Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rapids at FC Dallas

The Colorado Rapids are in Frisco, Texas today to play FC Dallas. Dallas has 2 wins and 3 ties in their last 10 games. While they're struggled for points during this stretch they've only been shut out once, a 1-0 loss at New York. Can the Rapids shut them out this time around?

The only injuries with the Rapids worth noting at this time, sorry Justin, are Mike Petke, Tom McManus and all-star Christian Gomez. As you may know Petke is working to regain fitness after a long layoff after a foot injury that occurred in the 2007 season. Christian Gomez has been carrying a couple of knocks the last few weeks. And Tom "Tam" McManus was subbed out against San Jose after looking ineffective. It turned out that his picked up knee injury early in the game.

As for the game, Jason at View From The Couch the Couch predicts this line-up : GK : Bouna Condoul Def : Ihemelu - Pablo - Erpen Midfield : LaBrocca sitting back, C.Gomez - Ballouchy, and Cooke and Clark on the wings Forwards : Cummings - Casey

As for myself, I don't see anything too different. I wouldn't be surprised to see Christian Gomez start the game on the bench. If Gomez does start, he very well could be coming out long before the 60th. Gomez has wonderful skills but wasn't blessed with great stamina. Clavijo has commented in the past that the heat and humidity in the summer in Texas means not only is a slower game played but that the coach must be ready to sub players he wouldn't normally need to. Starting a banged up Gomez who normally doesn't have great stamina when they're looking at air temps in Frisco in the mid to upper 90s means Clavijo would already be commiting one substitution to Gomez. Sounds crazy? Keep in mind with the Texas humidity that means mid-90s feel well over 100F. For example 88F there right now has an AccuWeather Real Feel of 97F) at Frisco tonight. Add to that in the past Terry Cooke has also seemed to struggle with that heat and humidity. Given all of that I expect to see John DiRaimondo starting in the midfield alongside Nick Labrocca. Ballouchy will be given more freedom to go forward. That would give some flexibility to the squad. If Cooke gets gased he could be replaced by Peterson or even Christian Gomez with Ballouchy, Nick, or John pushed out to the right.

In other news Nick over at We Want Rapidman has a nice look at the upcoming Rapids friendly against England's Everton FC. Add me to the list of people disappointed that Tim Cahill won't be out on the pitch. At least US fans should have a chance to see US National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard play.

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