Preview: Colorado Rapids (a).
Updated: Jul 13
When? Wednesday July 13, 6 p.m. PT, 9 p.m. ET and 2 a.m. BST (14/7).
Where? Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Denver, CO.
How can I catch the action? The game will be broadcast on MLS Live for both ESPN+ and DAZN for residents of North America. For residents of Central Florida, it's Fox 35 Plus and LionNation TV. Radio broadcast is available on 96.9 The Game and Accion 97.9 FM. The game is not currently scheduled for UK broadcast.
For many, our last visit to Dick's Sporting Goods Park will invoke sombre and rather depressing memories. Not for what happened on the field, as Orlando City succumbed to a last gasp 2-1 defeat, but because of what followed it. That was the last time Orlando played for a few months, as the world was plunged into darkness amid the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. MLS didn't return until the MLS Is Back tournament at Walt Disney World some months later.
I don't know about you all, but it will be strange to see Orlando City return to that stadium.
As for on the field matters, this season, it's been a somewhat disappointing season so far for the Rapids, who lie 12th in the west. They're far from being out of contention though; Robin Fraser's team are only 7 points below the line in a tightly packed western conference table.
Colorado seem to have issues taking their chances, rather than creating them. Which has often been Orlando City's problem this season. Diego Rubio has been in good form individually, as has the now departed Mark Anthony Kaye. They actually create plenty of chances. They just don't take them. Colorado currently rank 10th in MLS for big chances created. However, they rank 7th for big chances missed and 24th for goals per match (figure 1). They have an overall XG of 28.7 (figure 2), which they're underperforming with 21 scored. In their recent come from behind 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake, they had an XG of 3.14. They're creating chances alright.
So, why can't they score? Key forwards just aren't performing. The USMNT veteran Gyasi Zardes has only scored 2 goals in 17 games. Their highest performing forward is Johnathan Lewis with 3 in 18. It seems like they're a decent finisher away from getting things right. That might be an over simplification of events (knowing nod to Jimmy Woo), but yes, I think that's their main issue right now. The Rapids are a good team. A good team that needs a goalscorer.
Figure 1 shows Colorado's goals per match rate on the season so far.
Figure 2 shows Colorado's XG on the season so far.
According to the latest MLS injury report, Colorado will be without Braian Galván, Aboubacar Keita, Oliver Larraz and Jack Price, through injury.
Orlando City, on the other hand, are without Mason Stajduhar. Joao Moutinho is still listed as questionable, whilst Gaston Gonzalez remains on the season ending injury list. Adam Grinwis is also listed as questionable.
This section will be updated as new information becomes available.
Possible starting XI
The Rapids have been favouring a 4-1-4-1/4-5-1 formation so far this season. Short turnaround from their last game, but they have some key players missing and might be looking at this game as one where they can stop the rut. I think we'll see the same team that got an encouraging draw against RSL at the weekend.
Diego Rubio has been one of Colorado's better players so far this season, scoring 8 times and recording 2 assists. He has a very respectable 7.46 rating on fotmob.com for the season. Rubio has been the Rapids' key creative influence this season, carving out 21 opportunities for his teammates. Of his 8 goals, 2 have been free-kicks, so Orlando will need to make sure they don't give away any silly fouls around the penalty area.
Colorado are currently sat 12th in the west, winning only one of their last 7. They currently have a 5-5-8 record.
Orlando, on the other hand, snapped their own recent winless run of 3 games with their win over Fort Lauderdale. Orlando currently sit 5th in the east with a 8-4-7 record.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com
Cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Line-up graphic courtesy of chosen11.com