Friday, July 15, 2011

Mullan Grudge Match In Seattle

Might as well accept it. Regardless of the actual facts tomorrow the Rapids are going to be the evil thugs who are single-handedly bringing down the level of play in MLS while Seattle while Seattle is the shining example of all that is good in MLS.

OK, so that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Colorado heads to Seattle tomorrow for the teams first match-up since Mullan's horrible tackle on Zakuani. Due to his back spasms, the fact the Rapids are healthy except for Kandji, the schedule (3 games this week), and a possibility of threats from Seattle fans that the Rapids FO was taking seriously a month or so ago, Brian Mullan has been left in Colorado. That's not going to change the reaction the defending champs will get form the fans in CenturyLink Field though. Due to a Mariners game next door in Safeco Field (scheduled to be Happy Felix Day!) at 7pm, kickoff for the Rapids tomorrow is 2pm MDT. The game will be nationally televised on FOX Soccer Channel and Class VI and the Pid Army are gathering at the Highlands Tavern to watch the game.

Injury Report:
QUESTIONABLE: FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear); DF Danny Earls (L quadriceps contusion)
PROBABLE: MF Brian Mullan (lower back spasms); MF Joseph Nane (R shoulder strain); GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain); DF Anthony Wallace (R quad strain)

Disciplinary Report:
SUSPENDED AFTER 2 MORE CAUTIONS: FW Conor Casey; MF Ross LaBauex; MF Jeff Larentowicz; DF Tyrone Marshall; DF Drew Moor; DF Anthony Wallace

As mentioned, Mullan will not be available for this game. Kandji is the only other player not available for selection. Seattle has 3 players unavailable, all likely starters. Most of the starting XI is fairly obvious, but my guess:

Kimura - Wynne - Marshall - Moor
Nyassi - Pablo- Larentowicz - Smith
Casey - Cummings

I'd like to see LaBauex starting in Mullan's place, but back in Seattle I think Smith will go with the former Sounder. The other 10 spots are very obvious.

Key To Look For: This game will be won or lost in midfield. Seattle might have the best full midfield in the league, but Colorado has (IMO) the best 1-2 punch of defensive mids in Mastroeni and Larentowicz. The team that can get the ball through the midfield to its strikers in dangerous positions will win.

Prediction: 1-0 loss. Honestly I can see a 0-0 or 1-1 draw happening too, but I just have a sense that this game will be ugly soccer in midfield with neither team getting a lot of good chances. The wild card will be the grass laid over the normal turf field and I think an odd bounce will fool the Rapids and give the Sounders a goal.

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