Monday, August 22, 2011

Colorado Makes First CCL Road Trip

The Rapids have taken 19 players on the long trip to Honduras, their first trip outside the U.S. & Canada for a meaningful game in 13 years. Tomorrow they face Real Espana in San Pedro Sula in their second Champions League match. While Pablo, Pickens, Wynne, and Smith stayed in Colorado the rest of the starters traveled with the team and will be available for selection. Game time tomorrow is 8pm MDT and the game will be on FOX Soccer Channel.

Real Espana are the defending Honduran Apertura champions, their first championship since the 2006 Apertura. They did finish second in the 2008-09 Apertura and Clasura. This is Espana's second appearance in the Champions League. Last year they made it through the qualification round with an aggregate 6-3 win over Costa Rica's Liberia Mia, then finished last in their group with 6 points and a -8 goal differential. In the first group stage game this year they lost 3-2 at Santos Laguna.

I expect Colorado to approach this game very conservatively. Despite the likes of Drew Moor, Omar Cummings, and Brian Mullan making the trip I would be willing to bet they start the game on the bench. We'll probably see LaBauex, Holody, and Folan in the starting lineup. The backline in particular could be quite young, with Steward Ceus in the nets behind them.

Prediction: 1-0 Rapids loss. I think there's enough experience on the trip for the Rapids to keep the game close, but I don't expect enough of it to start for the Rapids to get a point. Many players will be getting their first taste of being a visiting team in Central America and that's something you just can't really prepare for. I wouldn't be shocked if we pulled off a draw, but it would be a nice surprise.

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