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Scouting Report: Colorado Rapids

What do the Loons need to do to top the Rapids on Wednesday night?

Last match wasn’t fun.

It wasn’t ideal.

However it happened, and we move on with 3 points.

Now the pressure should be on the attack to more consistently score goals. Next up is Colorado Rapids who just got back from a long COVID related break, and just gave up four goals to Sporting Kansas City.

Yes there were two “garbage time” goals, but it just as easily could have been more. When you allow top attackers this much time in the 18 consistently, you will give up goals.

Colorado is in an interesting place in the standings due to COVID canceling 5 games in a row for them. If you look at the table based on PPG they are inside of the playoff picture. However, they have a brutal remaining schedule and are playing catchup in terms of match fitness as well as match sharpness.

The Rapids tend to line up in a 433/4231 shape. They play a three in the middle, who do well when they are able to control possession and manipulate the ball around the oppositions set defense. What SKC did, was deny them the time to build into this shape. Without Kellyn Acosta, the Rapids struggled to break that press which lead to a relentless attack on Colorado’s goal.

In addition they struggled with backline organization against SKC when they were in the set defense, which is something I’d expect them to have set this late in the season. However this could have been COVID break related. I expect Colorado to sit a bit deeper and to be more organized then they were, but with only a few days in between there is only so much they can do.

Anyway here is the shape they tend to play and some of the players to watch, whether it be good or bad, for Colorado.

Goal Keeper: Yarbrough

If defense is more organized in front of him, he could have a much better game. However a goalkeeper is only as good as the players in front of them, and they were not good against SKC.

Yarbrough can be a strength if the players around him help, I’m not sure if they will, but I won’t be surprised if they do.

Outside Backs: Vines and Rosenberry

These two are utility outside backs who more of a challenge then last week. Are they game breakers, who will cause issues for Minnesota United? No.

However, they will do the little things right. They are well rounded, they won’t make dumb mistakes often. They will look to keep possession and be in the right spots, but they won’t beat a good team.

If the Loons take themselves seriously they should be winning 1v1s out wide even though they aren’t a glaring weakness for Colorado.

Central Midfield: Price, Acosta, and Bassett the way forward?

Price can be a decent metronome in the midfield, and reliably completes the passes he plays. Acosta can progress the ball forward and might be the best player, and Bassett is the future.

Where is Bassett’s future?

This midfield, if given time and space on the ball can create opportunities. Problem is they haven’t been finishing these chances, and teams have been restricting the time and space for Colorado’s midfield.

In terms of having the ball this central midfield is great, in terms of not having the ball well lets just say they could improve. This will be an interesting match-up for the central 3 of the Loons. Who MNUFC deploy will determine the way the Loons defend, or attack Colorado.

Front 3: Rubio and Lewis

Colorado rely on players who can explot space in the final phase, and Kei didn’t fit that system. So they chose to trade him, and stick with Diego Rubio. They want a front three that are interchangable, and can create space for each other to exploit quickly. However they need better players to fit this system next season, Lewis might be the only one that truly fits. What the fit in the future is to be determined, but right now he should be starting.

Rapids have been awful in the final third in terms of keeping possession, and that is okay given the way they want to play, if they have the players to generate key moments. Problem is they aren’t generating moments, so they can’t turn them into goals. They are laying the blueprint for a year two and a half turn around for Robin Fraser, and if they need to find the players to produce in that system.

While you can certainly critique certain parts of Fraser’s time in charge, Rapid’s fans should be patient.

Three Points:

Clean Sheet. The backline and DSC looked organized against Cincy, as they should have and the expectation should be the same.

WE NEED TO SCORE GOALS! Colorado has their backs against the wall, they need to fight for their playoff lives. That being said this is an opportunity for MNUFC to get into playoff mode, and kill off a team. Score goals Minnesota, and nobody needs to tell Kei this is your chance to get scoring going into the postseason and get that next contract. It’s your old team, and they chose Diego Rubio over you. Did Rubio fit better? Probably. Will Kei care? No, and he shouldn’t. Go score goals Kei, and kill off your old team.

Make the right adjustments. The margins between teams have been shrinking as of late, make the adjustments at half like we usually do, and we win the game. Colorado is lacking match fitness and sharpness, so MNUFC need to dominate the second half. If the Loons really want to be a contender, this a must win.

Loons should win, and if they don’t we need to prepare to hit the panic button.