Centennial 38

Centennial 38

Pre-Game: Chivas

by Brendan Wyatt

Revenge match! Not a single fan was happy with the result the last time Chivas came to town, so one can expect that the boys in burgundy feel the same.   We could even go as far as hoping that recent acquisition Carlos Alvarez will one up Martin Chavez and score three against his old team. Assuming he hit’s the pitch.

There is a good chance that Carlos Alvarez would get the start, considering Jose Mari is still out with an injury. Not to mention he didn’t have a bad showing last week in Portland. The big question is who we will see up top with Deshorn Brown still recovering from a leg injury. Will Edson Buddle get the start? Could we see Gaby Torres, or will the Rapids faithful breathe a sigh of discontent is they see Danny Mwanga’s name on the starter’s list?

On a different note, we could very well see the return of Vicente Sanchez. Fresh off a two game suspension, and no injuries to report, we should expect to see #7 return to the starting lineup tonight, as well as the homegrown ironman Shane O’Neill, who we missed last week. Nick LaBrocca also returns from a suspension, and is an option in the midfield as well.

Three points at home is not just a want, or a need, it’s a necessity. This could also be a momentum changer, where either our boys turn it on to start making a dent in the win column, or we hit a skid and go backwards in the standings. Good thing it’s a home match, and we have the chance to help cheer our boys on; they could always use the extra momentum.

Predicted starting XI: Clint Irwin – Marvell Wynne, Shane O’Neill, Drew Moor, Chris Klute. Carlos Alvarez, Dillon Powers, Vicente Sanchez, Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Serna. Gaby Torres.

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Post-Game Report: Portland Timbers Vs. Colorado Rapids

By: Michael Sandoval

It wasn’t a game we deserved to win, but the loss against the Portland Timbers on Friday night felt a bit unjust. The Rapids scored first and lead for most of the game but let it slip with less than twenty minutes to go, allowing the Timbers to score two goals in five minutes. It seemed like Colorado got tired and Portland capitalized.

The game started strong for our boys when Deshorn Brown was able to put the Rapids up in the 16th minute. The goal came off a corner where Drew Moor found himself unmarked and connected well with the initial cross from Dillon Powers.  Donovan Ricketts came up big and kept Moor’s effort out of the net, unfortunately for the Jamaican Veteran his defenders weren’t up to clearing the danger and Brown played the role of poacher and pushed the ball just over the line for his seventh goal of the year.

Clint Irwin did his part to keep the Rapids up, coming up with a big save in the 27th minute against Fanendo Adi. The Nigerian forward found himself away in space after pulling on Moor’s jersey, keeping the captain from properly tracking him. Adi didn’t capitalize on his chance and set his shot right into a sprawling Irwin. The game turned around when Brown went out with a muscle strain. He was what made our attack sharp and without him we never really pressured Ricketts consistently for the remainder of the game.

Colorado was able to keep their lead until the 71st minute when Portland scored a beautiful team goal which you had a hard time not applauding. A total of seven passes were made past half which cut through the Rapids defense and eventually saw Jack Jewsbury find Maximiliano Urruti inside the six for an easy tap in. It was a play deserving of a goal, simple as that. It went from a great team effort to a great individual effort which beat Colorado five minutes later. Diego Valeri received the ball well outside the eighteen and rifled a shot which bent into the top corner to give the Timbers the lead and the eventual win.

They were two plays that would have beaten any team but we allowed them to happen and we dropped points on the road, snapping our three game unbeaten streak (one win, two draws). While both goals were pleasant on the eye it was soft defending that allowed them to happen. On the first goal, maybe be a little more physical (remember, Spain hates that). On the second, why does Valeri have so much space to receive the ball? Chivas USA comes to town on Friday (Man U. is in town on Saturday so they bumped up the game) and it’s a must see as our coach, our legend, Pablo Mastroeni gets inducted to our Gallery of Honor. Be there early to see the ceremony. We’ll cheer together.

