Do you remember 2011?
It was a solid year I think. The economy was slowly improving, the Colorado Rapids were enjoying their year as defending MLS Cup Champions.
And it was also the last season that the Rapids defeated the San Jose Earthquakes.
Read that again: the last time the Rapids beat the Quakes was 2011.
So for the Rapids the goal is simple: Win.
What To Watch For:
1) That Home Form: In two words, it sucks. No flowery speeches. No big proclamations. The Rapids have not won at home since July 2014 and not winning against the Quakes would be a disappointment. Make no mistake: not winning tonight against San Jose is a massive let down.
2) Have I Mentioned the Home Form: I will not walk out of a Rapids match early, but after the last San Jose match, I did walk out. The Rapids had the game won and gave up a last minute goal to the Quakes and had it end 1-1. It was utterly gut wrenching and depressing and the Rapids need to get one over on the Quakes in a major way.
3) The Opportunity: A victory means the Rapids would be just outside of a playoff place and would give the club a springboard as the enter another difficult period of matches. But it all comes down to playing a complete game and getting that elusive victory at home.
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Michael Kampmeinert and Apolinar Mariscal
Fourth Official: Daniel Radford
Injuries: Colorado--OUT: Marcelo Sarvas. LISTED ON REPORT: Marc Burch and Drew Moor. San Jose--OUT: Mark Sherrod, Steven Lenhart, Shaun Francis, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and Innocent Emeghara.
How To Watch:
Match Date/Time: Friday, May 8 at 8:00 PM MDT
Venue: Dick's Sporting Goods Park--Commerce City, Colorado
TV Information: Univision Deportes
OnLine: MLS Live
Predicted Starting XI:
The Rapids are relatively healthy and should give Pablo Mastroeni some difficult decisions when looking at his Starting XI. His toughest decisions will come along the back line, but his midfield and forwards should be pretty straight forward and not much of a change:
Clint Irwin, Michael Harrington, Axel Sjoberg, Bobby Burling, James Riley, Lucas Pittinari, Sam Cronin, Juan Ramirez, Dillon Powers, Vicente Sanchez, Gabriel Torres
I obviously favor starting Sanchez over Nick LaBrocca in this match as I think Sanchez brings more of an offensive threat than LaBrocca does. I know that Mastroeni likes LaBrocca's grit and work rate so I would not be shocked to see him start over Sanchez. Another option work considering is starting Dillon Serna in the lineup with Ramirez and Powers in the middle. Serna can provide the defensive cover that Sanchez can't but more an offensive threat than LaBrocca is known for.
As for Shane O'Neill, I would absolutely start him over Burling in the middle of the defense, but I get the sense that Mastroeni prefers the height of Sjoberg and Burling.
This will serve as your official Burgundy Wave game thread for this match. Check back during the match for commentary, opinion, and our thoughts as the Rapids take on the Quakes.