Saturday, June 24, 2017

Pre-Game: @ Atlanta United FC

by Brendan Wyatt

How quickly can we try to forget Wednesday’s result against LA?   It’s three days at the most.  The Rapids are in Atlanta tonight as they face off against Atlanta United FC for the first time in league history.  Although this is the first time the teams are meeting up, it won’t be the first time we see some of the guys on the opposing team.  Rapids fans know Jeff Larentowitz and Jacob Peterson very well. While they still have a lot to offer, it’s the youngsters like Miguel Almiron (8 goals 5 assists) Hector Villalba (6 goals 4 assists)and Julian Gressel (3 goals 5 assists) that are tearing up the league in their first year here.  

The Rapids are playing on a pitch they never have before and Atlanta has sold out every game so far this season, so it should be loud to say the least.  Atlanta is 4-2-0 at home which can give us a little room to hope that our burgundy boys can go in there and cause an upset.  Atlanta United FC is also the league leaders in scoring with 32 goals scored and are on a three game home winning streak.  United FC did lose their last game though so they too are looking to bounce back from a loss.

While Atlanta looks to be pretty healthy going into tonight’s match but the Rapids are still without a few key guys.  Shkelzen Gashi is still questionable.  Kevin Doyle may have broken his hand against LA. Mo Saied was carted off after the match on Wednesday and may be joining Bobby Burling and Nana Boateng on the long term injury list.  

The back four of the Rapids had a really rough Wednesday and if Coach Pablo is looking to change things up, he only really has two maybe three options.  Mekeil Williams and Eric Miller are fit and haven’t played a game in a week or so.  The third option would be Dillon Serna who played 90 in both the open cup match and on Wednesday, but still could be an option for outside back.  With Mo Saied out, Dillon Powers should return to the starting lineup.  

Atlanta has scored the first goal in a match 13 times this season, and has produced six multi-goal games.  Tonights opponents also average two goals a game and we can’t forget about Yamil Asad who is leading the league with 9 assists so far this year.  

Atlanta is an offensive threat for sure, but the defense has many holes and if the Rapids can do their thing on D, the counter attack might be a friend of the Rapids tonight.  

If you missed out on the trip to FoCo for the tour and game, don’t worry the regular spots will be available to you as well.  Remember, this is an east coast game so it will be a 5pm kickoff.  

Predicted starting XI: Howard, Hairston, Ford, Sjoberg, Miller.  Gatt, Azira, Powers, Serna, Badji, Gordon.