Friday, March 18, 2011

Rapids Raise Championship Banner Tomorrow!

Before I start this I wanted to point out the request for help that Kosuke Kimura wrote for the New York Times soccer blog today. I've added the link to the Red Cross donation page he linked to on the top of the right column and I'll leave it there for the season. Please help if you can, and the supporters are planning another auction/raffle for the Red Cross for some point this season. I'll post news on that as it comes.

Tomorrow night the Colorado Rapids will celebrate their 2010 MLS Cup victory by raising a championship banner at the Dick. Oh, there's also the season opening game. ;) The Rapids welcome the Portland Timbers to Major League Soccer as they play their first ever MLS game. Oddly enough the Rapids will bookend their season by ending it in Vancouver against the other expansion team.

Game time at the Dick tomorrow is at 7pm, but the Rapids are encouraging everyone to get to their seats by 6:30 in order to see the banner raising and other parts of the champions ceremony. Class VI and Pid Army will start the tailgate at 4pm. The location this year is in the same West VIP parking lot, but we're moving to to the East end of that lot, directly in front of the Cantina.

Injury Report:
OUT: FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear)
QUESTIONABLE: DF Tyrone Marshall (R hamstring strain)
PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain/R hamstring strain)

Its a little concerning seeing Pickens on the injury list already, hopefully its just the rust getting knocked off the muscles. I'm sure he'll be ready to start tomorrow. Portland has 3 players out and a 4th questionable. I think the starting XI is fairly obvious, but here's my best guess:
Kimura - Wynne - Moor - Wallace
Mullan - Mastroeni - Larentowicz - Smith
Cummings - Casey

I'd be shocked if we saw anyone else, but who knows what Gary Smith has planned. I expect Caleb Folan to be suited up and available off the bench, but I don't know if we'll actually see him.

Key To Look For: The Rapids need to not overlook this game. Its the opening game of the season, against an expansion team, and preceded by a big ceremony celebrating last year's accomplishments. It would be very easy for the team to take the game for granted. John Spencer will have his guys ready to play and they're going to want to make a good first impression in the league. If we don't keep our focus we could get burned.

Prediction: 2-0 Rapids win. Goals by Casey and Cummings. Despite my concern about overlooking this game I think Colorado will want to put on a show. Casey and Cummings will come out and push a questionable Timber defense until it breaks, and the back 4 will be able to handle Kenny Cooper Jr.

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