The Colorado Rapids and Houston Dynamo meet for the first of three meetings in the 2015 season at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. The Rapids will be looking for their first win (and goal) of the year where the Dynamo will be looking to build on a solid draw last week against LA Galaxy.
Both teams are in transition right now as the Dynamo have a new head man in Owen Coyle and the Rapids are looking for their identity under second year coach Pablo Mastroeni. This match should be a close, physical affair with both teams looking to establish themselves in the Western Conference.
The goal for the Rapids: score a damn goal and get a victory
What To Watch For:
A Goal!--Would it be too much to ask for the Rapids to score a goal in this one? They were much closer last weekend against New York City FC, but the finishing still is poor. Whether it is Gabriel Torres, Dominique Badji, or someone else, the Rapids have got to find a way into the back of the net. They cannot continue to rely on their defense and Clint Irwin to steal games for them. Mastroeni has to get his team to score, and his flowery speeches about getting close are getting old.
The Goalkeeper Battle: This is one of the understated battles of this match as Irwin and Tyler Deric face off in a great matchup of young MLS goalkeepers. Deric has won back-to-back save of the weeks for the Dynamo and Irwin has been nominated in both of his games this year. I am not expecting a big offensive explosion this week, but I anticipate both Deric and Irwin to be up for the challenge should the unexpected happen.
International Call-Ups: I have not been kind to MLS this week with the BS of the International Break. The fact that MLS will not take a bye week now is utter crap and an embarrassment to this league. There are five people missing from this one, and whereas I get the "this is why you have depth" answer, this is not why depth should be on a team. A team should not rely on depth to cover players missing over a nonsensical decision to not stop play this week. Whatever the result is tonight, I hope it does not have an impact on the playoff race.
Center: Marcos de Oliviera
Assistant Referees: Kermit Quisenberry, Kyle Atkins
Fourth Official: Juan Guzman
Suspended: Colorado--None. Houston--None
Injuries: Colorado--OUT: Drew Moor, Marlon Hairston. QUESTIONABLE: Axel Sjoberg, Carlos Alvarez. Houston--DOUBTFUL: Ricardo Clark. QUESTIONABLE: DaMarcus Beasley, Nathan Sturgis
International Absences: Colorado--Shane O'Neill. Houston: Boniek Garcia, Luis Garrido, Giles Barnes, Jermaine Taylor
How To Watch:
Match Date/Time: Saturday, March 28 at 6:30 PM MDT
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium--Houston, Texas
TV: Altitude TV--Broadcast is tape delayed due to scheduling conflict with the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche. The game will be available to watch at 11:30 PM MDT.
Radio (English): 1600 AM The Zone
Radio (Spanish): 1650 AM Radio Luz
Online: MLS Live
Best Guess at a Starting XI:
There seems to be no reason to deviate from the 4-2-3-1 at this point as the Rapids are playing good defense, even though they lack the killer finishing instinct in the final third. It is important that they keep the strong defense going despite the scoring woes.
I am going to assume that Sjoberg is going to go in this one, but if he is not I could see Jared Watts slot in his place. Also, James Riley could easily start for Marc Burch so Riley or Burch starting would not be a shocker.
Irwin, Burch, Sjoberg, Bobby Burling, Michael Harrington, Lucas Pittinari, Marcelo Sarvas, Juan Ramirez, Dillon Powers, Vicente Sanchez, Torres.
This will serve as your Burgundy Wave gamethread, witty analysis and all things Rapids for this Western Conference showdown.