Friday, July 9, 2010

Good Morning Toronto!!!

Well technically its a noon kickoff in Toronto, but for us here in Denver its the first ever (I believe) morning game for the Rapids. Kickoff is at 10am MDT tomorrow morning with the game live on KWGN. No official watch parties that early for the Supporters Groups, but I'm sure the usual places will have some Rapids fans watching before the Germany-Uruguay 3rd Place World Cup game. The Rapids are coming on on a 6 game undefeated streak, while Toronto has a 7 game undefeated streak. The Rapids are 0-3 in their history in Toronto though.

Injury Report:
OUT: MF Ciaran O'Brien (L hip sprain); FW Ross Schunk (R ACL tear);
DOUBTFUL: DF Julien Baudet (L knee strain)

Discipline Report:

Unavailable Due To Immigration Issues: MF Mehdi Ballouchy

You read that right. Due to a snafu in his immigration paperwork its very difficult for Ballouchy to re-enter the States if he leaves, so for at least the 2nd year in a row he did not make the trip to Toronto. Let's hope he gets it cleared up by next season when we have a Vancouver trip. Toronto has tow players, their DP DeGuzman included, suspended and a player out to injury. Given Ballouchy's absence, here's my guess at the lineup:

Wynne - Moor - Palguta - Earls
Smith -Larentowicz - Pablo - Clark
Cummings - Casey

I expect we'll revert to the 4-4-2 'empty bucket' we used earlier this season and most of last season. That keeps the best players on the field in their natural positions, at the risk of losing possession more often. Given our scoring difficulties though, adding a second striker may not be a bad idea.

Key To Look For: Set Piece Defense. The Rapids have given up over half their goals this season off of set pieces, while Toronto has scored half their goals from set pieces. We must figure out how do keep the opposition from getting easy goals. If we can do that then we have a chance to get a point out of Canada.

Prediction: 2-1 loss, goal by Conor Casey. Unfortunately I think there's too much going against the Rapids in this one. They're going to have to change formation, they're going to be playing at a weird hour, and they're playing on the road in a place where they have never gotten a point. I expect that Toronto will get the winner late after scoring off a set piece for their first goal. Casey will continue his good run of form but it won't be enough to get a point.

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