Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Phoney War is Over, The Battle Begins

Two days to go before the Rapids' first game and the MLS season starts proper tonight with an exiciting game in Seattle as the newly franchised Sounders take on the Red Bulls. I haven't been this excited since Mehdi Ballouchy crossed that ball over to Conor Casey's outstretched foot in the final minutes of last season's crazy 5-4 victory over New York. Well, I do remember blasting one myself into the top corner with the left foot just as Everton's Tim Cahill was strolling by at DSG Park but that's another story.
It's always natural to be filled with optimism at the start of a new season but I have to say the MLS looks increasingly exciting each year. Not only do we have the Sounders and Philadelphia next year but now there is Vancouver coming in and talk that Portland will be confirmed as early as tomorrow as well. Great cities to have soccer in and great places to visit also.
Expect the Rapids to trot out a similar line-up against Chivas to that which started against Seattle last week in preseason. I am not sure if Jacob Peterson will start ahead of Terry Cooke and it could be that Ballouchy starts ahead of last season mainstay, Nick LaBrocca. I do have concerns about upfront because there is no experienced back-up to Casey and Omar Cummings. The Rapids will sign Gregory Richardson, subject to visa requirements, but there could be some sharp intake of breath and some crossed fingers if Conor or Omar gets injured early on and either one is out for a few weeks. Good luck to the boys in burgundy and blue!
I want to point you all also to my friend George Tanner's new blog, George, the editor of the FC Rocky blog at the now defunct Rocky Mountain News, is a true soccer fan and was instrumental in encouraging me with my blog. I wish him all the best in his new venture and encourage you to check it out now and through the season.


James said...

I've been watching ths situation with Cooke sitting the bench. Is this the end of Cooke's career? I can't imagine a player and leader like Cooke is content to ride the pine.

Nick Thomas said...

I doubt it's the end of the career. I'm sure Cooke will be used a lot, especially at home. When Peterson crossed one over weakly in the dying seconds yesterday (see my match post), weren't we longing for the presence of Cooke and Casey on the end of one of his crosses? It's a good question to put to Gary Smith so thanks for the comment James.