Struggling San Jose tries to end an eight-match winless streak when it play youthful Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., on Wednesday.
The Earthquakes (2-5-5, 11 points) have four losses and three ties since returning to play after the MLS Is Back Tournament near Orlando, Fla., in July and early August, in which they lost their final game of the tournament to Minnesota United FC.
Not only are the Earthquakes losing, they're often getting blown out, including 5-1 and 7-1 defeats to Los Angeles FC and the Seattle Sounders earlier this month.
San Jose's most recent setback, 6-1 to Portland on Saturday, prompted a postgame mea culpa from Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli.
"We apologize, I apologize for the way we performed today," he said. "This is not who we are. We know we can do better."
While San Jose has lost its way, the Rapids (4-4-4, 16 points) have turned to their young players to win two of three.
In the 2-0 win on Saturday that ended LAFC's six-game unbeaten run, Colorado had its youngest starting lineup of the season (24.9 average age).
Cole Bassett, 19, scored the first goal from a set-up by 21-year-old defender Sam Vines, and Jonathan Lewis, 23, scored with an assist from Braian Galvan, 19.
"We're all really hungry when we're on the field to try and get goals, assists and help the team win most importantly," Bassett said. "I think we bring that energy, and it shows on the field. I really think that we've developed this good youth connection. It shows in the locker room, we all have really good friendships, and then on the field it's coming into play so far."
That type of chemistry is lacking for San Jose, which has the worst goal differential in MLS at minus-16 (17 goals scored, 33 allowed).
"We have to check ourselves properly, correct things. And we have to stick together as one," Fioranelli said.
--Field Level Media