Chivas USA go to the Rockies to take on the Colorado Rapids on Sunday afternoon (12 pm PT, UniMas). The Goats will be looking for an elusive win against their Western Conference rivals, while the Rapids will look to continue racking up points, something they've done pretty consistently to start the season. In order to find out more about this somewhat new-look Rapids side, we welcome back Chris White of SB Nation Colorado Rapids blog Burgundy Wave to talk about his team. Thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer my questions!
The Goat Parade asks Burgundy Wave:
1. The Colorado Rapids have a new head coach this year, Pablo Mastroeni. How's it going so far with the new coach? Does he look like he'll be able to stick in coaching the Rapids?
I don't see why not. He's done a commendable job so far getting the team to grind out results, even though the offense has been rather subpar all season long. He clearly knows his way around a defense (not surprising, considering he was a fantastic defensive midfielder and center back during his long career) and has taken a Rapids defense that was good last year and made it look just as good, at times maybe even better, despite the loss of lynchpin Hendry Thomas. He has the team working hard and playing the same ball wherever they go, which is a welcome change from last year's bottled-up road tactics that Oscar Pareja showed. Obviously, there are a few kinks in his game still to be worked out, and he has yet to settle on just what kind of formation he wants to use (so far, he has used a 4-2-3-1 similar to Pareja's from last year, a diamond 4-4-2, and a more flat 4-4-2 that featured against San Jose during the mid-week match). So far, so good, though. As soon as the Rapids start scoring goals (which, considering the talent on the offense, you would have to assume will happen eventually) this could be a dangerous team, and it looks like they'll be a good team in part because of Pablo, rather than in spite of him. I'm looking forward to seeing how his future unfolds with the team.
2. One word being bandied about so far for Colorado is "lucky." Are they as good as their record indicates, or have they benefitted from some good luck to start the season?
I've always been a big proponent of the saying 'You make your own luck'. This isn't a Colorado Avalanche situation, where the team has been very clearly playing over their heads despite all logic pointing to the fact that they really shouldn't be doing much of anything. The Rapids have gotten a lot of penalties in the early season, but they've earned essentially all but one of them though good attacking play. They've earned a lot of points this year through shutouts, which probably isn't sustainable, but is a testament to the great defense that the team has put together. That defensive stoutness is one of the reasons I feel this team deserved whatever it has gotten; they say defense wins championships for a reason, and a very organized defense can earn you points on its own. To borrow from my favorite European team, Crystal Palace's run to mid-table in the BPL has not been a product of luck either, but the product of stout defense. Perhaps the number of points that the Rapids have earned so far is a bit much for the stagnant offense that they've shown, but none of the points they've earned have been completely undeserved.
3. The Goats' defense has been struggling, so who do Chivas need to pay particular attention to on Sunday in stopping?
After our last match, I don't think I can say anyone but Charles Eloundou. The young Cameroonian had his first start against San Jose, and made an impact from start to finish. He ran the entire 90 minutes without stopping, was very willing to take guys on, and only didn't score because the San Jose defense was looking very stout. If he gets minutes against Chivas, he'll be certain to warrant some attention. Keep an eye on Dillon Serna as well. Our beloved homegrown spitfire has stormed into MLS, looking very much like a veteran with his fantastic technique, strong shot, and smart passing. He scored his first goal against the Sounders a few weeks back, and he's probably going to score a few more before this season is over. Past that, it's the usual candidates. Deshorn Brown has only one goal so far this year, but he's looked his usual part as the Jamaican embodiment of chaos on the field, and very nearly scored two goal of the year candidates against the LA Galaxy in his last start. Edson Buddle has also looked his usual big self, holding the ball up well and creating chances.
4. (Bonus) Prediction for this game?
If the Rapids don't score this week, I don't know if they ever will. They've always been good in snowy affairs as well, so I'll make a tentative prediction of a 2-0 Rapids win.
You can find my answers to Chris' questions here.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!