Friday, October 10, 2008

Rapids hope to leave Galaxy seeing stars

The Rapids are out in LA-LA land for their first leg of a 2-game stand against the LA teams. Sunday night they play the Galaxy at 6pm MDT, and the fans will be at the British Bulldog like normal.

Here's the injury report:

OUT: GK Justin Hughes (R shoulder); PROBABLE: FW Tom McManus (L knee)

Suspended: Conor Casey
Suspended after 1 more yellow card: Pablo Mastroeni, Colin Clark, Nick LaBrocca
Suspended after 2 more yellow cards: Conor Casey

My lineup prediction:

Kimura - Ihemelu - Petke - Harvey
Cooke - Pablo - LaBrocca - Clark
McManus - Peterson

In today's Post Smith says that Petereson and McManus will start for the missing Casey and Cummings. LaBrocca will also reclaim his starting spot from Ballouchy, which means no Gomez again. The defensive line is a bit of a question mark with Smith saying that he'll make changes, but that Gibbs is questionable due to the flu. I think he'll just swap in Ihemelu for Gibbs or Petke, depending on Gibbs' condition but he may have bigger changes than that planned.

Critical Matchup: McManus and Peterson vs. LA's d-line

LA has the worst defense in MLS, but the rapids are without their two big strikers and McManus is reportedly only expecting to be able to go for about 70-80 minutes. Peterson and McManus will have to find a way to make their new partnership work quickly and get the Rapids on top before McManus' injury forces a more defensive lineup.

Keys To Look For:

  • Absolute 100% must-win game for the Rapids. Our playoff hopes are shot if we don't get 3 points on Sunday. Does the team play like they know that?

  • LA's a bad team when they have Old Spice and PrimaDonnavan. With them both gone on National Team duties the only offensive threat is Edson Buddle. Our defense should be able to shut down anything LA throws at the by keeping Pablo and/or a central defender on Buddle all night.

  • Rookie untested goalkeeper means the Rapids should shoot early and often. We shouldn't need the "perfect shot" to beat him.

  • Burpo needs to pitch a shutout and make no stupid mistakes. With LA's offensive woes the most likely way for them to score is another assist by Burpo, like he had last week.

  • Christian Gomez really should be starting this game, but since he's not we have to assume he won't play unless injuries force Smith's hand.

Prediction: 1-0 win. With our offensive firepower missing I don't expect a lot of scoring, but we should be able to do enough to get the win. LA is the worst team in the league, there's no excuse for not getting 3 points.

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