In their opening 11 matches of the 2012 season, the Colorado Rapids have employed eight different starting lineups, mostly a reflection of a laundry list of injuries that have bombarded the team so far this year. But for Saturday’s critical home test against Sporting Kansas City (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online), head coach Oscar Pareja might be the one ringing in the changes.
New signings Edu (above) and Harrison Henao could both compete for a starting spot in Colorado’s starting XI after the Rapids offense struggled in Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at D.C. United. Meanwhile, the revolving door at right back also continues to spin, with Hunter Freeman and Kosuke Kimura having traded starts in each of Colorado’s last four games.
When asked about his lineup changes on Wednesday, Pareja acknowledged a move or two could be in the offing.
“We’ll evaluate the players, though generally we don’t need to change much,” Pareja told MLSsoccer.com. “Physically they’re fine. We’ll watch video and see what needs to be done.”
Midfielder Brian Mullan is the latest member of Colorado’s walking wounded, joining Marvell Wynne, Omar Cummings and Pablo Mastroeni on the list of regular starters who now grace the injury report. Pareja confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that Mullan picked up an unspecified injury in the first half of Wednesday’s loss.
“We’ll see with Brian,” Pareja said. “He was evaluated by the medics [Wednesday night].”
If Mullan is forced to miss out, that would likely increase the odds that Henao or Edu start on Saturday. Edu played the final 25 minutes of against United in his Rapids debut, and Henao has been training with the Rapids for close to three weeks, leaving both players potentially in line to make their first starts Saturday.
But at 5-6-0, the Rapids are not only seeking consistency in the standings, but consistency in the lineup, and Pareja hopes he can find that Saturday.
“[Saturday] there’s an opportunity to get better and not allow goals, so we have plenty of confidence that we’ll bounce back and we’ll put in the work to do,” Pareja said.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.