Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Matchday @The Dick: Rapids vs Red Bulls

Photo credit: EricMagnuson

Good afternoon! It's a weird time to be a RBNY supporter, but whatever - there's an away fixture to look forwart to tonight. That's right Red Bulls fans! Our team travels to the Mile High City to take on the reigning MLS Champion Colorado Rapids (9:30pm ET, MSG+). Let's take a look at how both teams come into this one.

The 5th place (Western Conference) Rapids are coming off a tough 4-3 away loss to the Seattle Sounders. Worse than the three points dropped, Colorado lost their main offensive weapon, Conor Casey, for the year due to a torn achilles tendon injury. Despite this, the Rapids will feel that their stacked frontline can do the business against RBNY and that their defense can compensate for Casey's absence.

The New York Red Bulls come into this one not having tasted victory in the last five games. In fact, RBNY hasn't scored a goal in the last three games, if you count the US Open Cup debacle @Chicago. If the Red Bulls have any hope of finishing first in the East, a victory is a must here. The Red Bulls will feel that their new and improved defense can cope with Colorado's potent offense. After not being tested against Chivas USA, new goalkeeper Frank Rost will have his hands full tonight. Can he cope? Will the team run out of lung capacity in the second half, at altitude (as has happened in the past)? We shall see. But nevermind all that, let's get to some predictions.

Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
Look, we've won 2 of our last 14 games. Could we win in Colorado? I suppose it's conceivable, but it's not a place where we've had any great success recently. Sure, the Rapids will be missing Casey, but that just makes it another game we SHOULD win, and we all know how well we do in those games. So my prediction's for a 2-1 loss to Colorado. Lindpere will score one for us but it won't be enough.

The loss will send the already screeching hordes of Red Bull haters into an almighty fit, which will culminate in whatever ugliness we see on Saturday against Dallas. You thought things were bad now? Get ready for much worse. But let's be clear - this team's current problems have very little to do with branding, as much as some would like it to be so, and everything to do with poor squad management and a general lack of ideas.

If the Red Bulls continue to stumble through the Emirates Cup and the start of August, I suspect we will start hearing rumblings about Henry's early retirement as well. God I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see a lot to be hopeful about at the moment, as much as I try.
I'm going to predict a loss. I'll say 1-0 to Colorado. Altitude is always a factor in this fixture, so look for Miller Time to be sucking it up, as a Rapids forward goes right through him.

Homebrew Tim has this for us:
We will see more of the agonizing Henry/Agudelo pairing this week. If Juan would remember to be in awe of his good fortune and talent, and work hard every day, instead of tweeting about how much he loves L.A., I'd be more enthused. As it is, it seems our forwards can not get on the same page. Plus, we're back to watching Henry in our back left corner chasing balls that have gotten past Roy Miller. Why is his Achilles so bad? Is it because he's running endline to endline for 90 minutes?

But, in the back, we have Frank Rost, which is super-fun to say with a German accent. On Saturday, there was one shot that was headed straight for goal until the ball saw Frank standing in front of goal; the ball swerved by itself out of fear and deflected safely off the crossbar. Watch that shot again; I'm telling you.

With our impotent front line, a midfield struggling to find their touch and rhythm, and our proclivity for draws on the road, and the fearsome presence of Rost standing as our final line of defense, we're likely in for another 0-0 draw Are we capable of anything else? Sure; the altitude and our lack of subs could come back to bite us on the ass as we wither in the second half again. I'm hoping we can find a way to hang on. 0-0 borefest.
Dan Dickinson has this for us:
I took a look at the historical record and I am frightened to say that
we haven't scored more than one goal away at Colorado since the team
changed names. Given the weather forecast and how miserable the team
looked in the heat at Chicago, I'm expecting us to run out of gas in
the second half. So even with Conor Casey shelved, I'll go with 1-1,
on a Richards goal and a Cummings set piece disaster. And maybe after
the game we can trade Ballouchy back for Kandji, since their swap
happened right after the home game last year.
David Kilpatrick (aka Dr.K) has this for us:
Never easy Mile High but with the injury to Casey, our chances improve. I say we sneak out of Denver with a 0-1 win.
Finally, our man in the UK, Glenn Williams, has this for us:
I've completely lost all hope and enthusiasm for this side right now. 2-0 Colorado
That's all for now. Viper Out!
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