Colorado Rapids vs. Chicago Fire - Three Keys to the Game

COMMERCE CITY, CO - APRIL 30: Omar Cummings #14 of the Colorado Rapids and Yamith Cuesta #89 of the Chicago Fire battle for control of the ball at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on April 30, 2011 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It's about time for the Colorado Rapids to put that loss behind them. What loss, you may ask? Exactly, I say. In all seriousness, the team's response to the 4-1 loss to New York will be a good indicator of how they'll be able to manage the full season together, specifically during problematic stretches. Good teams take losses like that and turn them into mere blips on the radar; how many people remembered the 3-1 clobbering the Rapids took in NY in 2010 after they lifted the MLS Cup?

Here's three keys to beating the Chicago Fire at DSGP tomorrow and making us all forget about that unfortunate loss.

Martin Rivero's Play - Yeah, this one seems obvious, and it is. Still, Martin Rivero was easily the most hyped player brought in by the Rapids since... well, it's been a while since anyone with that much hype was brought in to wear the Burgundy and White. Coming into his first appearance at home against a good but not New York caliber of good team like the Chicago Fire will give him a place to show his stuff. If he falters, nerves or no, the questions will probably start immediately even if they'll be jumping the gun a bit. If he brings as much quality as he's supposed to be bringing, the Rapids should be able to handle the Fire at least on the offensive side of things. Speaking of which...

Stay Strong, Center Backs - Marvell Wynne and Drew Moor weren't bad in the loss to New York, but their lack of being there at times against Theirry Henry was a bit disturbing even if the midfield were the starters of most of the commotion. Chicago have a lot of fast, shifty guys in their offense like Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko and will probably try and score off long balls over the top. If Wynne and Moor aren't picture perfect, Chicago have the guys that can make them pay.

Tactical Changes - The Rapids started off last week with a pretty bad blueprint that featured a patchwork midfield. Now, was there much that Oscar Pareja could do about the players he had available? No. Could he have worked out a better option than Castrillon in the pivot and Ross LaBauex playing with two guys he'd barely ever played with before? Probably. Pareja took all the blame after the 4-1 loss, and he deserved a good chunk of it in all honesty. It will be interesting to see how he responds after that game with his preparation and tactics throughout the game. Hopefully he won't over think himself.

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