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Rapids vs. Union - Three Keys To The Game

Colorado's home opener will feature two 0-1-0 teams looking for a rebound. Here's what to watch from Colorado if they're going to nab their first win of the year.


Ah, the home opener. It's gonna be cold, it's gonna probably be snowy and it's going to be a miserable day for a football match, but hey -- it's a Rapids match, the first one of the season! Against a Philadelphia Union team that will be looking for their first win of the season, Conor Casey in tow, the Rapids can probably get a win if they put together the same sort of game that they played in Dallas, with a few minor adjustments. To wit:

Hold The Ball Again - The Rapids possessed the heck out of FC Dallas in their first effort, and it was the good kind of possession as well. Pablo Mastroeni and Hendry Thomas had the passes of any MLS players in the first week of play, because the ball was always in the Rapids midfield being slotted around.

Philadelphia showed themselves to be very vulnerable to a calm and strong possession game when they played Sporting Kansas City in their opener -- they pressed high and played effective keep-away for a good chunk of the game, even nicking a goal out of it in the end, but KC never stopped going for the ball and once they pushed one in themselves, they were able to hold the ball and possess Philly completely out of the match, getting two goals of their own.

Shoot Early, Shoot Often - One of my only criticisms of DeShorn Brown in the first game was that he was waiting for too long to shoot. He rarely seemed content with taking a shot first-touch, instead getting almost to the byline sometimes before letting the ball go. This time around, the Rapids might be facing one of the shakiest keepers in the league, Zac MacMath. The young 'keeper has shown tendencies of shakiness and uncertainty, similar to Steward Ceus, so the answer is to do what KC did -- shoot the ball as often as you can. Let them loose from 20 yards out if you have to, just shoot the ball early and often and you're liable to get some garbage to clean up in front of the net. Bad finishing in the first game aside, even this team can bury them from six-yards out with an open net.

Tie Steward Ceus Up And Leave Him In The Van - Self explanatory, really.