Monday, June 15, 2015

Rapids Face First Intra-State Matchup To Start USOC

For the first time ever the Rapids will play a competitive match against another Colorado-based team.  The USL Colorado Springs Switchbacks make the drive up I-25 for the 4th Round U.S. Open Cup match at the Dick tomorrow at 7pm.

Its always hard to predict how these games will go.  Until last year the Rapids seemed to take every opportunity to blow off this competition by playing plenty of reserves and not competing for hosting.  Last year they hosted both games they played and put out pretty close to first team lineups, but still got beat by an Atlanta Silverbacks team that wasn't afraid to play dirty.

One thing we know is that neither Marc Burch or Pablo will be on the sidelines for this one as they will be serving their suspensions for their ejection in that Atlanta game last season.  So we will, presumably, see Claudio Lopez leading the team from the sideline.  We've heard that new Naval Academy grad Joseph Greenspan will get his first professional playing time in this one.  I would also expect Zac MacMath to get the start in goal and players like Hairston, Serna, and O'Neill to start.

The other half of the lineup is the real question mark.  Rapids leadership (Hinchey/Bravo/Pablo) has said all the right things about wanting to win everything and take this competition seriously and last year they backed those words up with the decisions they made, the players just let them down.  This year though the Rapids play tomorrow, Friday night, next Wednesday on the road, next Saturday on the road, and if they win tomorrow night, the following Tuesday/Wednesday in the Open Cup 5th Round (location to be determined), then the following Saturday in the annual 4th of July home game.  That's 5 or 6 games in an 18 day window including a trip to Florida so I could see Pablo wanting to rest players despite coming off a 9 day break.

My hope is that we see guys like Solignac and Sarvas get a break but Doyle (since he hasn't played in 16 days) and Cronin play.  Kind of a A-/B+ team.  My fear is that we see Watts, Riley, and Badji while all the "first teamers" get a break.

I predict a win if we put out a B+ team or better.  The Switchbacks will be up for this one but they played 3 times last week and the Rapids will be rested.  I predict a loss if we put out all reserves.

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