 

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Pre-Game: Away @ Portland

by Brendan Wyatt DL 620px-Rapids-PreInfographic-Portland-v2

There is a little fear going into tonight’s Colorado Rapids v Portland Timbers game. There will be no Nick LaBrocca due to yellow card accumulation. The Rapids have options to plug in the holes in the midfield. Jared Watts has been getting minutes while Jose Mari recovers from an ankle sprain, and Marlon Hairston has been coming in off the bench regularly. New acquisition Carlos Alvarez also showed some creativity in the midfield last week.

Bigger fear comes out of the Shane O’Neill suspension that the disciplinary committee nailed him with this week. Suspended for this game only and an undisclosed fine, puts our homegrown iron man out of commission for this weekend. I am curious as to if we will see Gale Agbossoumonde now that there is a spot open at center back, or will we see Marvell Wynne shift back to the center and the return of Thomas Piermayr?

Vicente Sanchez still has to sit this one out for his incident a few weeks back. I expect to see Dillon Serna step in here, as he has provided intensity to the wing that we will need against a currently struggling Timbers defense.

It is also the Timbers offense that has been struggling, winless in their last four games, tonight’s match could provide us with a stalemate of teams struggling to play together, or a goal fury. The boys in burgundy have only won once in the Rose City, and it was around this time last year they went there and got slaughtered.

While there may be a little fear and anxiety going into tonight’s match as a fan, I have to feel confident that Coach Pablo and the staff have the boys prepared for this match. There is depth in the squad that we haven’t seen in years before. We have to be confident that when guys get scratched due to suspensions or injury that there are guys on the team who deserve to be out there and will make the best of the opportunity.

Predicted starting XI: Clint Irwin – Chris Klute, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Marc Burch. Jared Watts, Dillon Serna, Kamini Hill, Carlos Alvarez. Dillon Powers, Deshorn Brown.

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Post-Game Report: Philadelphia Union Vs. Colorado Rapids

By: Michael Sandoval

Sometimes a tie feels like a sweet, sweet victory, and that is how the tie against Philadelphia Union on Saturday night felt. The Colorado Rapids were down 3-1 with fifteen minutes left but a mixture of the Union imploding and the Rapids kicking it into fifth gear they got goals in the 79th and 86th minute, courtesy of Dillon Powers and Deshorn Brown respectively.

An old friend started the goal scoring in the 16th minute, Conor Casey scored a goal all too familiar Rapids faithful. Raymon Gaddis sent in a hard low cross which Casey one touched into the near post, giving Clint Irwin no chance. The lead didn’t last long as Colorado’s future answered Colorado’s past two minutes later. Dillon Serna made a beautiful run just outside the penalty area, dribbling around two Union defender and place the calmly into the lower corner. In the 30th minute Irwin came up with a save of the week nominee stop against Danny Cruz. The celebrations didn’t last long though as Sheanon Williams put away the resulting corner to give Philadelphia the 2-1 lead.

The craziness started in the 74th minute when Andrew Wenger scored one of the more sloppy goals you are bound to see this MLS season. Jared Watts lost possession near his own third and never was able to successfully fight off the counter attack caused by his lack luster play. The ball bounced around and Wenger found himself with the ball right outside the six and easy tapped it past an on rushing Irwin.

The Boys in Burgundy showed their class and refused to lay down after trailing by two, on the road, in the dying minutes of the game. The Union collapsed under the pressure in the 76th minute when Michael Lahoud kicked straight in the head Watts inside the eighteen. To be fair Lahoud was looking at the ball the way so there was no way the kick was intentional but he was shown red regardless, reducing Philadelphia to 10 men. Dillon Power put the penalty kick away with a nice stutter step run which sent Union keeper Zac Macmath the wrong way. In the 86th minute the Gabriel Torres showed us a quick glimpse of his talent when he made a darting run towards the middle of the field, found Brown who received the ball and turned towards net in one motion, leaving his defender scratching his head, and found the far post with well-placed shot. It was a beautiful goal which absolved him from his misses early in the game. This marks the first time the Rapids have been able to get a result this season after giving up three or more goals.

