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Game 14 – Rapids @ Crew Pregame

June 27, 2008

The Crew return home after a two game road trip. Despite only winning once in the last 6 games, the Crew are only four points out of 1st place. They are also four points away from missing the playoffs, so that makes a win against an up and down Colorado team imperative to stay in playoff position. The task is might be slightly easier as Rapids offensive stalwart Christian Gomez has picked up an injury and may not be able to play. It certainly hurts a team that has already been awful on the road.

Crew on Offense: The Crew face a Colorado defense in transition. The Rapids have switched to a three man back line. The Crew midfield will have to work extra hard to find space in the packed midfield. Rogers and Ekpo will have to work hard to find space and keep the Colorado wings occupied. They can open the game and really spread the Rapids midfield. Carroll and Evans will be outnumbered in the center of the park and have the tall task of holding the possession for the offense. Evans must play better than last week. He was often uninvolved, despite the goal. Schelotto does track back deeper into the midfield and is good at finding seams, which should help out Carroll and Evans against the numerical advantage that the Rapids have in the midfield. Goal poacher Alejandro Moreno will have his work cut out as well as he goes up against Pablo Mastroneni, so I am not looking for the offense to go through Moreno. Ultimately, the Rapids defense has too many holes and the Crew should punch through. I see Rogers and Ekpo really stretching the Rapids and opening the game up.

Crew of Defense: Much of the Rapids offense runs through Gomez, it would be a break for the Crew if he is unavailable. Colorado does have some weapons. Looking towards the wings, Cooke and Clark can do some damage. I am concerned about Junge. He had problems against Beckham last week. On the positive side, neither Clark or Cooke are Beckham. My hope is that Rogers and Ekpo keep the Colorado wings out of the game offensively, with offensive pressure. It will also be interesting to see how Evans handles his defensive assignments. Neutralizing the Colorado advantage in the midfield will go a long way to stopping the Rapids offense and securing the three points.

Final Thoughts: Colorado is awful on the road, may be missing their key player, and just shuffled their lineup. I have visions of Robbie Rogers running past the Colorado defense, deft Schelotto passes and even a goal coming out of midfield. Any way I look at this I see this a Crew victory, but I also thought that about the San Jose game. The Crew will remain focused and take care of business.

‘Rapids 1 – Crew 2

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