Match Preview: USOC New York Red Bulls v Colorado Rapids
The Rapids travel to New York today in their continuing quest for their first US Open Cup.
Benjamin Kowalsky
May 26th 2010

Heres a quick preview for todays match against the New York Red Bulls:

We arent going to be seeing a whole lot of coverage of this game (though the Red Bulls have graciously decided to expend the bandwith and livecast the game on their website here. Youll need to get Microsoft Silverlight to watch the match, but that shouldnt be too hard.

The Red Bulls are probably gassed from a dream win against Italian giant Juventus. As a Colorado fan, I naturally question the value of International Friendlies as well as the value of Designated Players as a way of coping with the fact that we have yet to secure either. But the match with Juve proved to me that these friendlies are really only good for drawing crowds and generating buzz. If the NYRB take away some confidence from the match, it should be because they played fairly well, but not because they actually felled Juventus. Frankly, I just looks like teams that come to the US arent really looking to compete at their highest level. Theyre more content to simply take it easy and enjoy themselves on the pitch.

As if to confirm my suspicions, Clarence Seedorf had thisto say about international friendlies:

"Were not motivated...We are professionals, and were going to try to entertain the people, and thats the most important thing. Motivation is low because its the end of the season, and we dont have anything else to play for except the people...

"You wont see the best of the best in this game. To do that you need to be in Europe during the season when everybodys top fit and highly motivated."

I rest my case. Colorado should not be nervous that these guys beat Juventus. For an indication of how the Red Bulls actually play, look to matches against Seattle and Columbus. Both loses.

However, in the match tonight I am guessing that the lineup for the Bulls is going to look much the same as it did against Juve:





I think Petke and Ream are going to start in central defense. Chinn had a good game last time against Juve so I expect that hell get a start.

As for the Rapids, heres who I think will get the start against the Red Bulls:






So Im predicting a mix of the younger guys with the more experienced guys peppered throughout. After Mehdis good performance against DC, I think Smith will be eager to use him in the starting 11, especially with the more speedy options of Ross and Quincy on either side of him. If Mehdi distributes well to these two, this game could be over within half an hour. Akpan gets the start up top over Casey. Gary is probably going to rest him and use him as a Sub if necessary. I predict hes also going to rest Colin, Lopez, and Thompson and bring them in as subs when necessary. But for starters up top I pick a very young and energetic line-up.

Pablo and Jeff are going to add in a bit more maturity to anchor the front four in order to offer balance and control the pace of the match. I predict Gary will start them just for that reason, depending on fitness, they may or may not play the entire 90. Well see what Gary does here.

The back four are all made up of first team starters. Colorado has one of the best defenses in MLS, who still have yet to allow a fair goal from open play. If Gary intends to bring the hurt to New York, the best bet is to hit them in their offense. Baudet has been getting the start over Marvell at Center Back due to Koz being out, but I think its a welcome shift. Moor and Baudet are both excellent leaders in the back, Danny is showing a lot of comfort behind the ball, and Marvell has been able to chase down and cut out countless plays down the wing or in the center. I think were good there, and we shouldnt change that dynamic anytime soon if we want to keep our game winning form.

The improvments in defense and in the midfield have contributed the most to Colorados evolution to a more passing-oriented game, but well see if Gary has been able to address finishing as well.

Alright guys, thats all from me. The rest is in the hands of the boys in blue.

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