Recapping last game & recent form
"We're getting contributions from everyone and that's why we're getting the results we are" said Head Coach Robin Fraser after last weekends match. Coming off a late game winning goal from Dom Badji, the Rapids are absolutely, unequivically on FIRE right now. If you haven't seen the replay of that dramatic goal from last weekend, enjoy it in all it's glory:
Badji earned an MLS Team of the Week nomination for his efforts in coming off the bench to score the only goal of the match vs San Jose Earthquakes. Michael Barrios was a constant threat and earned himself a Team of the Week nomination as well. Meanwhile, after making a fantastic reaction save on the line, in stoppage time no less, Will Yarbrough literally saved the game for us. Yarbrough is now tied for a league leading nine shutouts this season. His individual efforts are taking the league by storm where he also leads the league in save percentage with 77.5%. He cannot do it, however, without a solid team defense. Not only just the defenders sitting in front of him but also from the strikers closing down space and the midfielders like Price and Warner cleaning up everything in front of that back line, and they've done a fantastic job this season. Against the Quakes, the Rapids didn't even have enough players available to fill out all seven bench spots. Just like in life, it's all about overcoming adversity, and this team is doing just that. It simply doesn't matter if they're missing starters or squad players. A good team can get it done no matter what the obstacles are.
(Image: Colorado Rapids)
Our current position places us in an excellent spot particularly with playoffs around the corner. Not listed inside top 10... Real Salt Lake at #15. These rankings are released every Tuesday sparking endless debate. The Revs are in the drivers seat to lock down the Supporters Shield (most points in a season in MLS) although it's not over yet. Fixtures in September for the Burgundy Boys include LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC and Austin FC. October and going into November look to be much tougher when the Rapids take on Seattle Sounders, Minnesota United, RSL, Sounders again, Timbers again, Revs at Foxborough, Houston and closing out the season at home against LAFC. National media says we have to beat, not just tie, at least one of the top teams in order to be considered a true contender this season. We'll see if the goal posts are moved again but there is some degree of truth to this. A statement win is still looming.
What to expect vs LA Galaxy
I’ll be sharing my predicted XI plus who's likely unavailable and who’s on the bench. It's #2 vs #4 in the Western Conference...and two of the top 10 teams in all of MLS. This matchup has everything and should be an open, exciting match to watch.
With four wins and one draw in the past five games, Rapids are in great form heading into this match. Anchored by a stout defense, they are ranked second in goals allowed this season with just 20 goals allowed. On the offensive end, it's been scoring by committee where traditional winger, Mikey Barrios, leads the team with five goals. Although there's been a reliance on set peices in the past, this Rapids team scores in a variety of ways. They are capable of building up through possession, long balls over the top, hitting the opponet on a quick counter or taking advantage of set peices. This makes them a hard team to defend against when you don't know how they're going to come at you, and they don't have one player who scores all the goals. Very unpredictable. Distribution of goals this season has been 20 from open play, eight on set pieces, one free kick and one penalty.
Acosta and Kaye both played Wednesday night during their respective nation’s World Cup Qualifying matches. Therefore I do not expect them to start but will be available off the bench. There are question marks on the health of Rubio, Trusty and Abubakar. Lastly, we have a yellow card accumulation suspension for Price. Once again the Rapids are missing quite a few key players, but once again I expect everyone to step up. As HC Fraser has said all season, it’s Next Man Up.
Here’s my Predicted XI:
Jack Price is out due to a yellow card accumulation suspension. Abubakar is coming off a nasty looking concussion from last week and his status remains unclear. Trusty and Rubio have been injured lately and we won’t know until about an hour before kickoff if they’re available. If so, they could both start. Stay tuned on my twitter feed for an update before the match starts.
Meanwhile the LA Galaxy are not in great form, losing twice and tying once in the past three games. They’ve been leaking goals in the back. Chicharito started the season in good form but since has picked up an injury. They have however dealt well without him, scoring goals and winning games. A replacement was signed from Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga 1, Dejan Joveljic. The Serbian scored twice against LAFC in their outing and certainly looks the part.
One of the more difficult players to deal with in this Galaxy side is their right back Julian Araujo. He can link up in the attack and provide problems down the flank. HC Fraser could opt for additional coverage to deal with this threat. At the end of the day, I expect more of the same from the Rapids. 532 formation starting out which can be very fluid and start to look like 343 or 523 once the boys get into a flow. The Rapids will look to control the game and force LA to defend. This is where they are least comfortable. It looks to be another hot day out there reaching into the 90s. Safe to assume we could see 2-3 early subs for each team. It’s a big moment for the club. A time to push forward. They certainly look well prepared for the occasion. It’s shaping up to be an exciting, open match and one of the most important ones of the season. It’s our only “day game” and will be on national tv. Enjoy the game and go Burgundy Boys!
RAPIDS VS LA GALAXY
SATURDAY 1:30 PM MT Kickoff
NATIONAL TV on Univision and TUDN
Until next time, stay safe out there soccer fans!