A few weeks ago I was upset at what a languid offseason the Colorado Rapids were having. A rumored signing of Tim Howard for an insane amount and several botched acquisitions left a sour taste in my mouth. The last few weeks have given me a cautious optimism. The true test will of course start in a few days.
As we have seen in RapidsRabbi's preview of the San Jose Earthquakes, their team has stayed pretty much intact from last year. They should be playing pretty much like they always have, deep defensive block with a quick break and the ablilty to poach goals against the run of play thanks to one Chris Wondolowski.
Though I am mostly for trying to play to the opposition's weakness, what I really want to see this week is the Rapids come out in full force, showing that the FO, coaches, and players are now all on the same page. That the Rapids are all about playing attacking-based soccer. With the players we have acquired in the offseason I believe that we could become a team that can impose our will on the opposition. So here is what I think would be an excellent starting lineup for the first game.
With this lineup Pablo Mastroeni should abandon any reservations he has about overlapping fullbacks. I think the current roster is best played as a narrow 4-3-3 which can shift from the more defensive 4-5-1, to the very wide 4-2-3-1. I am pretty sure our front three should be Dillon Serna, Kevin Doyle, and Marco Pappa. I think these three offer the best mix of speed, hold-up play, and creativity. Our CAM should be Shkelzen Gashi; our new DP seems to play the mix of a false 9 and a 10, so putting him here would best use his talents. Many of us at Burgundy Wave believe Dillon Power's skill set best matches a box to box midfielder and his ability to pass to runners in space is uncanny. As for the CDM the best choice is Sam Cronin until Jared Watts grows as a player. The defense is what I am unsure about; my back line would be Mekeil Williams, Sean St. Ledger, Axel Sjoberg, and Eric Miller. I prefer to decide lineups on how players play in burgundy, so I decided to go with some of the guesses fellow authors at Burgundy Wave were thinking should get the start.
Much has changed since Burgundy Wave exploded in a flurry of pieces chastising the Rapids on their poor offesason. We now have an excellent midfield spine due to the acquisition of Gashi with tons of wide midfield and defensive talent. It appears to me that the FO has built this team to focus on attacking again. Now the only question is if Pablo agrees, with his choice of starting lineup.