Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rapids Bobbleheads

Here's a look at all three of the bobbleheads the Rapids have created,

Also a kudos to the Rapids FO for going above and beyond.  They worked with C38 on the bobblehead giveaway to make sure the people involved in putting on the tailgate for the fans (and as such, unable to get into the stadium early to get a bobblehead) were taken care of.  Many teams wouldn't have bothered to do such a small thing from their POV that goes a long way for the fans.  Well done.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Honoring Pablo

7:15 tomorrow night Mastroeni goes into the Gallery of Honor

The Rapids are back home tomorrow night for the first time in three weeks.  They'll be facing former assistant coach and the rest of the Under-A-Chivas.  We'll also see former Rapids Martin Chavez and Nathan Sturgis, but not Martin Rivero who's season is over after a knee injury.  Game time tomorrow is 7:30pm but get to your seats by 7:15 for the Gallery of Honor ceremony for head coach and club legend Pablo Mastroeni.  The tailgate will start its normal 3 hours ahead of time at 4:30 but it will shut down at 6:30 instead of 7 to make sure everyone can get into the stadium before the ceremony.  For those that can't make it the game will be on Altitude and I'm sure they'll show the ceremony during the pre-game show.

Injury Report:
QUESTIONABLE: DF Shane O'Neill (R knee sprain); MF Jose Mari (L ankle sprain); FW Deshorn Brown (R groin strain)

The-soon-to-be-formerly-known-as-Chivas USA has 3 players out, including Rivero, and one player questionable.  It seems very unlikely that any of our injured three will be available tomorrow.  Based on that, here's my guess at the XI:

That defense was the original plan last week before Burch got sick and I think we go back to it.  I can't believe Watts plays after his last 3 games now that LaBrocca is back.  Sanchez will start, Hill and Buddle are bigger question marks.  We could see Torres for example, or maybe even Eloundou if healthy.

Strategic Consideration: Don't outsmart ourselves.  We're entering another one of those 3 games in a week weeks and so far this season we've outsmarted ourselves in those weeks.  This week its home games against Western Conference opponents with a trip to the East in-between.  If we're going to punt on a game, punt on the trip to New England.

Prediction: 2-1 win, goals by Sanchez and Powers.  Cubo Torres is hot right now and will find a goal for Chivas USA.  At home on a big night for the club though Sanchez won't let the team lose.  Powers and Sanchez take over the midfield and keep the pressure up until we get the lead and eventually the 3 points.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Called That One

Quoting my game preview from last Thursday:
2-1 loss, goal by Brown.  I think the missing talent is too much to overcome for the Rapids tomorrow.  Because of the weak defense the Rapids will get a goal but our inability to maintain possession in midfield will wear us down and Portland will get a winner late.
And that covers the game review because that's exactly what happened.  Probably the more accurate prediction I've ever made.

