Friday, June 5, 2009

Rapids Go To SLC Without Their American Idols

The Rapids make their first trip to Sandy, UT and Rio Tinto Stadium to take on FaKe SaLt LaKe. With a win tomorrow the Rapids reclaim the Rocky Mountain Cup, which has lived in Salt Lake City the last two years. Game time for this one is at 8 pm, which unfortunately overlaps the U.S. National Team World Cup Qualifier by 30 minutes. A large group has made the trip West for the game, but those that didn't go to SLC will be gathering at the British Bulldog downtown.

Official Injury Report:
PROBABLE: FW Conor Casey (R foot/calf strain); FW Omar Cummings (L ankle strain); GK Steward Ceus (R meniscus tear/surgery)

Official Discipline Report:

International Absences:
Conor Casey, Pablo Mastroeni (U.S. National Team)

FSL has 3 players on their injury list, and they have central midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales suspended due to card accumulation. My guess on the lineup:

Kimura - Ihemelu - Palguta - Harvey
Cooke - Ballouchy - Clark
Cummings - Peterson

LaBrocca is the natural replacement for Pablo. With Casey being gone I have to assume Peterson, who's been the sub off the bench up front so far, will take his place. That leaves Cooke as the obvious player to fill LaBrocca's hole at right mid. I think Gibbs has played his way to the bench over the last couple of games, but I wouldn't be shocked to see a back line of Ihemelu - Palguta - Gibbs - Harvey.

Key To Look For:

Taking FSL out of the game. FSL is reeling from going winless in May, and they are missing the core of their midfield. If we jump on them quickly and score in the first 15 there's a good chance we can take the fire out of them and give them a beat down they deserve. They expect a sellout tomorrow since there's a post game concert from one of the recent American Idols and we need to take the crowd out of it early as well. The longer we let them hang in the game the greater the chances they steal a win or at the very least get a draw to keep their Rocky Mountain Cup hopes alive.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Colin Clark. This should be a winnable game for the Rapids, but the late callup by Casey takes half our goals away. As we've seen our defense is incapable of a shut out against 11 men and without Casey we won't score a whole lot. We have only scored 2 goals without Casey's involvement once this year (KC) and I don't see us doing it again tomorrow. A draw still keeps us in the driver's seat for the RMC.

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