Maybe this is what Colorado Rapids' coach, Fernando Clavijo, thinks to himself when he's on the seat of his Harley approaching Estes Park. How am I going to get the most out of my big players and what is the best formation to fit the biggest of them all, Christian Gomez? Well, it may just be the 3-4-1-2 scenario, Gomez being the 1. "I don't want to play with one striker if I can avoid it," Clavijo told me at training today. If current indications are to go by, those two strikers, subject to fitness, are probably going to be Tom McManus and Conor Casey. Casey, to large amounts of applause from his teammates, saw some action today in a competitive scrimmage against the University of New Mexico. Coming on for the last 20 minutes or so, the big striker made his presence felt and almost scored a couple of times. The Rapids dominated what I saw of the game (most of it) and ran out easy winners, 4-2. Jacob Peterson was another who looked sharp, scoring twice with one spectacular strike to the top right hand corner from about 20 yards. I think he is beggining to get in the coach's mind a little more and will probably build upon his ten minutes or so against Chicago this weekend.
Many of the big name players had the day off. Pablo Mastroeni, who is set for a long run in the side if he can keep fit, was nowhere to be seen. Terry Cooke and Rafael Gomes were not suited up at all. Cooke, who has been quiet the last two games, admitted to some naivety in the team last weekend. Clavijo expressed what many have been saying this week how badly caught out the defense was when in attacking mode. They simply were not able to get back into position to prevent the inevitable goals. Expect Kosuke Kimura to come back into the line-up this weekend (he better, he's in my fantasy team). Otherwise, it may be a pretty similar line-up to last week. Ugo Ihemelu played a full 90 in the scrimmage (or was it 120? The game seemed to go on for ever), and his speed would be a welcome asset in the heart of defense. I would think he will get some action this weekend. Ciaran O'Brien could see some gametime too.