The Colorado Rapids today play USL side Swope Park Rangers (a Sporting Kansas City affiliate) in their first match of the 2016 Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Arizona. For the Rapids, they will be looking at continuing a solid preseason that has featured three wins against zero losses, including a 1-0 victory over Sacramento Republic FC over the weekend.
The Goal for the Rapids: Continue preparations for 2016 and get guys minutes
What to Watch For
1) Building from the Back--In the match this weekend against Republic, the Rapids were very good at building possession from the back and had some success in moving the ball up field. Basically the attack started with the defense, pushed up through the midfield and then transitioned to the forwards. This is in sharp contrast to last year when they would just blast the ball forward and hope.
2) Shots on Target--By and large, the Rapids nemesis from last season was scoring goals, and they did struggle to put shots on target and work the Republic goalkeeper. Yes, it is preseason and not too much should be assumed or taken from this, but they were playing a side that is two divisions down from them. It doesn't always have to be a win, but you sure as heck need to get shots on target.
3) Players to Watch--Kevin Doyle, Stephen Keel, Dillon Powers and Sam Cronin all had impressive stints on Saturday against Republic. In the case of Keel, he is trying to earn a contract so I was really keeping an eye out for him. Zach Pfeffer, Marc Burch and Zac MacMath also looked good. Luis Solignac struggled and Dillon Serna was not up to speed, but again--it's preseason.
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 5:30 PM MST
Venue: Kino North Stadium--Tucson, Arizona
TV Information: None
Or there is this of course:
Predicted Starting XI
The preseason is not so much about who starts a game and who starts the second half. It's all about getting players time on the pitch so that they are ready for the start of the season. But we are not letting that stop us here at the Wave (and seriously, this is a guess). Here is our best guess Starting XI (4-2-3-1):
Zac MacMath, Mekeil Williams, Sean St. Ledger, Axel Sjoberg, Stephen Keel, Sam Cronin, Dillon Powers, Micheal Azira, Conor Doyle, Marlon Hairston, Kevin Doyle
We will have post game reaction and analysis at the conclusion of this match, so please check back with us!