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Talking About Formations and the Colorado Rapids

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What formation could/should the new look Rapids team use in 2015?

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Amongst all of the talk this off-season about personnel moves and additions to the Colorado Rapids front office, not much has been said about formations and a Starting XI.  Now, obviously this is conjecture at this point, and I am not at training everyday to watch the Lads.  But this is the fun thing about writing for Burgundy Wave...we can try and predict what will happen and see how close we get.

Before we get started, here is the official roster according to the Rapids website (as of 11 February 2015).  This does not include players that might be coming or have not arrived yet.  I am also not going to predict if/who is sent to Charlotte.  AND, this is not taking into account for injuries (with the exception of Drew Moor).

Goalkeepers:  Clint Irwin, Zac MacMath, John Berner

Defenders:  Marc Burch, Bobby Burling, Michael Harrington, Moor, John Neeskens, Shane O'Neill, Axel Sjoberg, Grant Van De Casteele

Midfielders: Carlos Alvarez, Sam Cronin, Marlon Hairston, Nick LaBrocca, Lucas Pittinari, Dillon Powers, Marcelo Sarvas, Dillon Serna, Jared Watts

Forwards:  Deshorn Brown, Caleb Calvert, Charles Eloundou, Vicente Sanchez, Gabriel Torres

4-4-2:  A Standard Approach

The 4-4-2 is a pretty standard approach and has been a formation that has won many-a-match in Major League Soccer.   Nothing wrong with this as it would allow the Rapids to play with two defensive midfielders and still (theoretically) have enough on the offensive end.  How could that look:

<iframe width="350" height="500" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://lineupbuilder.com/350x500/?p=11&amp;a=40402&amp;t=Rapids%204-4-2&amp;c=dc0000&amp;1=GK_Irwin__388_174&amp;2=DL_Burch__317_64&amp;3=DCL_O%27Neill__327_138&amp;4=DCR_Burling__327_211&amp;5=DR_Harrington__317_284&amp;6=MLA_Sanchez__204_64&amp;7=MCL_Sarvas__222_138&amp;8=MCR_Cronin__222_211&amp;9=MRA_Powers__204_284&amp;10=FCL_Brown__98_138&amp;11=FCR_Torres__98_211&amp;c2=ffffff&amp;c3=ffffff&amp;output=embed"></iframe>

Now there is obviously some flexibility in the midfield and Pittinari could change the equation based on his play.  But I do think a 4-4-2 could be run out there at some point.

4-2-3-1:  An MLS Approach

The 4-2-3-1 is used often in MLS and was popular with the prior coaching staff.  I have never been the biggest fan of the 4-2-3-1 but it may work better for the Rapids as they have defensive midfielders this year (unlike 2014).  Is this the right formation for our Burgundy Boys?  Here is how it could look:

<iframe width="350" height="500" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://lineupbuilder.com/350x500/?p=11&amp;a=40231&amp;t=4-2-3-1%20Rapids&amp;c=dc0000&amp;1=GK_Irwin__388_174&amp;2=DL_Burch__317_64&amp;3=DCL_O%27Neill__327_138&amp;4=DCR_Burling__327_211&amp;5=DR_Harrington__317_284&amp;6=DML_Sarvas__240_138&amp;7=DMR_Cronin__240_211&amp;8=AL_Sanchez__158_78&amp;9=AC_Powers__151_174&amp;10=AR_Serna__158_269&amp;11=FCA_Brown__80_174&amp;c2=ffffff&amp;c3=ffffff&amp;output=embed"></iframe>

My only concern with this is the forward position.  I am not sure that Brown is the right guy to be a lone striker up top, but a lot of his success will be based on whether the service he gets is better then last year.

4-2-1-3:  I am off my rocker approach

I know.  This is a bit crazy of an approach I know but I think that it could be an interesting choice for the club.  This formation will require the Rapids to be solid defensively as it really is about scoring goals with the 4-2-1-3.  It also will rely a lot on Powers being the attacking mid I think he is (when left alone) but will require him to drop back as well.  Here is how it could look:

<iframe width="350" height="500" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://lineupbuilder.com/350x500/?p=11&amp;a=40213&amp;t=4-2-1-3%20Rapids&amp;c=dc0000&amp;1=GK_Irwin__388_174&amp;2=DL_Burch__317_64&amp;3=DCL_O%27Neill__327_138&amp;4=DCR_Burling__327_211&amp;5=DR_Harrington__317_284&amp;6=DML_Sarvas__240_138&amp;7=DMR_Cronin__240_211&amp;8=MCA_Powers__170_174&amp;9=WL_Sanchez__116_64&amp;10=WR_Torres__116_284&amp;11=FCA_Brown__80_174&amp;c2=ffffff&amp;c3=ffffff&amp;output=embed"></iframe>

Nuts, right?  But after the way the last year ended, I don't think that anything can be ruled out.

Certainly everything should be on the table and a lot of this will depend on opponents and whether the team is home or away.  But one thing is certain with the Rapids this year: Pablo Mastroeni needs to be better in lineup selection and man management.  If he is able to do that, there is a lot to be hopeful for this year with the Rapids.

What say you Rapids fans?  Are we completely crazy?  Let us know in the comments sections below!