Hopefully Colorado can show the same determination in their next match when they travel to Portland to face the Timbers. Be sure to tone in at the odd time of 9 o’clock on a Friday night.

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Pre-Game: Union

by Brendan Wyatt Slider-Rapids-Pre-Philadelphia-v1

The Colorado Rapids are on a road trip for the next two games. Today they are in Philly looking to get three points from an eastern conference team. The Rapids have faced off against the Union six times, winning three, losing once, and drawing twice.

When we face an eastern conference team we may only get one chance at beating them. Last year we lost our chance at a win versus Philadelphia, so in essence this could be seen as a revenge match. One not to take lightly, a win could potentially see the Rapids move ahead of Real Salt Lake for 2nd place.

Sad news just before the team set off to Philly, the MLS disciplinary committee smacked Vicente Sanchez with a two game suspension for his tackle on Columbus defender Hector Jimenez in the 79th minute of last weeks game. Dillon Serna is likely to be his replacement out on the wing. Edson Buddle or Gaby Torres could also be options to replace leading scorer Vicente Sanchez. With Jose Mari still out with an ankle issue, there is also a chance we could see newly acquired Carlos Alvarez jump into the midfield instead of Jared Watts.

There is some good news; Maurice Edu is suspended due to a red card last week. This will leave a hole on the back line, and quite possibly the midfield as well. The Union has a scouting report on the Rapids on their site. It’s not completely accurate, calling Chris Klute a right back, and thinking Edson Buddle might get the start. They did pick out the fact that our Rapids are weak at defending set pieces though.

Our boys in burgundy are 2-3-2 on the road this season, it’s not great, but it’s better than the Unions 1-2-4 record at home. We’ve only scored 8 goals on the road, and scored 3x (24) as much at home. One can hope that our boys brought some of that scoring luck with them.

Predicted Starting XI: Clint Irwin – Marvell Wynne, Shane O’Neill, Drew Moor, Chris Klute, Dillon Serna, Nick LaBrocca, Carlos Alvarez, Kamini Hill. Dillon Powers, Deshorn Brown.

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Post-Game Recap: Colorado Rapids Vs. Columbus Crew

By: Michael Sandoval

I personally feel the Fourth of July game is always a must win for the Rapids as an organization. It’s always a sellout, everyone is in high spirits and excited to be entertained. If you pull off a great win, one of the best performances of the year, you could win over a couple hundred, couple thousand fans. When the spotlight is on you, you need to be able to put on a good show. The Rapids failed to do this last night in their 1-1 draw to Columbus. It was a performance you would rather forget about when it needed to be the opposite.

Colorado failed to really control the ball consistently throughout the match and were in fact put on their heels by a Columbus team who was going for the win. Vicente Sanchez started the game strong, challenging Crew goalie Steve Clark in the opening minutes of the game. Despite this opening spark the first half went by with little to cheer for those wearing burgundy. Marvell Wynne made a couple of threating runs up the right side he never was able to find someone inside the eighteen. Clint Irwin made a couple of nice saves after our shape got a little louse on counters and the young keeper showed us why he would eventually get Man of the Match honors.

After a scoreless first half the Crew gave us a scare when Jairo Arrieta was finally able to beat Irwin in the 57th minute but the goal was called back for off sides. Minutes later the Rapids got on the board after Wynne put in a good cross which was put in (I guess) by Eric Gehrig for an own goal. Sanchez was the attended target and did get a piece of the cross but the final touch was ruled to come off Gehrig for an own goal.

