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Three things to watch for against Colorado Rapids: Absences, rivalries, and speed

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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

Last week, we watched for ...

Will we finally win in Houston?

Ha! The answer: Yes. Resoundingly yes. A million times, yes. Let’s celebrate.

Will we defend set pieces properly?

I mean, yeah, I guess so — we weren’t too bad on them. We could have been better, obviously, and not conceded from a corner once again, but it’s easy to not complain about that too much.

Do we give our World Cup departures a proper send off?

We could have won 7-2, I guess, but that’s a pretty fantastic sendoff for Alvaro Saborio, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando.

This week, let's watch for …

Do we start on the right foot without a valuable trio?

Everybody knows — especially us — that we’re going to be missing the trio described above. While we know we can succeed without them (we’ve done it before and we’ll do it again, mark my word), we have to prove that. Saturday is a perfect opportunity for that.

Can we vanquish our rivals?

Let’s be clear about this one: Colorado Rapids haven’t been great. In fact, I’d argue they haven’t been good. Vanquishing them is about a lot more than just their current form, though. They have 15 points from 10 games, which isn’t exactly bad, but they’ve only won once in their last five games. Again: That doesn’t matter. They’ll be prepared for this. We, as fans, might consider them not much an on-the-field rival right now, but they won’t feel the same way about us — and our squad surely doesn’t feel the same way about them.

So the question — can we vanquish those folks? — remains to be seen, but it won’t be so simple as form.

Can we continue to deal with speed?

I hope so. Colorado Rapids have a fast, young crew on deck, and we’ll have to be especially aware defensively in dealing with them. What they lack in finesse, they make up for in potential. We don’t have to be scared, but we do need to be aware.