Colorado will be without three goals worth of the offense from the match against the Sounders when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes tomorrow. Deshorn Brown has received his first call-up to the Jamaican National Team and Gabriel Torres, the leading scorer in the Gold Cup for Panama, has been brought back in by La Marea Roja to try and keep his country afloat in the Hex.
It's an unfortunate time to be losing two of the best attackers on the team, but that's the reason we have all this depth around here, right? Colorado's got a good number of attacking players still on the team to take the two wing/striker spots in the 4-2-3-1, and a few players who can play that target forward role up at the top, as well.
So who starts? A little while back, John put out a preview for both games this week and nearly nailed the lineup for the Sounders game. (He only missed Brown being on for Edson Buddle.) Against the Quakes, he has the ol' 'Wrecking Ball' lineup up top: Buddle, Atiba Harris and Nick Labrocca. With Steven Lenhart out for the game though, I don't think that the Rapids are going to need quite as much pounding power.
He is right when he says that the narrow pitch is going to require a bigger lineup, with the speed being negated. That said, I'd rather see at least one guy with a bit of pace up top, and I've not enjoyed Nick Labrocca's exploits as a striker so far this season so I would go with the pacier Tony Cascio or Kamani Hill in his place. (Steven 'Goatballs' Lenhart won't be starting either due to his latest suspension, which means they might not need quite as much bloodlust up top.)
All that in mind (and this is assuming that Dillon Powers is going to get a well deserved day off after taking that knock against Seattle) here's my starting XI for the match:
Atiba Harris - Vicente Sanchez - Tony Cascio
Hendry Thomas - Nathan Sturgis
Chris Klute - Drew Moor - Shane O'Neill - Marvell Wynne
Who do you think should start up top tomorrow?