Friday, April 30, 2010

Play To Win

Colorado is back on the road again this week. This time they are in San Jose playing the Clash, err, Earthquakes, err Earthquakes 2.0. The Rapids are on a 2 game win streak (3 if you count the USOC play-in) and have won 2 of their 3 road games. Last year they won 2 road games total. Colorado has not beaten San Jose since they re-entered the league after the original San Jose side was moved to Houston though. Last year we pulled out two 1-1 draws in back-to-back games, both draws coming when the Rapids earned stoppage time penalty kicks. This week's game is at 8pm MDT on KWGN. No official watch party but most of the usual haunts will have some Rapids fans watching the game.

Injury Report:
OUT: MID Ciaran O'Brien (L hip sprain), FWD Ross Schunk (R ACL tear)
QUESTIONABLE: MID Jamie Smith (hamstring)

Jamie Smith is out again, which is annoying. With the new lineup deployed in New England though that doesn't hurt as much. San Jose has 3 players probable so they're in better shape than we are. My guess on the starting XI:

Kimura - Wynne - Moor - Earls
Pablo - Larentowicz
Cummings - Ballouchy - Clark

I think that we'll stay with the 4-5-1 after the success last weekend. The only real two question marks for me are possibly Baudet starting and if Clark isn't worked back into the starting XI now that we're off the turf. I think Colin is clearly a better player than Wells Thompson, but Thompson has been playing well and Gary Smith may want to keep his roll going.

Key To Look For:
Midfield dominance. If the midfield can perform like they did last week then I'll consider this problem on the road to a solution. They have to show me that can do it in back-to-back weeks though. The Rapids have a long history of up and down play and I'm not willing to consider the problem solved based on one week's play.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal Omar Cummings. The Rapids long history of frustration on the road leaves me hesitant to predict back to back wins. San Jose is a team we should beat, but we've said that for the last two years and failed to do it. I'm being conservative with this pick because I can see us winning this game but I'm gun shy at getting too excited about this team before they really prove it.

1 comment:

Jester said...

I would take a tie on the road right now. Obviously, I would love to see us win a third straight (when was the last time that happened?)! I would also expect the same starting 11 from last week. I don't remember Smith ever changing lineups after a win, injury and suspensions aside. He seems the "if it's not broken, don't fix it" kinda guy.
Clark still seems a bit timid, he seem's to be 100% physically, but he's still got a ways to go before his confidence is back to where it was last summer. He doesn't seem too anxious to go one on one against defenders yet. I wouldn't be suprised to see him come off the bench again this week.
Wells Thompson, I think, has been a great addition to the team this year. He's been active and enegetic, and linking well with the rest of the midfield and forwards. He has gotten better each game and I think he has earned the start, and Collin will have to win it back.

If Larentowicz continues to play the way he has been, I could see him or Thompson sneaking a winner.

For me, this game will be the real test of whether the team has progressed over previous years, consistency wise. Which team will show up this week, the one that played so well last week in Boston,or the one that played so poorly in K.C.?