Saturday, June 6, 2009

Thoughts on Tonight’s match: Rapids at RSL


I think we should expect dramatic changes tonight.  Why?  Well there is the winless streak (6 games); the recent lack of scoring (3 goals in those 6 games); and the absence of Morales and Beckerman.  So what should we expect?


Although Kreis has shown a propensity for the 4-4-2 diamond, we have also started to see some variations recently.

4-4-2 ?  Will they stick with the standby?  Will they go to a traditional 4-4-2? 

4-5-1 ?  They’ve used this a fair amount in recent games, with very limited success. 

4-3-3 ?  Could this formation help them to break out of their recent scoring drought?

3-5-2 ?  Would something like this help them maintain better control of the ball in the midfield and also get back into the scoring groove?


Here are the available players for tonight:

FWD: Espindola, Movsisyan, Findley, Escalada, Nunez

MF: Johnson, Grabavoy, Mathis, Williams, Cox, Alexandre

DEF: Wingert, Beltran, Borchers, Olave, Russell, Horst, Joy

GK: Rimando, Reynish



What mentality will RSL employ?  Will they have a cautious approach and pick and choose their opportunities?  Will their outside backs stay at home, especially with some new players in the mix, or will they thrust forward into the attack?  Will the team come out with guns blazing and try to put pressure on Colorado from the opening kick?


My thoughts: I think the formation, personnel and mentality are all related issues.  I don’t think RSL can afford to sit back and hope they take advantage of opportunities.  I think they need to make their own chances.  As Jason Kreis said today on KUTV news, “We desperately, desperately need the 3 points.”

So what does that mean for the formation and personnel?  Well, I think you need to put your best players out there.  My guess is that the team will start out in a 4-3-3/4-5-1 with Espindola, Movsisyan and Findley up top; Johnson, Grabavoy, and Mathis in the midfield; and Beltran Borchers, Olave and Russell on the back line.  While I’m not sure Beltran is better than Wingert, I think the team may have more confidence in him minding his defensive responsibilities.  I also think you could argue for Andy Williams in the starting lineup, but I think he’ll more likely be the first sub off the bench.

This formation will be an attacking one offensively with 3 strikers on the field, but will likely morph into a 4-5-1 defensively as 2 of the 3 forwards will be given responsibility to track back into the midfield. 

Fortunately Colorado is also missing a couple of key players: Pablo Mastroeni and Conor Casey, who are both with the USNT.  Colorado has been playing well recently but Casey has been a catalyst for this.  I still see us getting upset at home in this one: 2-1 Colorado. 

But at least there’s Archie.