to continue that and give our fans something to be proud of."

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