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Game Preview: NYCFC vs. Colorado Rapids

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The Burgundy Boys are in the Big Apple this weekend to take on one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

MLS: New York City FC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Rapids are in New York this weekend to face New York City FC. The last time the Burgundy Boys traveled to Gotham in 2016, they got smashed 5-1. It seems as though NYCFC has figured out how to play soccer on a pitch that is the size of a hockey rink, as they are undefeated at home so far this season with a 4-0-0 record. There isn’t much history between these two teams, but the Rapids have yet to beat Mini Man City, going 0-1-2 so far.

Both teams have gone three games without a win, but the difference is NYCFC has been able to grab a point or two along the way. Still, this could mean some tactical changes for both sides this Saturday.

As for the Rapids, playing wide with wingbacks won’t get much done, nor will long ball and attempting to drop the ball in behind the defense. The two tactics that the Burgundy Boys rely on won’t have much of an effect considering they’re basically playing on an indoor pitch, outside.

What will work is a team press and a high one at that. Collapsing on the ball and forcing New York to make unwanted or unnecessary passes into blind space will create space in an area where there isn’t any.

Rapids fans are starting to get used to a roster where certain players are getting more playing time than others due to work rate, and I don’t expect that to change today.

As for threats, there may not be Frank Lampard, but they still have David Villa (who has a league record 68 goals scored so far in his career here). Another guy to watch is Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. He has fired off 8 shots this season with 5 on target, and all five found the back of the net (don’t let that guy shoot!).

Since Johan Blomberg has been out of the lineup, the Rapids have not been able to score more than one goal and haven’t won a game. Since there has been almost nothing regarding his absence in the lineup or his presence on the training pitch it could only be assumed that he will be MIA once again. I personally feel his absence is more vital than any other Rapids player who isn’t on the pitch.

Dominique Badji will most likely be out for this game after having to be a last-minute scratch from last weeks game. While it may have been a precaution, fans are beginning to learn that everything takes a week or three when it comes to recoveries. We know he traveled to NYC, though, as did Marlon Hairston.

Jack Price will miss his first match of the season due to yellow card accumulation.

East Coast games mean that we get to start Soccer Saturday at least two hours early and this one has an 11 am start time.

Predicted starting XI: Tim Howard, Deklan Wynne, Danny Wilson, Tommy Smith, Nana Boateng, Enzo Martinez, Michael Azira, Sam Nicholson, Edgar Castillo, Joe Mason, Yannick Boli

Injuries/Suspensions

Colorado

OUT: Kortne Ford (left MCL sprain), D - Marlon Hairston (right knee surgery)

SUSPENDED: Jack Price

SUSPENDED AFTER NEXT CAUTION: Dominique Badji

NYCFC

QUESTIONABLE: D - Maxime Chanot (undisclosed injury)

SUSPENDED AFTER NEXT CAUTION: Alex Ring, Yangel Herrera

How to Watch

Match Date/Time: Saturday, May 19th at 11 am MST

Venue: Yankee Stadium — New York, NY

TV Information: AltitudeTV

Radio: Altitude950

Live Stream: ESPN+ (subscription required)

C38 Viewing party @ Celtic on Market

There will also be fans at Murphy’s Taphouse at 585 McCaslin Blvd. in Louisville.