Formation switch lifts Rapids into midweek tilt vs. Revs
The Colorado Rapids finally put their scoring woes to bed this past Saturday night against Chivas USA, erupting four times to erase a one-goal-in-315-minute drought. But there's another dubious funk the Rapids now face when they battle the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday night (8 pm EST, MLS Live).
Since posting a 2-1 win at Philadelphia in their road opener March 18, the Rapids have scored just one goal in three road matches, all of them losses. And once again, they will be without star striker Conor Casey, who made a brief season debut in Saturday’s win but will be held out of Wednesday’s game as he continues to recover from a ruptured Achilles.
“The plan this week is to keep him first out of the turf here in New England,” Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja said on Tuesday. “Second, just getting him ready for the weekend in Dallas and then from then on hopefully he can be on a consistent basis with the team. But it's a process, since it has been a long time that he has not been playing.”
The Rapids are expected take their new-look 4-4-2 configuration on the plane with them to Boston, a switch from their 4-3-3 of the first six games of the year, and the switch has already paid big dividends, netting five goals in the two games since the look was first introduced before a 2-1 defeat to the Galaxy on April 21.
“Up front, it’s easier because you’re making runs off someone,” striker Omar Cummings told MLSsoccer.com after Saturday’s win. “You try to combine whenever you can. It works.”
Goalkeeper Matt Pickens will also be coming off a milestone shutout, the 25th between the posts for the 30-year-old and tying the club record for the most shutouts in Rapids history.
Meanwhile, the Revolution will be thrilled to flip the calendar to May after a winless April and just one goal in three matches during the month. The Rapids will look to take advantage of a scuffling New England side that has just six points in seven matches this year (2-5-0) before heading out for another tricky road contest on Sunday at FC Dallas.
“[It’ll be] great to use that momentum going into a tough week like this week with traveling and two good opponents,” said midfielder Kamani Hill, who scored two of the Rapids’ four goals Saturday. “The goal is as always is to get six points, but away is always a little more difficult so we’re going to have to come out and perform.”
Center back Marvell Wynne is questionable for tonight’s game after straining his right hamstring in practice Tuesday. Defender Scott Palguta flew to Boston Tuesday as insurance in case Wynne can’t go.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.