With their third consecutive win, a 2-1 effort Saturday against Sporting KC, the Rapids have kept themselves within striking distance of the final playoff spot and moved out of last place in MLS’s Western Conference.

Pablo Mastroeni’s men fought through some difficult officiating to secure Colorado’s first victory against Sporting KC since March 2009 – a stretch of 12 games.

The game play, as Rapids legend and broadcast commentator Marcelo Balboa noted on From the Pitch on Mile High Sports AM 1340, was a bit sloppy on the Colorado side after the first 20 minutes. It was a different look versus the team’s last win, which came Wednesday night against Houston – a clean, dominating performance according to Balboa. Nevertheless, the desired outcome was achieved and the Rapids are beginning to find form at just the right time.

In his weekly radio show, Balboa described this team as a blue-collar, gritty bunch who is going to find a way to grind out wins. And while the team may not be as “pretty” as some fans might have hoped or expected, Balboa believes Colorado can find a way to remain competitive down the stretch.

The Rapids will have to be more than competitive as they try and claw their way back into the playoff picture. At present, Colorado must gain five points on San Jose over the final two months (eight games) of the season.

A strong close to the season, is not enough, says Balboa. The team must find a way to maintain this momentum and make the playoffs.

Listen to the full discussion on the Rapids identity and what must happen for the team to make the playoffs in the podcast below…

Listen to From the Pitch every Sunday from 4p-6p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 or Listen Live any time online for the best local coverage of what’s new and what’s next in Colorado sports.