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Houston vs. Colorado Preview | MLS Soccer Free Pick

MLS Soccer Predictions – Houston Dynamo vs Colorado Rapids

The Houston Dynamo will look to continue its success on the road by snatching a second consecutive win at the Dick, against a struggling host Colorado Rapids in an inter-conference Independence Day extravaganza on ESPN2 on Sunday night.

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Date/Time: Sunday, July 3, 2011 at 9:00 PM
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado
Broadcast: ESPN2
Houston Dynamo v Colorado Rapids Betting Lines
Money Line: Houston +275, Colorado -110, Draw +225
Spread: OFF
Over/Under: 2 ½

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Houston fought its way back to grab a big road point last weekend in a 2-2 draw at D.C. United on Brian Ching’s header in the 89th minute.

It was Ching’s first start since April 2.

United led just 31 minutes into the match before midfielder Brad Davis stepped up and converted a penalty kick in the 41st minute that was awarded after DC keeper Bill Hamid dove in tripping the speedy Ching, just inside the penalty area.

D.C. regained the lead again in the 73rd minute.

After the draw, the Dynamo now have registered 19 points from 17 games on the season, sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. However, the point came with a price as Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear was forced to make a change when Davis, who leads the team with seven assists, went off at halftime after re-aggravating a groin injury suffered late in the week in training.

The Dynamo did however receive a boost on the back line as defender Jermaine Taylor returned from Gold Cup duty with Jamaica and partnered Andre Hainault in central defense, while Kofi Sarkodie made his third start of the season.

Meanwhile, after a club-record nine-game undefeated streak, the Rapids are coming off a second successive heavy defeat, falling 4-1 at the Columbus Crew on Sunday evening at Crew Stadium. Colorado has now conceded seven goals in that time, while they allowed just seven total in their unbeaten run.

Trailing 1-0 after Colorado took the lead in the fifth minute on Conor Casey’s perfect snap header from Jamie Smith’s corner kick. The Crew then scored two unanswered goals after Casey was sent off for running into Crew keeper William Hesmer in the 29th minute, from Scot Palguta and Andres Mendoza to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room at the break.

Taking full advantage of being a man up, Columbus blew the game wide open when Mendoza competed his brace just two minutes into the second half, before Tommy Heinemann chipped home a weak bounce shot that goalkeeper Matt Pickens could only get a piece of before it trickled in over the line. [ad-3678122]

The loss dropped Colorado to fifth place in the Western Conference. However, having taken 22 points from 17 games, the Rapids have played well for the better part of the season. But sloppy play as of late, and being down a man for two consecutive matches, has stifled Colorado’s chances at narrowing the gap between them and Western Conference leaders, Los Angeles.

Casey, who leads the side after scoring his fourth goal in the last five games, will be suspended for the Houston match. But forward Caleb Folan, who was shown a red card in the side’s match against the Galaxy on June 18, will return to the lineup, as well as Brian Mullan who completed his 10-game suspension following the injury to Seattle winger Steve Zakuani back on April 22.

While the Rapids fell to .500 on the road (3-3-3), they also have a .500 record in Commerce City (2-2-4), but have lost just twice all-time while hosting their Independence Day extravaganza.

The Dynamo lead the all-time series with seven wins and three draws, in 14 meetings, including a 2-1 win on May 4 at Robertson Stadium in their first meeting of the year.

Matt’s Free Prediction: Houston– The Dynamo haven’t won on three of their last four trips to Colorado, but with Ching back in the starting XI and Casey pacing the sidelines, you can expect Houston to win a scrappy one, coming out on top.

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