View From The Couch (VftC) pieced together a plausible starting XI for the Colorado Rapids from a report on an intra-team scrimmage. This came, as all communications regarding the Rapids, from official sources.
By combining what looked closer to the first team from the two scrimmage squads with who he expects would take their place under ideal conditions, Jason Maxwell came up with the starting line-up listed below:
Kimura – Petke – Erpen – Burciaga Jr.
Cooke – Mastroeni – C. Gomez – Clark
Kirovski – H. Gomez
And, for the record, Mr. Maxwell’s reasoning for including Jovan Kirovski are less to do with his preferences than insight gained from bitter, bitter experience.
The question, then, is the extent to which this is a functioning, even winning, line-up. Kirovski causes problems right off the bat, of course, but it’s the defense that really gets me scratching my head. I’ve never been even kinda, sorta sold on Facundo Erpen as a defender. Add Petke, who, as much as I view him as the pick of this bunch, isn’t a world-beater, and Jose Burciaga Jr., and one gets to wondering how many goals this bunch will surrender. A review of the roster unearths a couple options – Brandon Prideaux, certainly, as well as Dan Gargan – but the question of which players constitute upgrades on those named above follows quickly thereafter. Maybe this is just one of those things that must be tried and tinkered with between pre- and the early part of the regular season…and don’t tell me the regular season is too late; the playoff format means it’s virtually never too late.
Getting back to the offense, once you disregard Kirovski as a threat (except on PKs), there are some tools available, but one has to wonder about how they’ll combine. Terry Cooke gets down the line and gets in crosses pretty darn well and Christian Gomez is, y’know, Christian Gomez; he may not be who he was in 2004 or 2005, but I’d wager he’ll chip in a few goals, a couple assists. I’ll admit upfront that I need to learn more about Colin Clark before saying much on him, but I’m not seeing more one-one-one punches instead of the more useful, one-two – or, dare I even speak its name? – one-two-three punches. That’s to say, this team has players who score, but I’m not seeing a myriad of threats and combinations of threats. Maybe Conor Casey’s return will switch up the “O” – and maybe Clavijo will be gone by then, which should result in Kirovski’s benching (I mean…it has to…right?).
Then again, maybe the 3-0 win over Honduras’ Marathon that opened the Rapids’ pre-season means I’m all wrong. That’s why they play the games, people. Then again, maybe not: let’s just say the opposition gifted the Rapids’ the majority of their goals. And it’s worth flagging the different line-up. Hmm…
At any rate, I’m looking forward to learning all this…and, let’s face it, I’ve only just begun.
BONUS MATERIAL: If you find yourself appalled by some of the, um, racier Halloween costumes on offer through popular outlets, you can do what some intrepid, devoted Catholics did: make costumes of your own, one’s that match your values. And, please, don’t stop at the two at the top of the page. It gets way better when you scroll down.