My strategic consideration was defense and it got torn apart on both goals.  Too many young players in new positions possibly.
  • The first thing I want to point out, and for me one of the most positive moments of the game, was the way Pablo reacted when Powers got a bit stunned by taking a ball off the face in the first half.  After Rojas saw to him and brought him to the sideline Pablo was clearly willing to make an early change and put him on the bench if that's what was best for Dillon, especially with his concussion history.  Its good to see a coach be that concerned about the well-being of a player and not about the result.  I'm sure Pablo's own concussion history influenced him.
  • Good garbage goal by the Rapids.  Brown got the credit but it was good to see the team fighting and clawing to get that ball over the line.
  • Sadly Pablo would have to make an early change as Brown pulled up with a groin injury.  Looked like he pulled it while contesting for a ball.  Hopefully it won't keep him out long.
  • I said the Rapids were going to be playing 10 on 11 when I heard Mwanga was coming on for Brown but Danny had a decent (but not great) game, particularly with some good hold up play in the first half.  It doesn't justify his salary but he's been worse in the past.
  • I wanted Torres to come in, but he didn't do much of anything when he did enter in the second half.  We need more from our DP.
  • Losing Hairston to injury as well made it hard for Pablo to make tactical changes.  Signs are positive that Hairston will be available Friday though.
  • On both goals Klute looked to be at fault but I don't think he really was on either one.  On the first nobody dropped behind him to take the extra man (I think that was Alvarez's job) and Klute was left in no-man's land covering two players.  On the second Watts was trailing Chara's run and Watts had to stay back and defend the passing lane, which allowed Valeri the space to hit the shot.  Had Klute stepped up to Valeri then Valeri could have dumped it to Chara for the better shot.
  • That said, Valeri hit a hell of a shot.  Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to a great move and realize there wasn't much that could be done.
  • The real failure on both goals was the midfield's inability to hold possession in the second half, leaving the defense under pressure for too long.
  • Watts had a horrible game on the back of his two games where he made critical errors.  We need Jose Mari back ASAP but it looks like our best hope on Friday is LaBrocca.
  • Sturgis would also work but I think we got a deal in Alvarez.  He has to work on his defense but I like his aggression in attack.
  • Had Burch not got sick pore-game and started instead of Piermayr as planned the Rapids would have been playing with an all-American XI once Mwanga replaced Brown.
  • Luckily most of the West failed to win this week, so we didn't lose too much ground.
Man of the Match: Deshorn Brown.  Not only did he get the goal but you could see how much the Rapids offense lost when he came off injured.  His absence is going to hurt.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Depleted Rapids Head To Portland

Maybe one of these guys can play?

Missing 4 starters Colorado heads into Providence Park (formerly Jeld-Wen Field) tomorrow night for a tough game against the Timbers.  The Rapids have only ever scored once in Portland, and that goal should have been called offside but it got them their one win in Oregon.  Game time tomorrow night is 9pm MDT and the game is on NBC Sports, which means kickoff is going to be more like 9:20-9:25ish.  NBC Sports is channel 689 on Comcast systems in Denver.

Injury Report:
OUT: MF Jose Mari (sprained ankle)

Disciplinary Report:
SUSPENDED: DF Shane O'Neill; MF Nick LaBrocca; MF Vicente Sanchez

Portland hasn't updated its injury report since June 27th and only then they only had Questionable players so assume they're going to be at full strength.  We, obviously, aren't.  My guess, and that's all it is, at what we see tomorrow night:

With 3 midfielders missing that's the hardest area to figure out.  We've seen Klute on the right at times before and that seems like the safest choice.  Torres showed well last week and I think with our undermanned midfield he might get a chance as a way of holding the ball up top.  The midfield is a toss-up.  We could see Watts benched and Hairston in the back with Eloundou playing for example.

Strategic Consideration: Defense.  Portland has the 4th best offence but the 3rd worst defense.  If we can stay solid in the back we should have opportunities to steal points.

Prediction: 2-1 loss, goal by Brown.  I think the missing talent is too much to overcome for the Rapids tomorrow.  Because of the weak defense the Rapids will get a goal but our inability to maintain possession in midfield will wear us down and Portland will get a winner late.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Loans, Suspensions, and Bobbleheads!

The big news this week is the Rapids announcement that at the next home game on July 25th Pablo Mastroeni will added to the Gallery of Honor alongside Bravo, Balboa, Henderson, and Spencer.  Due to his obvious responsibilities at halftime the ceremony will occur before kickoff at 7:15.  Also the first 2000 fans will get a Pablo Mastroeni bobblehead.

Also in the news this week, GK Joe Nasco will be loaned to Atlanta, is former club for the rest of the season.  A good move by the Rapids to get their 3rd GK some playing time now that Berner has obviously become the #2 of choice.

The final piece of news, not unexpected, is that the Disciplinary Committee has suspended Shane O'Neill for Friday night's game due to his 11th minute tackle on Cruz in Philly last week.  Its a deserved suspension as that was a horrible tackle but it doesn't make our life on Friday night in Portland any easier.

Finally a tip of the hat to MLS marketing for this awesome Ferris Buller parody starring the Fire's Mike Magee.  There's nothing related to the Rapids in it but its worth watching.  I heard that their first idea was Moor & Minda set in Boulder but it didn't test well.  Nanu, nanu!  :D