Friday, March 28, 2008

Preview: Rapids vs. Galaxy

All right the season is here! Enough of the preseason meaningless games and roster churn. Time to get down to business.

The Rapids host the Galaxy at The Dick at 7:30 tomorrow night (FSC). It looks like the injury report is not favorable to the Rapids:

COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: FW Conor Casey (L knee); DF Ugo Ihemelu (R hip); DF Mike Petke (R foot); DOUBTFUL: MF Mehdi Ballouchy (L hamstring); FW Jovan Kirovski (R hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: MF Rafael Gomes (L hamstring); MF Colin Clark (L hamstring); MF Nico Colaluca (L groin); PROBABLE: FW Omar Cummings (R ankle)

Given that, I predict the following lineup:

Bouna Time!
Kimura - Keel - Erpen - Burciaga Jr.
LaBrocca - Pablo
Cooke - C. Gomez - O'Brien

This keeps the 4-5-1 formation we've been using in preseason. Obviously the injuries to Petke, Gomes, and Clark really stand out, as there's a lot of youth that's going to get playing time tomorrow.

Critical Matchup: Burciaga Jr. & Cieran O'Brien vs. Old Spice

Jose Burciaga Jr. has made a career out of being an attacking wingback. Never particularly known for his defensive play, he's one of the strogest defenders in the league when going forward. Normally that would be an asset, but when he's matched up with the biggest star in the league in David Beckham he's going to have to focus on his defense. Beckham's game is all about getting free to make a cross (Much like our own Cookie), and Burciaga will have to step up to deny him that ability. He'll have to fight his natural instinct to go forward. He shouldn't expect much help from O'Brien. As a rookie I don't think O'Brien knows what he's going to be dealing with in David Beckham.

Keys To Look For:
  • Is the defense helping out Bouna Time! more than last year, or we'll we be surviving based on Bouna's play?
  • Can C. Gomez bring the spark we need to jump-start our anemic offense?
  • Does the team as a whole have an attacking mentality, or is it still the "Defend and hope for a goal on the counter to win 1-0" style of play?
  • Free kicks near the box. Beckham is the best dead-ball specialist in the league, we have to minimize the Galaxy's free kicks.
  • How tired are Beckham and Donovan at altitude after their midweek national team games
  • How well does Colorado use the large field. Reports are they've narrowed the field by 5 yards this season, which I think is a mistake

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goals by Christian Gomez and David Beckham (off a free kick)

My life is still up in the air, but I think it will settle down now. Expect more consistant updates starting next week.

1 comment:

The Manly Ferry said...

Gorgeous nicknames in there...and good review. Better, certainly, than the interns toiling for For what it's worth, I'm feeling more optimistic than you: Cummings, especially, should have fun stretching that old/green-combo backline LA is least I hope he, and they, will.