Friday, July 18, 2008

"Well, if it isn't LaBrocca. And his sidekick, Pablo"

The Rapids head down to Pizza Hut Park to face FC Dallas tomorrow. Its a 6pm MDT kickoff on Altitude. As always the fans will be gathering at the British Bulldog downtown.

Here's the injury report:

OUT: GK Justin Hughes (L groin), FW Tom McManus (L knee); PROBABLE: DF Mike Petke (R foot)

My lineup prediction:

Bouna Time!
Ihemelu - Pablo - Erpen
C.Gomez - Ballouchy
Cooke ------------- Clark
Cummings - Casey

This lineup, minus Cummings, has gotten 4 points in the last two games and I don't see Clavijo making any changes. McManus' foot injury will give Cummings another chance to claim the starting spot, let's see what he does with it.

Critical Matchup: Pablo Mastroeni vs. Kenny Cooper

Cooper has more goals than any other two Dallas players combined. If we can shut him down their next highest scorer is Oduro with 4 goals. I think our defense and Bouna can get a shutout if Cooper stays off the board. The obvious way to take Cooper out of the game is for Pablo to stick to him any time he gets near the 18.

Keys To Look For:

  • While the draw in San Jose was disappointing we have a chance this week to put a 3 game undefeated streak together. Can we play like we realize the importance of that?

  • The first half performance will be particularly important this week. With the heat we can expect to tire more easily. Do we show up before halftime?

  • Has Cummings solved his issue of needing 3-4 chances for every goal?

  • Will the defense show some patience and avoid the temptation to play long ball?

  • Andre Rocha has 6 assists for Dallas. How well does LaBrocca close him down?

  • Will Cooke and Clark be playing like wing backs or wingers? The further back they play the less likely we'll be to score.

Prediction: 0-0 draw. These are two teams playing pretty bad soccer, and I don't see ether one of them doing anything to get a win in the hot Dallas summer.

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