Friday, September 4, 2009

Take Off Eh, You Hosers!

That's right, the boys from the 51st state are in town to face Colorado. Its the first of a double-header, the Rapids will head to the Great White North next week to face Toronto on the road. Because of the U.S National Team game and the Fox Soccer Channel coverage the game will start 30 minutes later at 8pm. The Cantina will open at 5:30 and all fans are invited there to watch the Nats World Cup Qualifier against El Salvador at 6pm. The supporters groups will still have their normal tailgate before the game starting at 6pm.

Official Injury Report:
OUT: MF Colin Clark (L ACL tear); MF Jamie Smith (L knee strain); DF Cory Gibbs (R thigh strain); PROBABLE: DF Scott Palguta (R calf strain)

Official Discipline Report:
SUSPENDED: Pablo Mastroeni (1st of 3 games)
ONE CAUTION FROM SUSPENSION: Conor Casey
TWO CAUTIONS FROM SUSPENSION: Mehdi Ballouchy, Omar Cummings, Cory Gibbs, Scott Palguta

International Absences:
Conor Casey - USA

Carl Robinson is questionable for Toronto and Guevara is with his National Team. There is a small chance that Casey might be available for the game. Due to (presumably) emergency wisdom teeth removal he wasn't able to go to the Nats camp until late this week, if he went at all. If he wasn't able to train with the Nats and/or Bradley tells him he won't be used tomorrow night he may still be able to join the Rapids for the game, should his teeth allow. Its a long shot though so I'm assuming he'll be missing when I put together my best guess (and this week its really a guess) at a lineup:

Pickens
Kimura - Baudet - Palguta - Harvey
Dalby
Peterson - LaBrocca - Ballouchy
Cummings - Diz

A number of new names on that lineup. Baudet and Palguta seem to be the obvious choices to replace the traded Ihemelu and the injured Gibbs. Drew Moor could factor into the starting lineup but I'm guessing that Gary Smith will want him to get some more experience with his teammates before starting. Dalby seems the logical choice to fill in for the suspended Mastroeni, but LaBrocca could also move back to that position. In that case Noonan is likely to start at center/attacking mid. Peterson and Ballouchy are really our only choices out wide. Cooke's been cut and Clark and Smith are injured. Diz is the natural replacement up front for the big-man role Casey's been filling, but Noonan could just as easily take the spot if he's not needed in midfield.

Key To Look For:

Read the last paragraph again. 5 new starters from last week at minimum. The key is can all the new faces play as a team or is it going to be 11 individual players out there? The only good news is that we don't have to pull this off for the first time on the road. Gary Smith is going to earn his coaching stripes over the next few weeks as he juggles the injuries and suspensions. It starts tomorrow night.

Prediction: 1-0 win, goal by Omar Cummings. I expect to see a good deal of ugly and forgettable soccer from both sides. Neither side has been playing great lately. With Toronto on the road at altitude (and apparently had plane difficulties getting her on Friday) and all the new faces for the Rapids there isn't going to be much flow to this game. Still I think the home field advantage will be enough for the Rapids to pull out a win.

1 comment:

the yorkies said...

Thanks for the comment on our site. We left you a follow-up question there. Us TFC "hosers" love to chat MLS with other supporters too - especially in Southern Canada! Would be great to build up some kind of false back-to-back match rivalry between Rapids and TFC but really, what could you call it? The Enigma Derby? Two teams who can drop easy points at any moment. Cheers!