Categorized | Game Previews

Crew come to Colorado

Posted on 31 July 2009 by pshea

Leading the MLS East with 30 points, the reigning champion Columbus Crew will take on the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. kickoff). Both teams enjoyed victories this past weekend and have relatively healthy rosters. Guillermo Barros Schelotto is out with a left hamstring strain, but the rest of the Crew are reportedly available. Other than the six-week loss of Julien Baudet, the Rapids have a full roster too.

Colorado head coach Gary Smith also has two new players to bring on as substitutes. Argentinian forward Facundo Diz played the final minutes of last week’s Red Bull blowout, and Smith said Colorado’s fans will likely see Diz close the game again. Golden boot leader Conor Casey put in a lot of tough work during the MLS Allstar game on Wednesday, and Diz put in a solid hour in a reserve game this week. Newly acquired Scottish midfielder Jamie Smith also performed well for an hour in the reserve game and might make his debut as a substitute. In coach Smith’s estimation, his new midfielder is more physically prepared to contribute on Saturday night.

“It’s always a big concern when you bring in new players,” noted coach Smith. “They might not fit with what you’re trying to do, and their personalities might clash with others. But I have to say that Julien, Jamie, Facundo, and Pat have been great. Pat’s been terrific. He knows a lot of the players. But for the other three, it’s extremely tough. They’re coming from abroad from different cultures, but they’ve been wonderful. We’ve got a good group. The stars blessed us with the players we have. They’re all looking to achieve.”

The group chemistry of the Colorado team is very positive. When former Rapids defender Mike Petke came out of the Red Bulls locker room after getting blown out last Saturday night, it was like a family reunion with the wives and children of his former teammates.

“It’s a terrific team spirit,” coach Smith said of his players, noting how positive team spirit “is always an ingredient of success.”

Looking at the Crew roster, coach Smith said, “They have creative players, athletic and quick players, and also good strength and discipline. These are nice qualities to have. These are the sort of games that our players don’t need any motivation for. Without a doubt, they’ll be ready.”

Regarding his top striker’s form, coach Smith sid, “Conor’s a little bit tired from Wednesday. He played well. He put a lot of effort into the game.” Smith noted how Casey orchestrated the goal and “had some really terrific plays during the game. I thought he played ever so well.”

Baudet update
Coach Smith said his new French defender will be out about six weeks. He had a plate inserted to stabilize the fractured ulna and radius in his left arm this week, which Smith said, “should speed his recovery. In about three weeks, if possible, he can put a soft cast on and start running. When all’s said and done, you can pull your hamstring and be out for longer.”

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