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By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- The Philadelphia Union's season-opening result wasn't what they were after, but playing at PPL Park for the first time this season could help the club break into the win column.
The Colorado Rapids are hoping their early season success continues on the road.
Philadelphia will try to avenge its only regular-season home loss of 2011 and defeat the Rapids for the first time Sunday when these teams meet for the only time in league play this season.
Opening on the road for the third time in as many seasons in the league, the Union (0-1-0) lost 3-1 to Portland on Monday. Midfielder Gabriel Gomez gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead with a goal in his MLS debut - it was ruled an own-goal until after the match - but Union 20-year-old goalkeeper Zac MacMath was beaten three times during a 22-minute stretch.
"(We need to) be disappointed and we need to go back and work," coach Peter Nowak told the Union's official website.
Philadelphia should feel good about returning home, even though its last match there was a 2-1 loss to Houston on Oct. 30 in the opener of a two-game Eastern Conference semifinal series it eventually lost.
Colorado (1-0-0) knows it's facing a difficult test after the Union outscored their opponents 24-18 while posting a 7-1-9 record at PPL Park last season.
"It's definitely about managing that first part of the game," Rapids midfielder and Philadelphia native Jeff Larentowicz told the team's official website. "Especially coming off of a loss, they're going to be high energy, Peter (Nowak) I'm sure has been training them hard. I'm sure weathering the first 15 to 20 minutes is going to be important for us."
Colorado, though, won 2-1 in its last visit to PPL Park on July 29, with Pablo Mastroeni netting the first of the Rapids' two first-half goals and Matt Pickens making five saves.
"We know what happened when we played them last season in July," said Nowak, 2-5-4 versus Colorado. "They changed the system they play and the coach, so it's a little different."
The 2010 MLS champions are hoping for different results with first-year coach Oscar Pareja after falling to Sporting Kansas City in last season's East quarterfinals under coach Gary Smith.
Pareja's coaching debut was a success, with the Rapids defeating Columbus 2-0 last Saturday. Defender Kosuke Kimura set up goals by Drew Moor and Quincy Amarika for his first career two-assist game, while Pickens made three saves to notch his 34th career shutout - and 23rd with Colorado.
"This game was satisfying because everyone came together to get us this win," Pareja said.
The Rapids, opening a stretch of four of five on the road, are 1-0-1 at Philadelphia and 2-0-2 overall in this series.
Updated March 17, 2012