From Thursday's press conference featuring Head Coach Robin Fraser:
1) On the upcoming road trip: "We have to deal with the conditions and be as sharp as we can be. They're pretty aggressive at home. They have a bit of advantage with the heat and humidity. Much like we do with altitude. They seem to have a ton of energy".
2) On Oliver Larraz going to San Diego Loyal SC in the USL rather than Colorado Springs Swtichbacks: "Landon really wanted him. Called and he was interested. Liked him. The most important thing for these young guys is that they go out and they play". If he coaches anything like he plays it's going to be a great place to play. Good insight. incredible player."
3) On Lucas Esteves training and assimilating to the squad: "He's been great. English needs a little work (Fraser gave a rare huge smile into the camera). Other than that he's fit in really well. He's done well in training. Like anyone else, he's adjusting to the altitude. He'll be ready to go and is getting up to speed quickly."
8/14 at Houston Dynamo 6:30pm
8/17 at LA Galaxy 8:30pm
8/21 Home vs RSL 7:00pm
8/28 at SKC 7pm
9/4 at San Jose 8pm
9/11 Home to LA Galaxy 1:30pm
What to expect going forward from the new guys
In terms of the new blood getting game time, we can expect Mark-Anthony Kaye to start. What a seemless integration he's had. Man of the match performance in his first game. It's fair to say that as long as he isn't on international duty or injured he'll be starting in midfield every game.
Lucas Esteves has a chance of getting minutes but I'm not confident that he'll be starting right away. He could be worked in slowly whether that's off the bench or getting subbed off early. Regardless, I haven't been at training sessions to observe his performances. It's also completely possible he's showing off his quality and is rewarded with a start at Houston.
For Dom Badji, he hasn't been on the field yet since his return. With Rubio's status unclear going into the weekend, it's likely he'll see some minutes. My guess is that he won't start but will come off the bench for the Burgundy Boys.
Houston is a team that's struggling. They are third from the bottom in the Western Conference. The Dynamo are however unbeaten at home this season. As HC Fraser pointed out in the press conference, it's extremely hot and humid at BBVA Stadium. This is a similar advantage to us playing at altitude.
The biggest peice of information to take away is that the Dynamo are without several key players.
OUT for Houston Dynamo on Saturday: Urruti, Lassiter, Pasher and Baird. Arguablly the weakest link on their team is their right back, Valentin.
It's very possible that part of Colorado's strategy is to attack this space on the left flank. If the Rapids come out in the 532 that they deploy on the road frequently, then the left wingback will be given freedom to bomb forward. If Esteves doesn't get his chance, it's likely Galvan gets the nod. It's not entirely clear what Kellyn Acosta's status is for this game since he was out last game presumably for COVID related precautions. Perhaps he was in contact with someone and they're simply trying to minimize risk. If he's available to play I expect him to start alongside Price and Kaye in midfield.
My Predicted XI in a 532 formation:
The Colorado Rapids boast the second lowest goals allowed in the league. Yarbrough and the team defense are tied for the league lead with 8 shutouts. One of the most important things a team can do when playing away is lock it up defensively. Without a clear striker and recent lackluster performances, the Dynamo are a team in trouble. Meanwhile the Rapids are on a roll right now. Management decided to push for it this year by acquring players in the summer transfer window. Many fans tend to think a 5 at the back formation is overly defensive but that's not the case with this team. They're able to generate quality attacks whether it's on the counter or in possession. My prediction is a 0-2 win for the Burgundy Boys. Until next time, stay safe out there soccer fans!