Guess who the #1 key is!
Chivas USA is a classic trap team, you can tell because while they have no wins at home, they are currently undefeated on the road. A weird dynamic, but they've sprung when teams have least expected it so far this season with their strong goalkeeper play and sneaky forwards including Casey Townsend and Juan Pablo Angel (a noted Rapids killer).
Not that the Rapids should be more scared of the Goats than they were of the far more talented Galaxy, but it's still going to be an intriguing match up on Saturday. Here's three keys to a Rapids victory over the Goats, a victory that is currently very much needed with the team stuck in a three game losing slump to Western Conference competition.Conor Casey - Does it seem like we've been talking about Conor Casey non-stop for the last couple of weeks? That's probably because the guy is really freakin' important to the Colorado Rapids. Say what you will about his speed or his work ethic (both are underrated a bit, honestly) but the guy knows how to put the ball into the back of the net regardless of the circumstance. For a team that has scored one goal in the last three games including a situation when they've missed a penalty kick in the 90th minute, that sort of guy is just what the doctor ordered. Even more importantly, he's the guy that Omar Cummings has always played off of to get the space he needs.
The question of course is, will Casey be at 100% for the game? If so, the Rapids getting a win will be a much easier prediction to make than it would if he was only at 50% and just being put out there for the vein hope that he'll just be able to throw himself in front of the net and make the ball teleport past him into the goal. Personally, I'm not worried because Casey is a professional player and he wouldn't play if he didn't think he could score.
Forget About LA - If Omar Cummings is still thinking about that awful penalty kick he took against the Galaxy, he might be a bit tentative against Chivas. If Marvell Wynne is still dwelling on that own goal against LA, he might not feel as free to defend. I know both of those situations are unlikely because the Rapids are a very professional squad, but dwelling on the LA game is pretty much the worst thing they can do against a team like Chivas that loves to trap home teams into giving them the ball for counter attack goals.
Get The Ball In The Box - The biggest problem with the offense seems to be that the Rapids just can't get the ball into the box despite all of their passing around and near it. Guys like Martin Rivero and Jaime Castrillon have to be better at pumping the ball into the box from the middle rather than just hoping someone will be on the end of the 30 crosses that the full backs put in there.
Obviously, Conor Casey will help a bit with that last part but this new system is supposed to focus on play through the center of the park and the Rapids just aren't executing in that regard.