PREVIEW – The Rocky Mountain Cup returns as does the 2020 MLS Regular Season at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday. The recent form of the Colorado Rapids has been up and down as they were hot before COVID hit and cold afterwards at the MLS is Back Tournament. As they look to bounce back against Real Salt Lake, what is most important to the team’s success?
Rocky Mountain Cup Preview: Colorado Rapids Return Against RSL
Playing Namli in his best position
One of the most important decisions for Head Coach Robin Fraser is where he plays Younes Namli. Gifted with the pace, technicality, and vision to get in between the lines he does it all in attack. From the center of the field it’s much easier to dictate the team’s ball movement.
Although dangerous on the wing, playing Namli centrally in the No. 10 role will allow the team to take advantage of our most talented player.
Jonathan Lewis a super-sub or starter?
One of the most talked about subjects recently for the Rapids faithful has surrounded Jonathan Lewis. Scoring 3 goals in 70 total minutes off the bench he was named to the MLS Team of the Week during the MLS is Back Tournament.
His direct style of play is something otherwise lacking in the squad. Although he has performed best off the bench the American international has done enough to earn a starting spot as the Rapids push for the playoffs. This means Rubio and Shinyashiki would likely be on the bench while Benezet starts on the opposite wing.
RSL Recent Form and Expectations
RSL has a solid defense and midfield as evidenced by their 2-0 victory over the Rapids back on July 12. They did however crash out of the tournament with a 5-2 loss to the Quakes and poor overall performance at the MLS is Back Tournament.
The obvious shortcoming for this team is at striker where they’ve rotated players including Jeizon Ramirez, Justin Meram and Guiseppi Rossi. RSL will also look to crash the box in attack, so we’ll need to see the Rapids midfield tracking back to contain their pressure.
With the return of the regular season we have 6 in-market games where squad depth will be key. Luckily the Rapids strengthened their depth from top to bottom recently. Between Jonathan Lewis running at defenders from the wing and Namli playing centrally this Rapids side can be very dangerous.
Enjoy the game and stay safe out there soccer fans!