The Colorado Rapids aim to continue their stunning turnaround from a disastrous start to the season when they host the New England Revolution on Thursday in Commerce City, Colo.
The Rapids (5-9-4, 19 points) have answered a franchise-worst 0-9-2 start to the season by allowing just six goals during a seven-match unbeaten streak (5-0-2).
"I think we've been on people's radars now since the recent results, but I still think we have to keep the same (underdog) mentality, because that's what gotten us points and results," 17-year-old midfielder Cole Bassett said. "We've got to stick to that if we want to get to the playoffs."
Colorado continued to trend in that direction as defender Danny Wilson's header in the 49th minute powered the club to a 1-0 win over MLS-leading Los Angeles FC on Friday.
"It was a gritty professional performance," Rapids defender Tommy Smith said, per the Denver Post. "It was a real challenge for us and a real marker of where we are at. We took a lot of confidence from it."
Colorado has won its past four MLS games at Dick's Sporting Goods Park heading into a tilt with New England (5-8-5, 20 points), which has countered a 2-8-2 start by posting a 3-0-3 mark in its past six matches. The recent run of good fortune is the Revolution's longest since they went 2-0-5 from May 26-July 7, 2018.
"(The mentality is) very positive, everybody is optimistic," Revolution forward Juan Agudelo said. "It just feels way more like a team."
Teal Bunbury provided the fireworks in the 91st minute on Saturday as New England improved to 4-0-2 against Western Conference foes with a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo. Bunbury's goal was his fourth in his past five games across all competitions and moves him one tally shy of 50 during his MLS career.
Thursday's match marks the return of New England defender Edgar Castillo, who was traded in a December deal that sent midfielder Kelyn Rowe to Colorado. The Rapids then dealt Rowe to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for forward Diego Rubio.
"I have love for Colorado," Castillo, 32, told reporters. "I had a great time being there for a year. Now, I'm on this side and I have to give it my all here, representing the Revolution."
The Revolution have won four of their past five meetings against the Rapids, including a 2-1 decision in New England's home opener in 2018.