Categorized | Game Previews

Rapids host Wizards

Posted on 26 March 2009 by Jeff Cann

Both Colorado and Kansas City opened the 2009 MLS season with losses. Colorado lost 2-1 at Chivas and Kansas City lost 3-2 to Toronto FC at home. Despite being in different MLS conferences for the past few seasons, the Rapids and the Wizards are traditional regional rivals with little affection between the two sides. The Rapids are 16-19-8 against the Wizards and the home team dominates the series – the Wizards with 15 home wins and the Rapids with 13 home wins.

Kansas City will look to break a five game winless streak at Colorado, losing 4 of 5 games in the past 5 seasons. The Rapids will look to play attacking football on their home ground under new gaffer Gary Smith. Since opening Dick’s Sporting Goods Park [DGSP] in 2007, the Rapids have won both home openers by a 6-1 aggregate score. With a win on Saturday, the Rapids would set a franchise record for consecutive wins in season home openers.

The Rapids captain, Pablo Mastroeni and Wizards midfielder Roger Espinoza will miss this game due to international duty.

After Seattle Sounders FC opened the season with an impressive 3-0 win, the MLS Western Conference looks to be even more competitive in 2009.  There are 8 teams playing for 2 guaranteed positions in the MLS Cup tournament.

The Rapids will need to attack the Wizards to establish early possession dominance. The Wizards can escape with a tie if they can withstand the one-two punch from Rapids strikers Connor Casey and Omar Cummings who played well in the preseason. In the Chivas game, they had several chances, along with left winger Colin Clark. The absence of Pablo Mastroeni will affect the Rapids midfield. Jacob Peterson is expected to fill Mastroeni’s position.

Commerce City received over a foot of snow on Thursday and more snow is expected on Friday. So the weather will definitely affect this game as temperatures are forecast in the low 40s.  I expect this game to be a defensive battle with a low score.

Prediction:  Rapids 1-0

INJURY REPORT

Colorado Rapids
OUT: None
DOUBTFUL: None
QUESTIONABLE: None
PROBABLE: DF Ty Harden (groin)

Kansas City Wizards
OUT: FW Adam Cristman (fifth metatarsal fracture); GK Eric Kronberg (shoulder surgery); DF Chance Myers (fifth metatarsal fracture); MF Kevin Souter (adductor strain)
DOUBTFUL: None
QUESTIONABLE: None
PROBABLE: None

SUSPENDED
COL- None
KCW- None

ON CAUTION WARNING
COL- None
KCW- None

NATIONAL TEAM CALL-UPS
COL- MF Pablo Mastroeni
KCW- Roger Espinoza

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