The Rapids are in New York this week to face NYCFC. The last time the burgundy boys traveled to Gotham they got smashed 5-1. NYCFC is also undefeated at home so far this season with a 4-0-0 record; it seems as though NYCFC has figured out how to play soccer on a pitch that is the size of a hockey rink. There isn’t much history between these two teams, but the Rapids have yet to beat Mini Man City going 0-1-2 so far.
Both teams have gone three games without a win, the difference is NYCFC has been able to grab a point or two along the way. There could be some tactical changes for either team on Saturday.
As for the Rapids, playing wide with wingbacks won’t get much done, nor will long ball and attempting to drop the ball in behind the defense. The two tactics that the burgundy boys rely on, won’t have much of an effect playing on an indoor pitch, outside – all that is missing are walls.
What will work is a team press and a high one at that. Collapsing on the ball and forcing the players to make unwanted or unnecessary passes into blind space, will create space in an area where there isn’t any.
Rapids fans are starting to get used to a roster where certain players are getting more playing time than others due to work rate, I don’t expect that to change today.
As for threats, there may not be Frank Lampard, but there still is David Villa (who has a league record 68 goals scored so far in his career here) but more importantly Ismael Tajouri-Shradi who has fired off 8 shots this season with 5 on target; all five on target found the back of the net; so don’t let that guy shoot.
It should be noted that since Johan Blomberg has been out of the lineup the Rapids have not been able to score more than one goal; or win a game. Since there has been almost nothing regarding his absence in the lineup, or his presence on the training pitch it could only be assumed that he will be MIA once again. I personally feel his absence is more vital than any other Rapids player who isn’t on the pitch. Without Blomberg the Rapids have had to resort to ass & elbow ball and it hasn’t worked.
Dom Badji will most likely be out for this game after having to be a last minute scratch from last weeks game. While it may have been a precaution, the fans are beginning to learn that everything takes a week or three when it comes to recoveries. Also sitting is Jack Price, who will miss his first match of the season due to yellow card accumulation.
This still may be a “preseason” match for a few players, but that does not mean that a loss would suffice; nothing less than a point will do; otherwise the hard questions will begin to get asked. Like: Aigner had a preseason, we’ve seen performances, we’ve seen him train so what is the real reason he is not in the first team 18? Or We continue to drop points while continuing to not play players who have proven to produce them, why is that?
East coast games mean that the fans get to start Soccer Saturday at least two hours early and this one has an 11am start time.
Predicted starting XI: Tim Howard, Deklan Wynne, Danny Wilson, Tommy Smith, Nana Boateng, Enzo Martinez, Michael Azira, Sam Nicholson, Edgar Castillo, Joe Mason, Yannick Boli.
OUT: OUT: D – Kortne Ford (left MCL sprain), D – Marlon Hairston (right knee surgery)
SUSPENDED: Jack Price
SUSPENDED AFTER NEXT CAUTION:F – Dominique Badji
QUESTIONABLE: D – Maxime Chanot (undisclosed injury)
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Saturday, May 19th at 11am MST
Venue:Yankee Stadium, NY, NY
TV Information: AltitudeTV
Live Stream: ESPN+ (subscription required)
C38: Viewing parties @ Celtic on Market & Murphy’s Taphouse