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Starting XI & Game Preview: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids

MLS: Colorado Rapids at San Jose Earthquakes Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids head west to face the San Jose Earthquakes in Northern California tonight. Unlike most years, the Quakes are not competing with the Rapids for last place in the West. Instead, San Jose has won their last three in a row, putting them well above the playoff line in 5th place in the Western Conference.

The Quakes have four players who have scored five or more goals, which means that for once, San Jose isn’t just the Chris Wondolowski Show and the Rapids will have to make sure that the midfield does its job. And it’s not just goals scored we should worry about either, as Christian Espinoza has 9 assists and Magnus Eriksson has 5. That San Jose attack can make plays, so there should be a focus on defending.

As for the Rapids, Sebastian Anderson getting called up to the U17s means that he will be out for the next three games. Two with the national team, then he will have to sit when San Jose comes to town on August 10th. In the eyes of many, this is a good thing because Sam Nicholson can make his case for a return to the starting XI. Now that Jonathan Lewis is back, Diego Rubio could also be called upon to fill that hole on the other side of the pitch.

Although Tim Howard isn’t listed as out, I wouldn’t expect him to play. Howard left the NYCFC game in the first half due to right calf strain and did not train this week. Kei Kamara is listed as questionable with a back problem that kept him out of the game last week. Per usual, Kortne Ford and Deklan Wynne are out as well.

The way for the Rapids to win will be Jack Price and Danny Wilson holding down the midfield while feeding Kellyn Acosta and Lewis. It won’t matter who is on the final ball if it’s burgundy tapping it in. This has the make-up of many of the other San Jose vs Colorado games: gritty, choppy, low scoring, and there may even be some influence from the guy with the whistle in his hand. Just about any game where Baldomero Toledo is involved, there is some sort of issue.

Starting XI: Clint Irwin, Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Tommy Smith, Sam Vines, Danny Wilson, Sam Nicholson, Diego Rubio, Kellyn Acosta, Jonathan Lewis, Kei Kamara

Officials

Referee: Baldomero Toledo

Assistant Referees: Felisha Mariscal, Micheal Barwegen

4th Official: Joe Dickerson

VAR: Ricardo Salazar

Colorado

OUT: Kortne Ford (knee), Deklan Wynne (foot)

QUESTIONABLE: Kei Kamara (back)

Suspended: Sebastian Anderson

Suspended after next caution: Jack Price

San Jose

OUT: Anibal Godoy (M) - abdomen surgery

QUESTIONABLE: N/A

Suspended: N/A

Suspended after next caution: Harold Cummings (D)

How to Watch

Match Date/Time: Saturday, July 26th at 8 p.m. MST

Venue: Avaya Stadium — San Jose, CA

TV Information: AltitudeTV

Radio: 92.5 FM

Live Stream: ESPN+ (subscription required)

C38 Watch Parties: Celtic on Market, Frolic Brewing, Blue Spruce Brewing