Friday, April 9, 2010

We're Off To See The Wizards!

The Rapids head out on their second road trip this season to Kansas City. They'll be there for two games, the league game tomorrow night and a U.S. Open Cup qualifier on Tuesday night. Game time is at 6:30pm on KWGN, and the Supporter's Groups will be having a watch party at Katie Mullins on the 16th Street Mall.

Injury Report:
OUT: MID Ciaran O'Brien (L hip sprain), FWD Ross Schunk (R ACL tear)
DOUBTFUL: GK Ian Joyce (R ankle sprain)

That's a much better injury report than we've seen in the prior two games this season. Only 3 players, none of them likely starters or even subs. Now I think there are a couple of players like Baudet and Smith who aren't on the official injury report but may not really be available for the starting XI. Given that, my guess at the lineup:

Wynne - Palguta - Moor - Earls
Kimura - Larentowicz - Clark
Cummings - Casey

Wynne probed in week 1 that he can play center back. He proved in week 2 that he shouldn't play there all the time. I think he moves back to his wing position this week with Palguta (or Baudet if healthy enough) taking his spot. I'm letting my pro-Kimura bias get in the way, but I think Ballouchy has pretty much failed to do anything as a starter and its time for somebody else. Lopez's paperwork isn't expected to be done and I'm not sure Smith is ready to start so I'm guessing Koz moves forward.

Key To Look For:
Midfield dominance. Our problem last week was linking between the midfield and the Dynamic Duo up front. That's one of the reasons I expect Ballouchy to sit and Gary Smith to give somebody else a try. If we can't get the ball to Cummings and Casey in dangerous positions, especially on the small clogged field in KC, we aren't going to score much.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Omar Cummings. Our defense is unsettled enough that I don't expect a shutout but Cummings has started the season on fire and he'll find a way to score. I don't see either team really stretching the other out and I think it stays close and the Rapids will be happy to take a point on the road and remain undefeated.

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