AUGUSTA, Maine — It’s been a busy first week for the Colorado Rapids.
The club’s return for the first time since the lockout came to an end has been billed as a “re-start” to the season.
It’s also a chance to turn things around in the midst of a rebuild, a task made tougher by the departure of coach Pablo Mastroeni and the loss of key players, including captain Will Johnson and goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Colorado, which has played its last two games without injured players and has lost five straight, will be without the injured Johnson, defender Joe Nasco, defender Matt Hedges and midfielder Kyle Beckerman for the match on Saturday night against the New York Red Bulls.
Mastroeni, who had a five-game winning streak snapped after the team’s last match, was fired Monday and will not return to work until after the game Saturday night.
He will be replaced by head coach John Harkes.
Colorado’s two other regular-season home matches this season are against the Philadelphia Union on Aug. 29 and at home against Real Salt Lake on Aug, 29.
Harkes is in his first season with the Rapids, having spent eight years in the club’s technical staff.
He is expected to fill a major role in the team.
Colorado’s roster was trimmed to 22 players from 26 for the 2016 season and that number is expected be trimmed again for this match.
Colorado has lost six straight at home and two of the three away games this season have come against teams that are currently ranked in the Western Conference playoff hunt.
Colorado opened the season 2-0-2 on the road and is 3-2-1 at home.
The Rapids have now won all six of their home games.
Colorado (11-5-3) will be looking to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
The club has won three of its last four away games.
The Rapids, who have not played since March 14, have won three in a row against New York and two in a span of six games.
Colorado will be out of action until July 30 when it visits Seattle for the third time this season.
The game against the Red Bulls is the first of a six-game road trip for the Rapids on Saturday.