Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pre-Game: Houston

by Brendan Wyatt

Here we are at the end of the regular season for the Colorado Rapids as they face off against Houston today at the fortress we call “The Dick”. It’s MLS decision day, which holds a bit more anxiety than MLS draft day, but yet holds just as many unanswered questions.  For the last few years the Rapids have not been a part of decision day as their fate had already been sealed, but today, this year, things are very different. 
With a Rapids win, and a FC Dallas loss we could see our beloved team take the Supporters Shield, a first ever in Rapids history.  Should the Rapids win, and FCD tie, the shield would go to Dallas, only because they have more wins than us.  It’s not often you will want to root for the Galaxy, but today we do.  On the flip-side the Bill Belichick of MLS Bruce Arena has said he plans to rest some of his starters, if true, this could damper our hopes of LA taking three from FCD when we need them to the most.

Then there is the news of the long awaited return of Jermaine Jones.  Jones has finally broken the silence by coming out and saying he is finally ready to play.  He also has elaborated on the LCL injury that has kept him from donning burgundy for nearly four months.  He nearly tore the ligament from the bone.  That’s all water under the bridge now as the versatile midfielder has said he’s healthy and ready to go.  I expect him to come off the bench, but the question is, will he get Calvert minutes, or Pappa minutes?  Will he be given enough time to be effective?

There is no need for Coach Pablo to rest anyone at this point.  Given the Rapids position in the standings, they will be given time to rest before the first playoff match.  We should expect to see the same lineup that has been able to close out games and grab points (excluding the game in Portland last week) and we should expect to see the flying Irishman Kevin Doyle play in the #10 role. 
As for the enemy; Houston has little to play for, just their pride at this point.  Well, pride and spoiler depending on how things unfold outside the state of Colorado.  Sitting in last place with a 2-9-5 record away from home the Dynamo might have their sights set out for the golf course; we can only hope.
Game time is at 2pm, an early start from what we are used to. That means C38 kicks off the tailgate at 11am.   Mimosa’s & brunch, along with the regular lunch will be available.  The Voice crew will be rocking it out as well as going over who won the “Voicies”.  Most valuable player, best defensive player, bust of the year and so on.  Not to mention we keep that VOC38 karma going with G.I. Joe Greenspan as he makes his first visit out to the epic tailgate.  Come get in on all the action and bring your cheering voice, today the 12th man will get recognition as it’s also fan appreciation night.

Predicted starting XI: Tim Howard, Eric Miller, Jared Watts, Axel Sjoberg, Marc Burch.  Sam Cronin, Dillon Powers, Sebastian Le Toux, Kevin Doyle, Shkelzen Gashi, Dom Badji.