Monday, November 21, 2016

One Last Road Trip

One way or the other, this is the last road game

Ok, after two weeks off for international play (and international injuries) time to gt back to the MLS playoffs.  Down to the final 4.  Over in the east it will be the battle of Canada while here in the West its my current town vs, my home town.  Historically Seattle has been a very bad host for us but the last couple of time up to the Emerald City we've turned the tables on them.  Remember that this is once again the first of two legs and the away goals tiebreaker is in effect.

Player Availability:
OUT: GK Tim Howard (season ending abductor break) M Dillon Serna (season ending ACL tear)
QUESTIONABLE: M Shkelzen Gashi (ankle)
ONE YELLOW FROM SUSPENSION: D Jared Watts; M Sam Cronin; M Shelkzen Gashi; M Jermaine Jones, F Dominique Badji

Dempsey is out and 5 players, including Morris, are Questionable for Seattle.  There's also been talk during the break that Marco Pappa picked up a bit of a knock and may or may not be available.  Otherwise no real surprise from the injury list but we'll need guys like Cronin and Jones (and Gashi if he plays) to be careful not to pick up a second yellow and be suspended for the home leg on Sunday.

Starting XI Prediction:

I'm expecting Burling to start over watts in the back for two reasons.  First, with the loss of Howard adding some more veteran leadership in the defense will be helpful.  Secondly this is the center back pairing that MacMath was comfortable and successful with in the first half of the season.

I expect the Cronin-Azira pairing (instead of Powers) due to needing to shut down Lodeiro.  Seattle has been a different team (one we haven't faced) since his arrival and to keep the game (and series) close we'll need to take him out of the game as much as possible.  Cronin-Azira are better suited for that IMO.

Up front I'm kind of guessing.  Pablo said all hands on deck so I expect Jones to start but I'm not sure who will be flanking him.  It could be Hairston.  It could be Badji up front with Doyle coming off the bench..  Its a safe bet Gashi won't start, we might see him for the last 15 minutes or so off the bench but that's all I would expect.

Prediction: 1-0 loss.  Similar to Leg 1 in LA I expect Colorado to be very conservative and try to get back home with a scoreless draw.  Also similar to LA, I don't expect them to be successful.  I like our chances at home as long as we keep it to at most a 1 goal loss so 1-0 wouldn't be horrible.  2-1 with the away goal would be better though.

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