Friday, July 3, 2009

Shorthanded Rapids Try To Extinguish Fire

Its time for the annual full house game on the 4th of July as the Rapids host Chicago. The Rapids are 11-1-1 all time on Independence Day (with the draw and the loss both being against Columbus). Game time is moved up 30 minutes to 7pm to allow for the post game concert and fireworks. The supporter's group will be starting the tailgate an hour earlier than usual at 4pm, and for this week only they will be in a special location at the East edge of Lot C.

As is traditional for me, I will not be at the game tomorrow night. Instead I'll be celebrating my 11th wedding anniversary with my wonderful wife. She's better company than the supporters anyway. ;) I do have the DVR set up though, so I'll watch the game Sunday morning and have a full game recap on Monday like normal.

Official Injury Report:

Official Discipline Report:

International Absences:
Colin Clark (U.S. National Team), Omar Cummings (Jamaica National Team)
Possible International Absences:
Conor Casey (U.S. National Team)

Chicago has two players listed as probable and two players missing to the Gold Cup. For the first time this year the Rapids have nobody on the injury report, but their fate may be in the hands of U.S. Nats coach Bob Bradley. Earlier this week CONCACAF allowed the U.S. to expand its Gold Cup roster by 7 players due to having the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup back to back. Bradley has notified the Rapids that Conor Casey will be one of those 7 players, but only for selected games. There are rumors floating around that Casey has been summoned to Seattle for the game against Grenada tomorrow night but nobody can get confirmation on that (and that's a whole other issue). If Casey is in Seattle, expect a rant about that here next week. Assuming Casey is gone, here's the lineup I expect.

Ihemelu - Gibbs - Palguta - Harvey
Cooke - Ballouchy - LaBrocca
Peterson - Noonan

If Casey is available he'll move into Peterson's spot, with Peterson possibly displacing Cooke. Baudet will not be available to us until July 15th due to the International Transfer Rules. This leaves us a bench of Burpo, Kimura, Dalby, Schunk, and Valentino, since everyone else is on loan. Not much depth to work with. I'll predict that two of the subs will be Kimura and Dalby regardless of the status of the game.

Key To Look For:

Depth. Somebody is going to have to step up and fill the holes created by the loss of Cummings, Clark, and possibly Casey. Nobody else on the team has scored more than 1 goal this season, and its time for that to change.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Terry Cooke. If Casey plays I'll say 2-1 win, goals by Conor Casey and Terry Cooke. I still don't have faith that our defense can pitch a shutout against the likes of No-neck Blanco and McHead, and I don't see a de-fanged Rapids offense without its best 3 players getting more than 1 goal.

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