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Game Preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers

The home opener promises to be a snowy one!

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

We are finally here, the beginning of the 2019 MLS season—and more importantly, it’s the home opener for the Colorado Rapids. In what could be a Snow Clasico 3.0, the Rapids will take on last years runner-up to the MLS Cup, the Portland Timbers.

The Timbers off-season was a quiet one and some you might say “if it ain’t broken, don’t try to fix it”, but it’s not that they didn’t try. Portland was unsuccessful in landing a DP forward, trying twice to pick off players from Tigres only to come up empty-handed. Their off-season wasn’t a total bust, as they did pick up a few USL players and couple MLS vets.

As for the Rapids, their offseason has been an active one. Adding Kei Kamara helps, as does Keegan Rosenberry, Diego Rubio, and Nicolas Mezquida. Then there’s also Benny Feilhaber, coming with a bag of Tim Howard-like experience, It will be nice to see a proper #6 back in burgundy.

Not to take anything away from Jack Price (who is listed as questionable for today’s game). If anything, adding Benny to the midfield should make Price’s life a bit easier. With both Feilhaber and Kellyn Acosta just in front of him, traffic shouldn’t be too congested in the midfield.

It’s the back line that has the fanbase a bit concerned. Last year, the team had the second worse goal differential in the league with a -27. Again, the major additions that the Rapids have made have mostly been attack-minded players. Colorado did make some defensive signings and have their eyes set on some homegrown talent that will help the back line, but many of them are ready for today’s opener, including the newest signing Kofi Opare.

Listed as out with a foot injury for today’s match, Opare came to the Rapids via D.C. United, where just two years ago he was the top center back for the Black and Red. Along with Opare, Kortne Ford is still out but will be braving the elements today to join the Voice of C38 tent for a little tailgate chat before the game.

The rest of the injury list might make you cringe a little. In a perfect world, a fan wants to see its team at its full potential at the beginning of the season, but that won’t be the case this year. Sam Nicholson’s back still isn’t right, Sam Vines is back in training from a quad injury but may not be ready today, and Danny Wilson has a calf issue. With the weather as it is, any player with a muscle concern will most likely take a seat.

Deklan Wynne has a groin injury, while Jack Price and Tommy Smith are listed as questionable with knee injuries. Tommy Smith did come out to the C38 kickoff party last night which to me says he will most likely not be playing today. This could be the first game that Smith would miss since joining the Rapids.

https://www.coloradorapids.com/post/2019/02/27/colorado-rapids-injury-report-february-27-2019

The Rapids have done fairly well in home openers in the past, winning the past five home openers that were also season openers. When playing against Portland at home, the Rapids are 6-2-3. Yes, it will be orange ball weather and will most likely dump a few inches of snow on us, but it won’t be as cold as last years CCL game against Toronto, nor as bad as the USMNT game against Costa Rica. If you ask anyone (including myself) who has been at those games, they will tell you it’s a memorable match that you will tell your friends about for a very long time.

Predicted starting XI: Tim Howard; Nana Boateng, Keegan Rosenberry, Axel Sjoberg, Dillon Serna; Jack Price, Benny Feilhaber, Kellyn Acosta, Nicholas Mezquida; Diego Rubio, Kei Kamara.

Colorado

OUT: Kortne Ford (knee), Kofi Opare (foot)

QUESTIONABLE: Sam Nicholson (back), Tommy Smith (knee), Sam Vines (quad), Danny Wilson (calf), Deklan Wynne (groin)

PROBABLE: None

Suspended: None

Suspended after next caution: None

Portland

OUT: Aljaz Ivacic (GK) - left tibial stress fracture

QUESTIONABLE: None

PROBABLE: None

Suspended: None

Suspended after next caution: None

How to Watch

Match Date/Time: Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 4 p.m. MT

Venue: Dicks Sporting Goods Park — Commerce City, CO

TV Information: AltitudeTV

Radio: ALTITUDE 950

Live Stream: ESPN+ (subscription required)

C38 Tailgate: Starts at 1 p.m. Kortne Ford due to arrive at 2:45!