Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni believes July can be a turnaround month for his club. Having won consecutive games for the first time in more than a calendar year, Colorado is 2-0-0 in MLS play in July but faces an enormous test Saturday against Western Conference-leading Seattle at Century Link Field.

“I’ve been joking about ten in a row,” Mastroeni said in an interview on the club’s website.”With every game, the belief in the group becomes palpable. The confidence in the group is there as well… The guys are excited about this opportunity.”

Mastroeni kids, but it’s that kind of run that will be required of the Rapids if they hope to gain the momentum they’d need to make a serious push for and in the playoffs.

Currently, the Rapids sit in last place in the Western Conference – a position they’ve held through mostly the entire season – nursing a 4-9-6 record that was two wins worse less than three weeks ago. Saturday they face the class of the Western Conference in Seattle, whose 32 points are second in all of MLS.

And while there were many positives to take away from last week’s win against Rocky Mountain Cup rival Real Salt Lake, the win wasn’t as impressive as it could have been, as Rapids play-by-play announcer Richard Fleming points out:

Not wanting to be a Debbie Downer, but the Real Salt Lake side which turned up on Saturday was without arguably seven starters – Nick Rimando, Jamison Olave, Abdoulie Mansally, Kyle Beckerman, Alvaro Saborio, Demar Phillips and Elias Vasquez. They fielded a rookie who had played just ten minutes as a substitute, and a central defender (Chris Schuler) who had not featured since April 5.

Let’s be honest, against such a depleted opponent, which had lost four in a row on the road, this was a match that the Rapids ought to have won. The fact is, for the seventh time this season, the opposition scored first at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Only twice, in the nine home games where there have been goals, have the Rapids landed the first punch – both against Vancouver, and both resulted in victory.

Historically, Colorado has little be optimistic about as well against Seattle. In 17 matches, Colorado has managed wins in just two of those contests, and never on foreign turf. Since their last victory against Seattle (Oct. 2013), Colorado has been outscored 13-3, including a 3-1 disadvantage in April at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Still, Mastroeni believes his club has changed in securing two consecutive victories. Now, his men are believing, “seeing validation of all the hard work that’s been put forth in the previous six months.

“We’ve been in many positions to win a lot of games this year, and for lack of finishing, for lack of concentration on a few plays, we’ve found ourselves with a few ties. I think the opportunity now is to play these tightly contested games as we hit the latter part of the season, but using our experiences in the past to get three points.”

Mastroeni may have found a way to turnaround those close games with a new personnel deployment. In their consecutive wins, Colorado has switched to a 4-3-3 formation, allowing better balance between attacking and defending.

Additionally, Colorado saw widespread production during their recent success. Eight different players were involved in the five goals scored in Colorado’s two July victories thus far.

Finally, strong defense was paramount to the victories as well, as documented by Not only has captain Drew Moor been stalwart on defense, he also turned in the equalizer against Real Salt Lake.

Colorado must recover 9 points on Sporting KC, who currently holds the final playoff spot in the Western Conference (not to mention the three clubs in-between them), in only 15 games if they have any hope of extending the season into November.