Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)

After the draw last Friday against San Jose the Rapids get right back at it tomorrow night...against San Jose. The Earthquakes are in town for the second half of the home-and-home series. This is the 'game in hand' the Rapids have been holding for most of the season, so a win here would be huge, while a loss would leave us in right in the middle of the playoff battle we've been trying to avoid. Kickoff tomorrow night is at 7:30 out at the dick and the supporters tailgate will start at 5:30.

Official Injury Report:
OUT: MF Colin Clark (L ACL tear); GK Matt Pickens (R knee sprain); MF Jamie Smith (L knee strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Cory Gibbs (R thigh strain)

Official Discipline Report:
TWO CAUTIONS FROM SUSPENSION: Mehdi Ballouchy, Julian Baudet, Conor Casey, Omar Cummings, Cory Gibbs, Scott Palguta

San Jose has 4 players listed as questionable or worse, while the Rapids get Pablo back from suspension. That gives the Rapids a strong advantage in the return leg. My best guess at the lineup:

Moor - Baudet - Palguta - Harvey
Kimura - Ballouchy - LaBrocca
Cummings - Casey

The real question is will Kimura be moved to the backline to push Palguta to the bench for Peterson? I think Kimura showed enough last week to deserve to start n the midfield again though, so I expect Peterson to start on the bench.

Key To Look For:
Do we appear to care? The last two games we've played like we aren't concerned about making the playoffs, and the results have suffered for it. We need to go out and play this game like our playoff lives depended on it, because they almost do. Getting 3 points tomorrow night will put us in position to focus on playoff seeding, not just making the playoffs.

Prediction: 2-0 win, goals by Conor Casey and Omar Cummings. The Earthquakes are out of playoff contention and are facing a midweek game on the road, at altitude, in 40 degree weather with a 50/50 chance of rain. They aren't going to be real motivated for this one. On the big field at home the Rapids should be able to run them ragged and control the game, leading to a solid win.


Dan Manzo said...

You would put Palguta on the bench and start Baudet? Pags has been nothing short of stellar all season and Baudet has played a role in the last 4-5 goals that we have given up. After his debacle in San Jose, I wouldn't even dress Baudet.

Jason Maxwell said...

Check again, my lineup has both Palguta and Baudet starting and Peterson on the bench.

I wouldn't call Palguta stellar this season. He's been solid but caught out of position on more than one goal.

And you blame Baudet for the goal last week? Check again, Baudet was forced to cover two men for whomever missed their assignment. He had to do the same thing on the first goal in Toronto. Baudet is the best mid-season acquisition the Rapids made and has cleary moved past Gibbs into the first team.

Nick Thomas said...

Agree totally on Baudet, Jason. This guy is key for the Rapids going forward. Yes, his challenge was somewhat weak re the San Jose goal but I think, like you, he was a little stretched out there and can't necessarily be be blamed. He is, more importantly, a great leader at the back and just what a relatively young defense needs. The Rapids are building their defense around him, that's for sure.

Rocky Edwards said...

Check your own column:

Who wrote, "The real question is will Kimura be moved to the backline to push Palguta to the bench for Peterson?"

Sounds to me like that puts Palguta on the bench and Baudet starts. I agree with Mr. Manzo - Palguta has been easily the steadiest central defender (with the exception of Moor) all season.

Jason Maxwell said...

Huh? At what point do I suggest that sitting Palguta is what should b e done? I said that the only question mark about the lineup was if that would happen, not that I would do it.

Turns out that was a very good question as that's exactly what Smith decided to do.