Friday, April 22, 2016

Rapids Face Sounders Without Ex-Sounder

Flipping the coin at the 5-1 win in 2013

I'd be happy to have another result like that one tomorrow night.  Without ex-Sounder Marco Pappa though, that might be asking a lot.  Of course Seattle is beat up as well, so it could be an interesting game.  Game time tomorrow is 7pm so the tailgate starts at 4.  Marlon Hairston will be recording an interview segment for the C38 podcast around 5:30 though he won't be signing autographs.  Those of you who can't be there can see it on Altitude.

Player Availability:
OUT: D Marlon Hairston (hamstring); D Sean St. Ledger (knee); M Marco Pappa (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: D Axel Sjoberg (hamstring); D Jared Watts (knee); M Dillon Powers (hamstring); F Kevin Doyle (shin)
UNAVAILABLE: D Joseph Greenspan (Navy duty)

Seattle has 5 players questionable or worse including Dempsey and Valdez.  Who can actually go tomorrow night is going to go a long way in deciding this one.

Starting XI Prediction:

This assumes that anyone on the injury report isn't ready to start.  If healthy I could see Sjoberg pushing Miller outside and Burch to the bench and I could see Doyle starting for Solignac.  I'd rather see Serna starting over Badji but Pablo seems fond of him.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Solignac.  The injuries on both sides will make this game choppy.  I think both sides will struggle to dominate the game and that will lead to a draw.  Jones springs Solignac for ours.

Just a note.  I've got some stuff going on for the next week or two so posts might be shorter and/or infrequent for the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Castillo To Be Signed, Finally

According to the Denver Post the Rapids will finally be signing draftee Dennis Castillo.  It sounds like we're just waiting on paperwork from his old club in Costa Rica and that's been the reason for the long delay.

Castillo is a center back/right back out of VCU, drafted in the second round.  He will use the Rapids final international spot.  With this signing we'll have 26 of a possible 28 players under contract plus Tim Howard arriving in July.  That does not include Juan Ramirez on loan in Spain or Joseph Greenspan serving in the Navy.  So we have one roster spot left if we need to sign somebody but they would have to not need an international spot.  Here's our full roster with details.

GK John Berner - On loan to Charlotte
GK Chris Froschauer
(GK Tim Howard - DP) - Coming in July
GK Zac MacMath
D March Burch
D Bobby Burling
D Dennis Castillo - International
D Marlon Hairston
D Eric Miller
D Axel Sjoberg - Inernational
D Sean St. Ledger - International
D Mekeil Williams - International
M Emmanuel Appiah - On loan to Charlotte
M Michael Azira
M Sam Cronin
M Jermaine Jones
M Marco Pappa
M Zach Pfeffer
M Dillon Powers
M Dillon Serna
M Jared Watts
F Dominque Badji - International
F Caleb Calvert - On loan to Charlotte
F Conor Doyle
F Kevin Doyle - International - DP
Shkëlzen Gashi - International - DP
F Luis Solignac - International

Monday, April 18, 2016

Welcome To Colorado Jermaine!

From my preview on Friday:
1-0 win, goal by Jones.  NY is also on short rest and playing at altitude and in weather.  They haven't had much of an offense lately and our defense is pretty stout.  This sets up for Jermaine Jones to make a big impact in his first game.
So it was actually a goal and an assist from Jones and we won 2-1.  Missed it by that much.

General Impressions:
  • As much fun as that game was, it probably shouldn't have been played.  Much like Snow Clasico I the conditions in the second half weren't soccer, they were survival.
  • While the result and experience were fun, the wet nature of the snow wasn't.  Took me hours to get warm once I got home.
  • Big thanks to the Rapids for the free hot chocolate (and coffee for those who preferred that).  Many sports teams would have taken full advantage of the conditions to make money, not rewarded their fans for showing up (and they also allowed anyone who couldn't make it to trade in their ticket for another game). 
  • Also kudos to Kevin Doyle for coming out in the conditions to the tailgate as previously arranged.  I don't think anyone would have blamed him if he had rescheduled, though if reports are accurate this might be the last game he's not playing in for a while.
  • As far as the game goes there's not much you can critique on an individual level.  Everyone was just trying to deal with the conditions and its not fair to judge them on that performance.
  • We can point out good things though, like Mikeil Williams' assist on the first goal.  After a nice setup pass from Pappa he sent a great ball across the box for JJ to run onto.
  • Maybe my only negative comment about the game is Jones' aggressive tackle right before his assist.  There's a hint if an intentional foot to the NY player's leg in the aerial challenge.  not enough to actually state he was trying to spike him but it would be good to remove that doubt by not kicking out like that.
  • The Rapids were unlucky not to have more than 2.  Badji almost scored a carbon copy of his goal late and Pappa's early second half shot would have beat most keepers.
  • One piece of negative news, Pappa's injury that took him out of the game turned out to be a MCL sprain that will keep him out 2-3 weeks.  So the decision of who sits for Jones is solved for a couple of games.
  • My preseason predictions included me stating that we would fail to get 12 points in our first 9 games leading to Pablo being fired.  We now have 13 points in our first 7 games.  Oops.  Barring the bottom falling out on this team Pablo's job is safe for the season.
  • The Rapids are 3rd in the league on total points, 4th on points per game.  I don't think anyone had the seasons starting that well.
  • The Bodmer Line sits at 1.26 points per game the rest of the way.  For those that missed the Bodmer Line last season, its the average pts/game needed the rest of the season to hit 47 points which is the average point total for the 6th placed team (last team to make the playoffs) since the league went to 34 games in 2011.  Named after Centennial 38 Grand Poobah Mark Bodmer, who came up with the metric about the same time I did and deserves some credit for it.  For reference we're at 1.86 pts/game so far this season.
Man of the Match: Jermaine Jones.  Probably the most dominant performance by a Rapid this season.  Pablo played him in a free role and let him do what was needed and it worked.  He owned the field Saturday night, lead the team, and immediately showed what kind of impact he'll make this season.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Snow Clasico 2: Electric Boogaloo

