Matt Doyle, the MLS' official analyst, has been right alongside a lot of the Rapids fanbase this year in his scouting reports, saying that width is the way to go for the team. Pablo Mastroeni finally made an adjustment to a flat 4-4-2 against Montreal, giving the team true wingers for the first time in forever. And I'm talking even before the Gary Smith days when I say that, since Gary liked his to be defensive wingers to allow for overlapping fullback runs (why do you think Wells Thompson got so many minutes?).
Unfortunately, the problem with a 4-4-2 is that you need two forwards, and Pablo's preferred big man, Edson Buddle, is out for at least the entire World Cup break with an injury. He joins a growing injury list for the Rapids, which already includes Vicente Sanchez, who has been the biggest offensive spark on the team all year. Gabriel Torres is also unavailable because of his fitness training with Panama, so there are questions about who might start up top for the Rapids alongside Deshorn Brown.
I posed the question to Matt for his Scouting Report, and he provided an answer: Nobody. Instead, he recommends a return to the 4-2-3-1 of before, allowing guys like Kamani Hill and Dillon Serna to play as the wing-strikers with Brown alone up top.
I like this answer for two reasons:
1. It makes perfect sense to try and go back to what's worked in the past with so few options available.
2. He didn't say Danny Mwanga.
A 4-2-3-1 of that sort is what Pablo ran against the New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers to start the season, and it looked pretty good in the process. Running it again would give the Rapids a chance to add more beef to the back as well, with Nick Labrocca likely stepping in alongside Jose Mari in the '2' of the formation.
That said, Pablo doesn't seem likely to swap up the 4-4-2 that scored four goals against Montreal, and there are some intriguing options that he could use at forward. Charles Eloundou could add a lethal 1-2 speed punch up at forward, and Kamani Hill is also an option up top, where he originally started his Rapids career. We'll see what Pablo's plan is come gameday.