Then the unthinkable happened…Dillon Powers made a mistake. In the 76th minute Powers seemed to get possessed and sent a long ball…to our defenders. It seemed like Colorado handled the mistake well when Jared Watts seemed to control it inside the eighteen, but he fumbled on his first step and Ethan Finlay pounced on the loose ball, giving Irwin no chance on the save. It was a tough goal to take but for all the good he has done, no one is mad at Powers. It happens, and in all honestly the Crew deserved the goal, they looked the better side.

The Rapids travel to Philadelphia next Saturday to take on the Union and keep this unbeaten streak alive.

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Pre-Game: Columbus

by Brendan Wyatt Slider-Rapids-Pre-Columbus-v1

Happy 4th! The timing of this game could not be any better. Not that we’ve ever had an problem filling Dicks Sporting Goods Park on the 4th, but right after the World Cup craze that the media created, we’ve got to have more fans by now. Maybe not fans, but at least peak their interest to see some great soccer live.

Last week, our boys in burgundy played well. It was solid soccer, and they deservedly took the three points from that game. One can hope that the momentum they built up while on break, and with that win last week that they can carry it into this game.

I should also mention that the Rapids have taken 10 points out of a possible 12 in the last four league games at home. They also have a 12-3-2 all-time record on the 4th of July. The Columbus Crew, our opponent today has played here twice on the 4th, coming away with one win and a tie. I think it’s time to add a loss to that column.

The Crew has been a bit lackluster on the offensive side of things, drawing in their last three games, not scoring at all in the last two. Crew fans will tell you that’s because Wil Trap has been out of the lineup, and his presence matters. He is expected to return today.

The Rapids are without midfield general Jose Mari, and will be until August sometime. There was a mid-week trade that involved Nathan Sturgis going to Chivas and Carlos Alvarez coming to the Rapids. Alvarez, a 23 year old attacking midfielder might be something we need. I don’t see him coming in and making an impact right away, I think the coaching staff wants the players used to the altitude first.

So with that being said I think tonight’s lineup will look very similar to the lineup we saw last week. It was solid, and refines, the boys played a good game. The back four is a wall in front of Clint Irwin, and even though Jared Watts is a rookie, his game is to grind it out and play. Much like Nick LaBrocca, who we should see lining up next to Jared Watts.

In fact, if there are any changes made, I believe it would be due to an injury picked up late in the week. I expect the boys to have an extra bit of mmpphh, that little extra bit of something magical to give us a good show. Vicente Sanchez is back and in good health, Dillon Powers is turning into a Clint Dempsey, and Kamani Hill has scored in nearly every game he’s been in.

Oh, and after the game, there is a big fireworks show too!

Predicted starting XI: Clint Irwin – Marvell Wynne, Shane O’Neill, Drew Moor, Chris Klute. Dillon Powers, Jared Watts, Nick LaBrocca, Kamani Hill. Vicente Sanchez, Deshorn Brown.

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Post-Game Report: Colorado Rapids Vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

By: Michael Sandoval

The Rapids came out of the World Cup break with a very professional win against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Dillon Powers and Vicente Sanchez got the goals for Colorado, with both goals coming in the first half. The Whitecaps will say the break came at the wrong time from them as they came into the game riding an eight game unbeaten streak. Two weeks will kill off any momentum they were riding (frankly I forgot they haven’t lost since May 7th) and this showed as Vancouver was never truly in the game.

Powers got the scoring started in the 20th minute when he collected a ball from Marvell Wynne inside the eighteen, turned his body and placed the ball beautifully into the far corner. Powers struck the crossbar minutes early, he played a great coming from that right side. Deshorn Brown may not have scored a goal in the game but he was a real pest for the Whitecaps back line. The peak of their frustration came in the 35th minute when Nigel Reo-Coker foolishly took Brown town inside the 18 in what seemed to be a pretty harmless play. Sanchez has been automatic from the spot this year and doubled our lead to 2. A few minutes later Sanchez got the great crowd to get off their feet as he tried a very cheeky bicycle kick which looked destined for net but Whitecaps goal keeper David Ousted was able to get both hands on it to keep Sanchez from winning goal of the year.

