RSL’s inconsistency this season is so frustrating when we see a flop match like we had against Montreal followed by a dominating performance against San Jose it can be frustrating. Still with a very young team at many positions and very old at other inconsistency is part of the price we pay for it, so with just a handful of matches left there is little room for mistakes if RSL want to push their way into the playoffs.
No match could come at a better time than this match against the Rapids who have yet to win a match on the road and have more losses than RSL, that is a great thing for RSL. The Rapids have just 4 goals on the road all season and have given up 17, RSL at home has been less than stellar with just a 5-4-4 record and 16 goals scored with 13 allowed. Still on paper this should be an easy match for RSL that is more talented and in better form than their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals.
The Rapids looked lost before the fired Pablo and look even worse since them, but this is the type of match they could look to frustrate RSL and hope to take advantage of a long ball over the top, something Montreal showed as a weakness of RSL. Still there are few real offensive threats for Colorado, Badji has 6 goals and 5 assists, and Doyle has 5 goals and 4 assists and nobody else has more than 3 goals and in fact only 5 players on the Rapids have scored more than 2 goals this season. Compared to RSL that has 6 players with 3 or more goals this season, a year we have struggled for goals.
The debate over Yura or Luis Silva will likely see another chapter of Silva in the starting lineup and while he has found the back of the net a few times and helps create more chances, I remain unconvinced that it is the right move for RSL that needs to score goals and win matches to keep their post season dreams alive. Yes the ability to bring in a Yura or Brooks Lennon later in matches is a great option to have but it often can be too little and too late for RSL. I will say that each match Rusnak looks more like the guy you build around, and while the combination of him and Savarino still looks like it needs some time to fully develop it is an exciting thing to watch. Plata continues to impress with his work rate and frustrate me with a lack of shots taken with his left foot, if you can pass with it you can shoot with it.
The bigger question remains the defense where we have seen injuries cause issues all season and while Nick Rimando has somehow picked up 7 clean sheets this year, while hitting the 100 in a RSL kit mark, it is an area of concern. Marcelo Silva seems to be the silver lining for RSL but when he went down with an early injury against Montreal it left a gap in the back. David Horst did well against San Jose but RSL probably now regrets moving Aaron Maund, they did bring up Nick Besler from the Monarchs a sign the injury to Silva may keep him out of action longer than expected.
The simple of this match is that RSL should be able to deal with anything the Rapid can throw at them, RSL is simply a better team than they are. That being said this is MLS and you know anything can happen. The Rapids have just a single win since the middle of June and like RSL this will be their 3rd match in a week so tired legs and lineup rotation can prove tricky to deal with. Neither side scores early, RSL has just 5 goals in the first 30 minutes of matches, while the Rapids have 8. The last 30 minutes is where RSL does their work with 21 of their 36 goals scored have come, the Rapids have just 7 goals in the final 30 minutes of matches this season so don’t leave before the final whistle.
This should be an easy 2-0 win for RSL at home, but tired legs from recent trips to the East coast and a busy schedule can always take a toll in a match that it would be easy to underestimate your opponent. The only question for me is if RSL can beat Timmy Howard in goal, he seems to have simply given up on this season but he is still one of the all time great keepers and beating him is no easy task, unless you are a Rapids defender.
That’s How I See It!