Big game today but then, at this stage of the season, they all are. The Colorado Rapids enter a home and away series against Toronto tonight in Commerce City. That will be followed by a home and away series with San Jose. Very bizarre. Gary Smith is not all that happy about the way the fixtures have been arranged but he can't do anything about it and his prime concern is getting a decent eleven on the field for tonight. No Pablo, no Cory Gibbs, no Jamie Smith, no Scott Palguta. Omar Cummings contines to struggle with a hip injury and hasn't been training much this week. Strike partner, Conor Casey, has been called up to the national team. The US Soccer Federation reported yesterday that he will not join the squad for tonight's World Cup qualifier because of wisdom teeth surgery.
Gary Smith said yesterday that he wants two wins and two draws in the next eight games to secure a playoff position. A win tonight would do very nicely and would help going into Toronto where the team will still be very short of many first team players. Toronto doesn't look a huge challenge at home with some inexperienced defenders and some trouble scoring but they will be a different beast in Canada. "They are good at home, they have great home support and a plastic pitch," Smith said. "These will be two very tough games."
You can expect a start for new boy, Drew Moor, in central defense. Increasingly, that deal to swap Ugo Ihemelu is looking at least as motivated by financial reasons as skill reasons, a bit of both anyway. Pat Noonan, who played pretty well when he came on last week against Houston, looks likely to step in because of injuries and suspensions in the midfield and I think we will see some game time for Facundo Diz. The big Argentinian striker has not had much opportunity to shine yet but has been scoring regularly in squad games and will seek to impose himself tonight should such an opportunity arise.