Friday, June 23, 2017

Rapids Hope To Survive Terminus

Luis Suarez is probably the closest thing to a walker in football

Colorado breaks new ground tomorrow, taking their first ever trip to Atlanta to face expansion side United.  The game is at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd stadium, probably the only time the Rapids will play there as Atlanta will move into the new Falcons stadium in August.  This will not be a battle of U.S. goalkeepers though as Guzan is not eligible to play for Atlanta until the window opens in two week.  Game time tomorrow is 5pm and the game is on Altitude.  C38 is running a bus up to Fort Collins for a brewery tour and then a watch party up there.

Burling is certainly out for this one.  Boateng, Saied, Doyle, and Gashi are listed as questionable.  I expect we may see Baoteng coming off the bench as the Rapids posted a video of him participating in 5 on 2 drills in Atlanta today.  I doubt we see the other three unless Doyle's hand issue can be padded in a way to allow him to play through it.  Atlanta will be missing 3 players including former Rapids forward Jacob Peterson.

Obviously with our 3rd game in a week and the 4th game of 7 in a 22 game run we're going to see some lineup rotation.  Combined with our injuries we'll probably see some combination of Miller, Williams, Powers, Watts, and Calvert getting the start to replace some of our more tired players.

Prediction: 2-1 loss, goal by Gatt.  Atlanta has the best offense in the league but one of the worst defenses.  That won't be enough help to the Rapids offense though.  Given our patchwork lineup due to injury and our busy schedule I don't see getting a result here.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rapids Lose Game And Players

Well, that couldn't have gone much worse.  The Rapids were fighting a uphill battle from 5 minutes in and after a disastrous performance from their back line a 3-1 loss was probably fair.  On top of that they may have lost Saied to a serious knee injury and Doyle may have broken his hand.  Not a good night.

  • If Gatt had scored that shot in the opening minute the game might have been very different.  He didn't even get it on target though (a theme that would continue for him the rest of the night)
  • Horrible touch from Sjoberg put him under pressure and then a lucky bounce as Axel desperately tried to clear it set LA up for their first goal
  • The Rapids were a little unlucky not to be leading at half as they had the better of the play and a number of good chances.  They just, once again, couldn't finish
  • After halftime, unlike the last couple of games, the team was flat and lifeless.  I don't know if it was the heat or the short rest but we looked much like the team that started the season, which isn't a good thing
  • da Fonte got worked by Joao Pedro on the second LA goal.  I don't know if he thought the ball was going out of play or what but it shows he has a lot to learn at this level still.  Ford did his best to stay with McBean but it was too much to ask
  • Ford made his own error on the PK, making it 3 of the 4 members of the backline making critical mistakes that led to LA goals
  • Pablo's 3 at once sub was a "why not" moment.  Down a goal with Saied injured they had to try something to get back into the game
  • I don't know why the Rapids  have instituted ticket checks entering and leaving the section every time, especially on nights like last night.  Are they really worried that everyone is sitting in the right spot in a half empty stadium?
  • The Bodmer Line is now at 1.58 pts/game the rest of the way.  Doable, but difficult
Man of the Match: Dillon Serna.  Yeah, I took the easy way out and picked the goal-scorer.  Mainly because nobody stood out last night.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rapids Host Galaxy On Pride Night

Its a busy time for the Rapids with their 3rd of 5 games in a two week span tomorrow night.  Colorado's long-time rivals (at one point a few years ago this was the most played competitive fixture between MLS teams) LA are in town and both teams will be celebrating Pride Month.  LA will be wearing rainbow warm-up jerseys and the Rapids will have the scarf shown above for sale (LA will have a scarf at their next home game).  They actually had it for sale on Saturday as well and I picked one up.  On the backside is an image of Denver's skyline in rainbow colors on a night sky.  Kickoff tomorrow is 7pm so the tailgate starts at 4.  The game is on Altitude for those who can't make it.

