Pre-Game: Rapids v Timbers

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by Brendan Wyatt

We are finally here, the beginning of the 2019 MLS season and more importantly, it’s the home opener for the Colorado Rapids.  In what could be a potential Snow Clasico 3.0 the Rapids will take on last years runner up to the MLS cup, the Portland Timbers. 

The Timbers off season was a quiet one and in the eyes of some you might say that had the mentality of “if it ain’t broken, don’t try to fix it”.  The Timbers were also unsuccessful in landing a DP forward, trying twice to pick off players from Tigres only to come up empty handed.  Their off season wasn’t a total bust as they did pick up a few USL players and couple MLS vets.

As for the Rapids, their offseason has been an active one.  Adding Kei Kamara helps, as does Keegan Rosenberry, Diego Rubio and Nicholas Mezquida but who isn’t really being discussed is Benny Feilhaber; dude comes with a bag of Tim Howard-like experience and it will be nice to see a proper #6 back in burgundy.   

Not to take anything away from Jack Price, who is listed as questionable for today’s game; if anything, adding Benny to the midfield should make Price’s life a bit easier.  With both Feilhaber and Acosta just in front of him, traffic shouldn’t be too congested in the midfield.

It’s the back line that has the fanbase a bit concerned. Last year the team had the second worse goal differential in the league with a -27. Again, the major additions that the Rapids have made have roughly all been attack minded players.  The Rapids did make some defensive signings and have their eyes set on some homegrown talent that will help the back line, but none of them are ready for todays opener. That includes new signing Kofi Opare who is listed out with a foot injury.  Opare came to the Rapids via DC, where just two years ago he was the top center back for D.C. United.  Along with Opare, Kortne Ford is still out as his knee is nearly ready for full training.  Kortne will be braving the elements today as he will be joining us at the Voice of C38 tent for a little chat before the game. 

The rest of the injury list might make you cringe a little.  In a perfect world, a fan wants to see its team at its full potential at the beginning of the season but that won’t be the case this year.   Sam Nicholson’s back still isn’t right, Sam Vines is almost back from a major quad injury, Danny Wilson has a calf issue and with the weather as it is, any player with a muscle concern will most likely take a seat. Deklan Wynne has a groin injury, meanwhile iron men Jack Price and Tommy Smith are listed as questionable with knee injuries.  Tommy Smith did come out to the C38 kickoff party last night which to me says he will most likely not be playing today. This could be the first game that Smith would miss since joining the Rapids.

The Rapids have done fairly well in home openers in the past and when playing against Portland at home the Rapids are 6-2-3.  Yes, it will be orange ball weather and it will most likely dump a few inches of snow on us, but it won’t be as cold as last years CCL game against Toronto, nor as bad as the USMNT game against Costa Rica. If you ask anyone (including myself) who has been at those games, they will tell you it’s a memorable match that you will tell your friends about for a very long time.

Predicted starting XI: Tim Howard, Nana Boateng, Keegan Rosenberry, Axel Sjoberg, Dillon Serna, Jack Price, Benny Feilhaber, Kellyn Acosta, Nicholas Mezquida, Diego Rubio, Kei Kamara.

Colorado

  • OUT: Kortne Ford (D) – knee, Kofi Opare (D) – foot
  • QUESTIONABLE: Sam Nicholson (M) – back,Tommy Smith (D) – knee, Sam Vines (D) – quad, Danny Wilson (D) – calf , Deklan Wynne (D) – groin

PROBABLE: None

Suspended: None

Suspended after next caution: None

Portland

OUT: Aljaz Ivacic (GK) – left tibial stress fracture

QUESTIONABLE: None

PROBABLE: None

Suspended: None

Suspended after next caution: None

How to Watch

Match Date/Time: Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 4 p.m. MT

Venue: Dicks Sporting Goods Park — Commerce City, CO

TV Information: AltitudeTV

Radio: 92.5 FM

Live Stream: ESPN+ (subscription required)

C38 Tailgate: Starts at 1pm Kortne ford due to arrive at 2:45