Pre-Game: @ San Jose

by Brendan Wyatt

There was some transfer window news this week regarding our beloved burgundy boys with the announcement that the Rapids landed 29 year old German winger Stefan Aigner (EYE-gner) to a three and a half year contract.  The Rapids also extended Axel Sjoberg’s contract by another three years.

The odds of Aigner playing today against San Jose are very slim. He is most likely with the team but has not yet trained with them, so if we were to see our new signing I would expect it to come at home next week.  There is only one transfer in a least a few years I can think of where the newly acquired player started in the very next math and that was Tim Howard.

The match preview provided by MLSSOCCER.COM has no one listed out for injury, despite the fact we all know Gashi is still dealing with Achilles concerns.  Bobby Burling is still out with a bum foot while Josh Gatt is still questionable.  Jared Watts came off the bench to replace Kortne Ford who picked up a knock; the fan consensus would love to see the Sjoberg/Watts pairing again.  Mekeil Williams is no longer suspended for yellow cards, but that doesn’t mean he will start.  Coach Pablo went on record calling Marlon Hairston one of the best right backs in the league; will Pabs play him at RB or continue to play guys who may not be 100% at their position?

The Rapids v Earthquakes matchup is a tale of two stories; home and away.  At home, the Rapids can and have taken points from San Jose, but when the Rapids travel to Cali’s retirement city, they have yet to win at Avaya Stadium and are 8-15-7 overall when traveling to San Jose.  Should the Rapids win today, it will close the gap between them and the Earthquakes in the standings; to put it plainly, today’s game is a six pointer.

San Jose is not the same team that we saw the Rapids score three against.  The first move was firing Dom Kinnear and replacing him with Chris Leitch.  The Quakes have also brought in a couple new guys to help bring them wins in both the offense and defense.  The Quakes are looking to rebound from an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Seattle and it would be safe to assume that the players haven’t forgotten the 3-0 defeat they suffered here at DSGP.

This game has all the tangibles for another midfield grudge match.  This is a game where the passing of Nana Boateng could spring chances for Kevin Doyle, Dillon Serna and Dom Badji.  There is a chance that Coach Pablo will opt for the workhorses Azira and Saied, which won’t get us out of the midfield, but will keep the Quakes from getting on the board.  Pabs has said that he will give Tim Howard some rest after his Gold Cup run, so that means Zac MacMath will get another start.

It’s a 6pm kickoff for this one, if you are not partaking in the brew tour prior to the game, you can still catch the viewing party at Blue Spruce, as well as all the other pubs and bars C38 takes over on gameday.

Predicted starting XI: MacMatch, Hairston, Watts, Sjoberg, Miller, Saied, Azira, Boateng, Serna, Doyle, Badji.

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