Sno fro!

The Rapids are scheduled to play RBNY tomorrow.  I say scheduled because the Winter Storm Warning that's on for the Denver area has everyone watching the Rapids social media accounts to see if this one is rescheduled.  The last time this happened, the opener in March of 2013, it wasn't until 9:30 Saturday morning that the game was rescheduled.  Looking back at that weather report there's a lot of similarities about the storms though there seems to be more question marks around this one than 2013. 

Why aren't the Rapids taking any excuse to delay this game? We've already played 2 games this week. We've got a short bench. If we get this delayed until later in the season we'd have Howard. Why wouldn't we use the snowstorm as an excuse? KC pulled it on us last year under similar player availability conditions (though it backfired on them).

If the game is changed I will post the info here ASAP.  Game time tomorrow if there is no change is 7pm and C38 will have some sort of tailgate.  For those who don't want to go out in the snowstorm (which may include me) the game will be on Altitude.

Player Availability:
OUT: D Marlon Hairston (hamstring); D Sean St. Ledger (knee injury); D Jared Watts (knee); F Kevin Doyle (shin)
UNAVAILABLE: D Joseph Greenspan (Navy duty)

KC has three players out and one probable.  For the Rapids its looking better.  Williams is back and Jones is now eligible.  Still come off of a midweek game we may see some shuffling.

Starting XI Prediction:

There's some talk that Jones could play CB, presumably if Sjoberg can't go, but I'd be surprised to see him there.  I think Pablo goes with the hot hand and plays Solignac up top again.  Both Powers and Sjoberg traveled to KC so I think their missing of the game was a way to rest them for this game.  We could see Serna possibly as well.

Prediction: Game rescheduled for later in the season

If the game is played this weekend: 1-0 win, goal by Jones.  NY is also on short rest and playing at altitude and in weather.  They haven't had much of an offense lately and our defense is pretty stout.  This sets up for Jermaine Jones to make a big impact in his first game.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

No, They're Not Going To See This Coming

Hat-tip to Malcolm Reynolds/Joss Whedon for the title of this one.  I'm not sure anyone saw that result coming.  Going into KC with a 4 man bench (4!) and a makeshift backline the Rapids get their first multi-goal output of the season en route to their first road win of 2016.

General Impressions:
  • That was an ugly 18, well 15, we suited up for the game.  An indictment of our roster construction.  Leaving 2 roster spots open and missing half a bench, having to play a LB at CB, having to play a RW an RB, so much for having our whole roster at the start of training camp.
  •  That said, we weren't afraid to take the game to them early.  Nobody looked good in the first half but it was the Rapids who were more aggressive.
  • neither team got a shot on goal until into the last 5 minutes of the first half where Solignac got one, then got a goal, then Gashi got one.  KC had to wait for the second half to get their first.
  • Pappa did all the work to set Solignac up on the goal.  That makes it 3 assists and a goal for Pappa on the first 4 Rapids goals of the season.  Obviously the early leader for team MVP.
  • That shouldn't take anything away from a good strike from Solignac though.  2 goals in 2 games!
  • The second half decision to park the bus was not a good one.  It might have been necessary due to our tired legs but its another example of how we can't defend a one goal lead for long periods of time (nor can most MLS squads).
  • Burling, play to the whistle, not to when you think the whistle should blow.
  • Also, don't leave Dom Dwyer completely unmarked in the box!
  • About two minutes before the sub was made I suggested putting Williams in and pushing Serna forward to a friend I was watching the game with.
  • Serna struggled on defense, no surprise since he's never really played RB and is left-footed.  He looked great in midfield though.  He did more in those ~20 minutes than Badji did all night.
  • And of course he took another one of his killer long bombs.  The shot itself nearly went in and the rebound fell right to Gashi.
  • Who hit a beautiful strike.  Many (most?) MLS players wouldn't have gotten that on target or put it close enough to the keeper to make a save.  A great way for our DP to finally open his account.
  • Also the first goal all season Pappa didn't have a hand in.
  • MacMath has the yips.  I don't trust him in goal.  Sadly I don't trust Froschauer either as a untested rookie.  Its going to be a long 10 games before Howard gets here.
  • 10 points from the 6 games Jones was under suspension.  That's a great start and honestly unexpected.  Looking at the schedule to start the season I would have been happy to have 5-6 points.
Man of the Match: Shkelzen Gashi.  Really an easy choice.  He saves one off the line on one end, scores a great goal on the other.  He essentially turned a 2-1  loss into a 2-1 win.