Pre-Game: Houston Dynamo

by Brendan Wyatt

The Rapids are back home and ready to defend the fortress that is Dicks Sporting Goods Park.  The last week of results are forgotten, mistakes are learned from, and the guys who are healthy will be called upon to fight it out against Houston.

The Rapids cannot deny that the injury bug has infected the locker room.  Along with Bobby Burling who has been sidelined for a couple weeks now; Axel Sjoberg, Shkelzen Gashi and Dillon Powers all left the game on Tuesday due to injuries.  Add to that the suspension of Michael Azira because of yellow cards accumulated, the Rapids are destined to have a mixed up line up once again.  Oh, did I mention that Josh Gatt is also listed as questionable for this match; because he is as well.

That is half the regular starting XI that is out due to injury (and one suspension) and with the last two starting lineups failing to produce results your guess as to whom to use today is as good as mine.  If we are truly starting to look at building for the future, then we may just see the likes of Kortne Ford, Dillon Serna, Nana Boateng, Caleb Calvert, Sam Hamilton and Ricky Perez.  A bit of positive news though, Mo Saied is available for selection today as his injury was a bone bruise.  With Azira out I would think that it is almost imperative that Saied get the nod to start today.

The Rapids are 2-1-2 against The Dynamo in the last five meetings, 7-3-3 when the Rapids are at home. Houston, like Colorado, are winless when they are on the road.  The Voice Podcast crew has discussed Houston a few times, claiming that they are the Rapids of 2016. While they may sit in second place in the Western Conference standings, they are not complete and are vulnerable to defeat.

Houston plays with three up front, much like the way we saw the Rapids play under Oscar.  Houston’s coach Wilmer Cabrera was the Rapids assistant coach under Oscar, therefore Houston’s playing style is nearly identical to that of Dallas now and the Rapids then.

Will Coach Pablo have the solution to a wide, creative and quick attack?  I say we beat them at their own game.  Without Gatt on the wing, we will look to Serna and Hairston to create chaos on the outside.  Calvert has speed, we just haven’t seen him use it lately and today could be a good day to unleash the beast.  With Mo Saied back in the mix and assuming Nana is good for another 90, the creative chances should come and then it will be all about finishing.

Today is the warm up for July 4th as far as the fan goes.  Tailgate kicks off at 4, with fireworks after the game.  There will be fireworks on the 4th too, but have two firework games a year is becoming standard now.

Predicted starting XI: Howard, Hairston, Ford, Watts, Miller, Badji, Saied, Boateng, Serna, Doyle, Calvert

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