Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Gary Smith Era Begins

While Smith did lead the team in the game against KC last week, this is his first game as interim head coach. Its a new era in Colorado Rapids soccer, and lets hope its a good one. The Rapids face DC at 5:30pm tomorrow night and as always the supporters will be gathering at the British Bulldog to watch the game.

I, however, will be at a wedding out of town. That's the reason the game preview went up a day early, and you may not see a game review this week. I'm going to try to catch the game on, but we'll see.

Here's the injury report:

OUT: GK Justin Hughes (R shoulder); DF Ugo Ihemelu (concussion); PROBABLE: DF Jordan Harvey (R knee); DF Jose Burciaga Jr. (R hip); MF Jacob Peterson (L hip)

DISCIPLINE: Suspended after 1 more yellow card - Colin Clark, Pablo Mastroeni

My lineup suggestion:

Bouna Time!
Erpen - Petke - Gibbs - Burciaga
Cooke - Pablo - C.Gomez - Clark
McManus - Casey

According to reports from people who talked to the players last week, the lineup for the KC game was picked by Clavijo. Given that I have no idea who Smith might start in his first lineup as the head coach. So I just threw up what I think our best 11 is, we'll see what Smith thinks. You may be surprised to see Erpen on that list, given how I've pummeled him recently, but I noticed that when he was played out wide last week and had support inside he made less stupid mistakes.

Critical Matchup: Petke & Gibbs vs. Emilio & Moreno

DC's offense is contained in their two forwards, outside of them nobody has more than 4 goals this season. We have to make the rest of DC beat us. If we can do that we have a chance to get a result out of this game.

Keys To Look For:

  • Of course the big key to this game is Gary Smith and how the team responds to the new leadership. Is there a new attitude around the team?

  • Gibbs and Petke went 90 minutes in their first game of the season last week, are they fit to do it again?

  • How does Christian Gomez react to his first game back in DC?

  • How tired is Pablo after his midweek game against Guatemala in Guatemala?

Prediction: 1-1 draw. I think the coaching change gives the team a spark, but not enough to get a win on the road.

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