May is a brand-new start for the Colorado Rapids as Conor Casey takes the helm in his first ever game as head coach. Since seven of the first nine games went off without a point, let’s just call that “preseason” as a nod to now-former Head Coach Anthony Hudson.
While many Rapids fans and supporters are already trying to figure out who might be the next head coach, I’ll be fine with Casey holding on to the reins for now. I’ve had conversations with him about his love of the sport, his hometown, and most of all his future as far as coaching. This isn’t his final destination, but it could be for at least this season. Not many people would be happy to come into the situation that the Rapids have put themselves in, whereas Casey has the ability and tools to work with what he has without asking for more.
Now, here is where it gets tricky. Trying to predict today’s lineup as the Rapids look to grab a win in front of the fans at home won’t be easy. It will be anyone’s guess as to how CC will line up the Burgundy Boys. Will the “pets” of Hudson still get the nod, or will everyone start over on a fresh slate? Could Nana Boateng get his first minutes of the season? Will we see Kofi Opare return to the fold? Just how will the Rapids change things up in order to find their first win?
I recall sitting in Padraig Smith’s office a little more than three years ago as he told me how committed the club was to the 4-2-3-1 formation. They were building a scouting program just for that formation, but the program gets finished, they sack Pabs, and bye-bye 4-2-3-1. This roster still is stacked with midfielders who can make a difference and a 4-2-3-1 formation is nearly perfect for that. The trouble is finding the right combination of guys where the chemistry is so good that our midfield is like a minefield to get through to take some pressure off the defense and Tim Howard.
Tonight’s opponent is the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are not having a good start to their 2019 season either. Sitting at 1-5-3 the ‘Caps squandered a lead in the second half to Philadelphia last week and walked away with a draw. Vancouver is also winless on the road so far this season going 0-3-1 while also having a 3-7-1 record playing in Colorado. On paper, these guys looking like a good matchup for the Rapids to shake off the stink of a winless record. With a 10-8-4 all-time record against the Whitecaps, Vancouver is one of the few teams the Rapids have the overall advantage of winning more than they have lost. It also should be mentioned that both Kei Kamara and Nicolas Mezquida were with the Caps’ last season and will most likely want to stick it to them if given the chance.
The new season starts now.
Starting XI: Tim Howard; Deklan Wynne, Axel Sjoberg, Keegan Rosenberry; Sam Vines, Jack Price, Danny Wilson, Sebastian Anderson; Kei Kamara, Kellyn Acosta, Diego Rubio
Referee: Alex Chilowicz
Assistant Referees: Jeff Hosking, TJ Zablocki
4th Official: Lorant Varga
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic
OUT: Kortne Ford (knee)
Suspended after next caution: None
OUT: Michael Baldisimo (left ankle contusion), Jasser Khmiri (left knee injury), David Norman Jr. (right foot surgery), Yordy Reyna (left hamstring strain)
Suspended after next caution: None
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Friday, May 3rd at 7 p.m. MT
Venue: Dicks Sporting Goods Park — Commerce City, CO
TV Information: AltitudeTV
Radio: Altitude 950
Live Stream: ESPN+ (subscription required)