The second half didn’t see much action. The Rapids did a great job keeping Vancouver from creating any real consistent attacking pressure. Clint Irwin was forced to save early though easily but it went behind for a corner. His best save probably came late into the match around the 83rd minute when a shot from the top of his eighteen took a big deflection and young keeper once again showed his class by adjusting his body and pushing the ball past his post for another corner.

The Rapids next host the Columbus Crew for their annual July 4th celebration. Great soccer and then great fireworks, hope to see you at the party.

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Pre-Game: Vancouver

by Brendan Wyatt Slider-Rapids-Pre-Whitecaps-v1

One of the first lessons I learned as a kid when playing soccer was that it’s a team sport. That if one person drops the ball, or screws up, everyone else pays the price as well. That lesson was carried over into the Navy, where if one of our shipmates acted selfishly, the entire division would pay the consequence. This established a “team player” like mentality in me, that apparently one of my media collogues did not develop. I got wind through the grapevine that the reason training has been shut off to the public is due to a reporter breaking the unwritten code; he tweeted out information prior to a game, that should have stayed close to the chest.

So with that being said, I’m going to shift focus and let’s talk about our fellow C38’rs for a few. Over the break I observed the dedicated and loyal Rapids fan at the two U.S. Open Cup games. Within the first few minutes of the game against Orlando City I tweeted “C38 may be louder in sec 125 than in the terraces, may be just me or that there are a few hundred people in the stands but it’s good to hear them”. I believe that tweet led to an article by the Burgundy Wave “Should C38 consider moving”.

Then against Atlanta, I sat with my parents for the second half, a section away from the very animated C38. At times my parents would join in on the chants. They don’t do that. They haven’t. It was easier to understand what was being said; both in the press box, and right there a section away. I also had season tickets in section 133, row 1, I had to go through the terraces to get to my seats, and I shit you not, I could hear them better when they were in 125.

I have a little animosity here. A few league games back I sent out a plea in my pre-game article that we do the “I believe” chant. It can’t just be reserved for the American Outlaws anymore, not when the whole country has been doing it, even at the Oklahoma City Thunder playoff games. It’s crossed sports. I felt that we had the perfect set up, with 108 being C38; we could get the stands involved, and reply to the terraces chants. It never happened.

I’m starting to believe now that no matter how hard the terraces try, getting the rest of the stadium involved is a difficult task. 1) Some people see the terrace as the hooligans’ place, and don’t want to associate themselves with what they are doing. They are just ignorant, and are at the wrong sporting event. 2) The terraces are isolated, and at a distance from the most of the field and the rest of the stands, it’s no wonder why everyone else has a hard time hearing them.

Think we can try again? Is it possible that we can get the whole stadium involved with C38 going back to the terraces? Ok, so maybe it doesn’t have to be “I believe”, it could just be “Go…Rapids”. The 12th man can really be a difference, and I know we got it in us to rock the place, and tonight they may need us.

Vancouver is riding an 8 game unbeaten streak, and would like to keep the momentum going. They want some payback too; the Rapids are one of two teams that have beaten them so far this season. They also haven’t forgotten the fact that we eliminated them from playoff contention.

The Rapids haven’t got a big history with Vancouver, in the nine meetings together the Rapids took five of them, and only tied once. The Rapids and Whitecaps both have 22 points, so three points here are needed in order to create space between us and them.

Ok, so now let’s talk a little lineup speculation. One thing has been sure, Pablo hasn’t used the same lineup when playing more than one game in a week. On Tuesday we saw two different wingbacks, I expect that to be the same again. I believe Marvell Wynne will return in place of Thomas Piermayr. It was interesting to see Chis Klute left out of the first team 18, and though his last game wasn’t great, I think he will be back in the lineup today.

