Rapids manager decides against taking Mullan to Seattle
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Brian Mullan won’t be making the trip to Seattle for Saturday’s nationally televised game between the Sounders and the Colorado Rapids (4 pm ET, Fox Soccer) after all.
Rapids head coach Gary Smith, who had intimated Thursday he fully intended to take the wide midfielder, told MLSsoccer.com on Friday that the veteran would be left behind for a variety of reasons.
"It's based on two home games coming up, soreness in his body and the fact we are at full health," Smith said. “It’s totally my choice. Brian was adamant he wanted to go.”
The inclusion of Mullan, who has been struggling with a back injury since his return June 26, would have marked his first match in Seattle since his tackle led to Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani breaking his leg back on April 22. The 33-year-old midfielder was subsequently suspended for a total of 10 matches.
Aside from Mullan, the Rapids have nearly a fully fit squad to choose from for the trip. Forward Macoumba Kandji is the only other Rapid staying behind as he seeks to be ready for next week’s game against New England. The Rapids host the New York Red Bulls and the Revolution in the space of four days next week.
A few players, including goalkeeper Matt Pickens (hamstring) and left backs Anthony Wallace (knee) and Danny Earls (dead leg), are carrying knocks but all other players are available for selection.
Defender Kosuke Kimura, who revealed on Thursday that he likely will be watched by Japanese national-team staff in Seattle, highlighted the importance of adjusting to the new pitch conditions in Seattle immediately after grass was laid on top of the turf ahead of an international exhibition against Manchester United.
“It can be hard to judge the ball bounce and we need to get used to that right away,” Kimura said. “It’s always tough, there’s always a good atmosphere and so much pressure. We have to be super-organized when it comes to defending. When it comes to attacking, we just need to express ourselves, go out there, do or die. It’s a tough game, but if we keep it positive, I think we can do it.”