Friday, April 3, 2009

Rapids Back In LA

Tomorrow night the Rapids take on the 1990's U.S. Men's National Team Reunion Tour starring Greg Vanney, Jovan Kirovski, Landon Donovan, Eddie Lewis, and it was just announced that making his debut will be Gregg Berhalter! The team is produced by Assistant Coach Cobi Jones and directed by Head Coach Bruce Arena.

Yeah, that sounds like a joke, but I'm serious. Arena has signed all those players to the 2009 Galaxy squad. There's no local TV for this one, so your options are to battle the snowstorm and join the supporters groups at the British Bulldog, or purchase Direct Kick or Kickoff is at 8:30 MDT.

Injury Report:
OUT: GK Matt Pickens (back spasms); PROBABLE: FW Conor Casey (R foot strain), DF Cory Gibbs (R calf strain)

So we see our first real injury issue of 2009. No Pickens means we'll be relying on Burpo in the back. Anyone who saw the Burgundy & Blue game knows this could be a problem. Here's my predicted lineup:

Kimura - Ihemelu - Gibbs - Harvey
Cooke - Ballouchy - Clark
Cummings - Casey

I'm assuming that Gibbs and Casey will be able to start and that Smith saw what Cookie brought to the game last week. I wouldn't be shocked to see LaBrocca in Cooke's place though. If Gibbs can't go I assume we'll see Harden playing his old team, while Richardson would probably step in for an injured Casey.

Key To Look For:

We're going to have a new GK and possibly a new central defender. If we have any hope of winning this game staying disciplined and organized is going to be a requirement. I expect the Rapids will play some bunker ball, conserve energy, and be satisfied with a draw and hope a counter attack can steal a win. Pablo and PrimaDonnavan are both coming off their mid-week game for the Nats, so seeing which one recovers faster may be a key to this game as well. Since these two teams play 3 days later in a USOC play-in game I'm guessing Smith will want to conserve some resources to try to win that game.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Colin Clark. With the injuries, playing on the road, and a must win game 3 days later I'm guessing that the Rapids aren't going to over-extend themselves to win this one. Our defense hasn't put up a clean sheet yet though, and I don't see Burpo as helping that cause. I think we have 1 goal in us though, even playing conservatively.

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