Vicente Sanchez got about 60 minutes in on Tuesday, which I think was just working himself back up for today, league play. Dillon Serna has to sit this one out, so who comes in to play in that position? I’m thinking Edson Buddle. It was good to see him get in there against Atlanta, and he was just an afro away from a goal in the closing minutes. Like Coach Pablo said following the Atlanta game, they need to finish on their chances. They got a lot of them, and I think there will be even more with Buddle and Sanchez back in the lineup.

Predicted Starting XI: Clint Irwin – Marvell Wynne, Shane O’Neill, Drew Moor, John Neeskens. Jose Mari, Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Powers, Vicente Sanchez. Deshorn Brown, Edson Buddle.

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Pre Game: U.S. Open Cup v Atlanta

by Brendan Wyatt

I should be happy and elated to be writing about the Rapids again but there is a part of me that feels the need to vent. Obviously I am happy to be reporting on our beloved boys in burgundy, but it makes me sad to also report that between the coaching staff and the front office, the Rapids closed training to the media and public. MLS requires that every team leave fifteen minutes open to the media for questioning and interviews, which is typically at the very end.

Every MLS team reserves the right to have closed practices. I suppose we got used to open training sessions and maybe even took it for granted a little. Hell in my case, I scheduled the rest of my life and work days around Rapids training. I set aside one day a week to make sure I spent three hours at training. Most of it was for soccer, but I made friends there too. It became a weekly routine in which I looked forward to, even as an escape from regular reality.

Who was really hurt? It was the three to five super fans who dedicated every day to watching the Rapids train. It was the daycares, and soccer academies that would come out to training to show the kids how the big boys play. Even worse, John Neeskens mother traveled from Barcelona to watch her boy practice, if not play, and they closed it off to her too.

So with that being said, my insight to tonight’s U.S. open Cup game against Atlanta is only as good as my intuition. In the past I could rely on that, but that was before Coach Pablo, and his unpredictability. There is a 60% chance that we will see the same lineup we did last week, maybe Vicente Sanchez will be starting. Then there is that 40% chance that we will see our “B” team. That has been the case each time we have had more than one game a week. With MLS action returning on Saturday, there is a small part of me that fears a shuffled lineup against a lower league team we may know nothing about. With the exception of Chris Klute and Joe Nasco, both of whom played for Atlanta before making homes in Colorado.

With the return of Vicente Sanchez, Edson Buddle, and Gaby Torres to full health and fitness I do expect some changes in the lineup. Not so much because these players are back in good health, but rather the fact we play two games this week. League play returns Saturday, but there is silverware to play towards tonight. What do you do?

I’d start the guys who have been working towards full health as a game to get more minutes in before league play. Dillon Serna’s suspension will not go in effect until Saturday, so this game is another chance for him to stay in form. If you bring in Vicente Sanchez to start, do you sit Dillon Serna, or Kamani Hill? Hill has been scoring, so it’s hard to take a player out who has been in good form, but Serna has pace, stamina, and creativity.

We got a roster that can rival any team, in pretty much any league in our country so you could pick names out of a hat, and we would stand a chance. It is hard to say that, when both times our “B” team played in league, it didn’t turn out well. Players are getting better and when you look at them individually, you can see how strong we are; now it’s about chemistry, which typically comes with playing together.

My predicted lineup tonight is what I think is the strongest lineup we could create. I also think that if you are going to shuffle things, or try something new then let this be the game. It’s not televised. In hindsight, there isn’t that big of a deal around this game so the critics won’t be as loud. Seriously, there were maybe a thousand people in the stadium last week against Orlando City; the press box was nearly empty as well, so there won’t be that many eyes on what the Rapids are doing. If you are going to experiment, then try this: Clint Irwin – Chris Klute, Gale Agbossoumonde, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne. Jose Mari, Vicente Sanchez, Dillon Powers, Shane O’Neill. Edson Buddle, Deshorn Brown.

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