The Rapids will be missing Burling and Boateng tomorrow and Gashi is questionable.  Nobody else is listed on an injury report anywhere, for what that's worth.  LA is down 6 players to injury including Jermaine Jones, though he is rumored to be back this weekend so he could make an appearance.

My guess is that we see some rotation in the lineup due to the busy schedule.  Miller and Williams may show up in the wingback positions, Powers may get a start next to Azira, and Calvert might be an option up front.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Doyle.  Yeah, same prediction as last Saturday.  LA has a better offense and a slightly worse defense,, but we have the home field advantage and the benefit of no travel.  Those all cancel out into a draw.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rapids Leave It Late In Toppling Timbers

Well, the Rapids have figured out how to win, just not how to win easily.  For the third game in a row Colorado had to come from behind to get the three points.  Just like the Columbus game, Gordon scored a late header for a 2-1 win.  It may not be the prettiest way but it is exciting and gets us 3 points!
  • This is the first time since 1999 that the Rapids have won 3 games in a row when the opponent also scored
  • Surprisingly Colorado is only 3 points off the playoff pace at this point.  If they win both games this week they'll be ahead of the average pts/game for the 6th placed team
  • The first half was a mess.  The defense was constantly pulled out of shape, largely due to the ineffective midfield
  • I'm not sure what Azira was doing on Portland's goal.  He correctly backs up Hairston, allowing Marlon to switch off to the overlapping run but instead of forcing Blanco outside towards Hairston and the worse angle he overruns the play giving Blanco the full use of his dangerous right foot and he made us pay
  • Pablo came out of the locker room significantly before the players for the second half.  Best guess is that there was a player-led discussion going on about getting things straightened out
  • I'll be honest, I thought that through ball from Doyle on Badjji's goal was too close to the defender.  Talk about inch perfect placement
  • Badji may be learning, in the past he would have blasted that ball instead of chipping it
  • The sub of Wats for Serna and moving Saied inside changed the game.  It settled down the midfield and gave Saied a chance to control the game
  • Pablo made a second good change when he went for the win by putting 3 up front.  It paid off in the Gordon goal
  • That's why we brought Gordon in and he's gotten us 4 points in the last 2 league games with last-minute headers.  He's almost paid for his salary already
  • Credit to Pablo for the coaching on this one.  Its  one of the few games where he out-coached the  opposition to get a result
  • Ford was a beat the whole game.  He's still relying on athleticism over reading the game but he's learning quickly
  • Great atmosphere in the second half at DSG
Man of the Match: Kevin Doyle.  Putting hi behind two (not one) forward really let him hold and distribute, as we saw on the assist.  He also did a lot of work tracking down balls and generating the attack.  Maybe his best "quiet" game as a Rapid.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rapids Look to Break The Timbers

Back to league action after the break.  The Timbers are in town tonight for the 4th straight home game (including the USOC) for the Rapids.  Its a 3 game week with LA coming here on Wednesday and a trip to expansion Atlanta next weekend so how Pablo uses his lineup will be interesting to watch.  Unusual start time of 7:30pm this one as this game was originally scheduled for national tV on FS1 tomorrow but after it was dropped it was moved to tonight and presumably either Altitude or Root Sports (Portland's affiliate) has something scheduled at the more usual 7pm start time.  Tailgate will start at 4:30.

Burling is certainly not available for the Rapids.  Boateng and Gashi are both questionable but I doubt we see them.  Supposedly Sjoberg and Ford are recovered from their injuries but I have my doubts they'll start.  Watts played in the USOC game so I expect to see him at CB tonight.Portland has two out and a number of questionable players so both teams will be running out patchwork back lines tonight.

Portland has a top 5 offense and a middle of the road defense that's banged up.  Colorado, as we all know, has a bad offense and a top 5 defense.  So we can expect most of the action to be in the Rapids defensive half.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Doyle.  This won't be pretty for the Rapids but they'll get the point.