Game Preview: Rapids v Crew

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by Brendan Wyatt

Oh no, it’s another home game for the Colorado Rapids where the center referee is Baldomero Toledo.  It’s not often this guy works a game where he doesn’t make it about himself; if this were the NFL, we would call him Ed Hochuli.   If the Rapids are to truly turn the corner, a win at home, with Toledo as the center and no red cards shown might just be the obstacle they need to overcome, in order to spark a winning streak. 

Tonight’s visitor is the Columbus Crew, who are 5-8-1 on the season and have won just once in their last eight games.  For two weeks straight C-Bus has been held scoreless which brightens the possibility of not only a winning streak for the Rapids, but two clean sheets in a row.

Injuries and consistency have been an issue for Crew Coach Caleb Porter.  Former Orlando City keeper Joe Bendik may get the nod to start in goal for the Black and Yellow as Zack Steffen is questionable due to concussion protocol.  Harrison Afful, a solid defender for the Crew is out with a broken Jaw and Milton Valenzuela another defender, has a torn ACL and is on the Kortne Ford rehab program. 

Speaking of Kort, he is the only Rapid listed out this week.  I saw him at training as well, he was only doing straight sprints, no turning and no ball work; we can rule him out for June. There will be a small adjustment to the lineup because Lalas Abubakar who is on loan from Columbus is not able to suit up against his contracted team.  Contractually while being on loan you can not play against your own team, meaning Lalas will be watching the game from the press box or the gym. This means Deklan Wynne will most likely return to center back, and Sam Vines will get the nod out left. 

The key to today is navigating the midfield.  Typically, the midfield is the toughest part of the pitch to get through and today will be no exception.  Combining short, multiple passes in quick succession will create space where there isn’t any and put a defense on their heels.  This was a method used in training this week and I expect it to be naturally implemented within the opening few minutes. 

For those of us who were bleeding burgundy during the 2010 campaign may have had some flashbacks last week.  Not to mention that the last time the Rapids won in LA was 2010, but Conor Casey knows what its like to keep these games close and win.  Starting out firing on all cylinders is ideal, but there is a strong chance that the Rapids will play back a little to see how Columbus will play and how Toledo will ref.  The magic may come in the second half.

Predicted starting XI: Tim Howard, Keegan Rosenberry, Deklan Wynne, Tommy Smith, Sam Vines, Jack Price, Cole Bassett, Kellyn Acosta, Jonathan Lewis, Diego Rubio, Kei Kamara.

Colorado

OUT: Kortne Ford (knee)

QUESTIONABLE: NA

Suspended: None

Columbus Crew

  • OUT: Milton Valenzuela (D) – torn ACL, Harrison Afful (D) – broken jaw
  • QUESTIONABLE: Waylon Francis (D) – left thigh injury, Zack Steffen (GK) – concussion

Suspended: None

How to Watch

Match Date/Time: Sunday, May 25th, 7pm MT

Venue: Dicks Sporting goods Park, Commerce City, CO

Officials:

  • Referee: Baldomero Toledo
  • Assistant Referees: Matthew Nelson, Eduardo Mariscal
  • 4th Official: Guido Gonzales Jr
  • VAR: Robert Sibiga