Friday, April 18, 2008

Rapids Try To Ride Out the First Visit of Earthquakes 3.0

The Rapids come home tomorrow to face the Clash/Earthquakes/1860/Dynamo at 7:30pm MDT on FOX Soccer Channel. Here's the injury and discipline report:

OUT: FW Conor Casey (L knee), DF Ugo Ihemelu (R hip), DF Mike Petke (R foot); GK Justin Hughes (L groin); PROBABLE: MF Pablo Mastroeni (R quadriceps); MF Christian Gomez (R quadriceps)

My lineup prediction:

Bouna Time!
Kimura - Keel - Erpen - Burciaga Jr.
DiRaimondo - LaBrocca
Cooke - C. Gomez - Clark

I'm sure that now that I've predicted no changes for the first time this season, Clavijo will trot out a 3-4-3 or something like that. If Gomez is unable to go I wouldn't be surprised to see Kirovski be given the role of attacking midfielder, even though he's shown no aptitude for it.

Critical Matchup: Rapids offense vs. San Jose defense

I realize that the critical matchup is a bit generic this week, but its hard to pinpoint a strength of the winless Earthquakes. Assuming Clavijo makes no changes in the back, I don't think that a team that held the Revs and the Galaxy scoreless will have to worry much about an expansion team that has yet to score a goal going off on them. However the San Jose defense is the closest thing they have to a strength, so our ability to get forward and keep pressure on them is key. We should be able to get a shutout, so 1 goal is all we need, but every team gets lucky and we shouldn't sit back after getting a goal. At home we should be able to attack all night.

Keys To Look For:

  • We can't overlook this game. Its easy to think that we should handle an expansion team at home, but its that mentality that leads to the underdog pulling off the upset

  • If we play our game and get a lead, it will be a chance for some of the veterans to come in off the bench and make their case for playing time. How do the likes of Herculez, Gomes, and Pablo do?

  • The last Rapids player to score against the Earthquakes was Jean-Phillipe Peguero, who was just signed by the Earthquakes this week. Will he be available to bolster a weak offense?

  • Small list this week. Really this is a game where if we keep our focus and make our home a fortress we should win. I don't think San Jose can win this game, we can only lose it.

Prediction: 2-0 win, Home game, expansion team, our great defense against their weak offense. Anything less than 3 points would be a failure.


Anonymous said...

I would hope to see Christian continue to gain fluidity with this team and allow the offense to pressure continually and threaten the SJ goal. Have to be encouraged with what we're seeing from Kimura, Keel, LaBrocca, DiRaimondo, and Cummings, and would love to see more relentlessness on the wings from Clark and Cooke.

Nick Thomas said...

Right on guys. Should win, it is ours to win. You are right, Jason, in that we can only lose it. It will be an attacking performance from the Rapids. I think you will get a lot of relentlessness from Clark and Cooke. Blackburn almost did Chelsea a huge favor Jason.