The Rapids head into their First Kick match against Columbus with some pretty decent stats on their side; in 17 overall meetings at Colorado, Columbus have taken away just three wins. The teams have met in the playoffs twice in as many years with the Rapids advancing both times, but as any soccer fan knows, morale is a huge factor in the game, and a win at Colorado would be huge for Columbus.
The Rapids have a lot on the line too: no one wants to lose at home, and no one wants to lose on opening day. It’s coach Oscar Pareja’s first chance at the helm, and everyone is excitedly waiting to see what he’s going to do with it. I feel like it’s a match the Rapids can (and should) take three points from, but I expect Columbus to give us a good match.
With regard to lineup, I have some speculations, but that’s really the best I can offer in light of all the new faces both on the staff and on the bench. I know we won’t see Conor Casey or Jamie Smith, who are still recovering from last season’s injuries (Achilles and ACL tears, respectively), nor will we see new signing Martin Rivero, whose paperwork was not cleared in time to make him eligible for this match. Other new signings Kohei Yamada (whose misspelled name in my last post was a typo and not due to the fact that I don’t know his name), Jaime Castrillon and Luis Zapata are all eligible, and I expect we’ll see Zapata on the field in place of defender Anthony Wallace who tore his Achilles in practice just this week.
If I had to pick a starting 11 (and I feel like I do…), I’d say Matt Pickens in goal; Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, and Zapata on the back line; Drew Moor, Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz in the midfield, and Omar Cummings…Castrillon aaaand…gah! I don’t even know. There are at least 3 people who could fill that last attacking spot. I gave you a starting nine-and-a-half. Let’s just wait and see what Pareja thinks.
Glory, Glory Colorado!
(image courtesy of Getty Images)