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Game Preview & Starting XI: Colorado Rapids vs Columbus Crew

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Columbus Crew SC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight we have another home game for the Colorado Rapids where the center referee is Baldomero Toledo. If our Burgundy Boys are to truly turn the corner, a win at home with Toledo as the referee and no red cards might just be the obstacle they need to overcome in order to spark a winning streak.

Tonight’s visitor is the Columbus Crew, who are 5-8-1 on the season and have won just once in their last eight games. For two weeks straight, C-Bus has been held scoreless, which brightens the possibility of not only a winning streak for the Rapids, but two clean sheets in a row.

Injuries and consistency have been an issue for new Crew Head Coach Caleb Porter. Former Orlando City keeper Joe Bendik may get the nod to start in goal for the Black and Yellow as Zack Steffen is questionable due to concussion protocol. Harrison Afful, a solid defender for the Crew, is out with a broken jaw, and defender Milton Valenzuela has a torn ACL.

For the Rapids, Kortne Ford is our only player listed out this week. I saw him at training recently and he was doing straight sprints and working with a trainer on the sideline. There will be a small adjustment to the lineup because Lalas Abubakar is not able to suit up against his contracted team. While on loan, you can not play against your own team, which means Deklan Wynne will most likely return to center back, and Sam Vines may get the nod out left.

The key to this game is navigating the midfield. Typically, the midfield is the toughest part of the pitch to get through and today will be no exception. Combining short, multiple passes in quick succession will create space where there isn’t any and put a defense on their heels. This was a method used in training this week and I expect it to be naturally implemented within the opening few minutes.

Starting out firing on all cylinders is ideal, but there is a strong chance that the Rapids will play back a little to see how Columbus will play and how Toledo will ref. The magic may come in the second half.

Starting XI: Tim Howard, Keegan Rosenberry, Deklan Wynne, Tommy Smith, Sam Vines, Jack Price, Kellyn Acosta, Jonathan Lewis, Diego Rubio, Sam Nicholson, Kei Kamara

Officials:

Referee: Baldomero Toledo

Assistant Referees: Matthew Nelson, Eduardo Mariscal

4th Official: Guido Gonzales Jr

VAR: Robert Sibiga

Colorado

OUT: Kortne Ford (knee)

QUESTIONABLE: N/A

Suspended: None

Columbus Crew

OUT: Milton Valenzuela (D) - torn ACL, Harrison Afful (D) - broken jaw

QUESTIONABLE: Waylon Francis (D) - left thigh injury, Zack Steffen (GK) - concussion

Suspended: None

How to Watch

Match Date/Time: Saturday, May 25th at 7 p.m. MT

Venue: Dick’s Sporting goods Park — Commerce City, CO

TV Information: AltitudeTV

Radio: 92.5 FM

Live Stream: ESPN+ (subscription required)