Game Day 10: Columbus Crew v. Colorado Rapids

USA TODAY Sports

The Crew finish off their three game home stand with a cross conference matchup.

Columbus comes into the last game of their three game home stand needing to reestablish the Crew Stadium mystique. The Crew have a 1-1-2 record at home this year. Their home field struggles have left them mid table. Colorado has struggled mightily to score goals, but their stingy defense has kept them in games.

Crew on Offense: The game plan for the team has shifted ever so slightly. When Head Coach Robert Warzycha shook up the lineup two weeks ago against D.C. United, he reverted more towards the playing style of late 2012. The central midfield duo of Tony Tchani and Danny O'Rourke split the defensive and offensive roles more clearly. Tchani would push forward and O'Rourke stayed home.

O'Rourke and Agustin Viana are both injured and Warzycha will have to pick a replacement. Tchani will act as the link to the offense, but he will need cover that O'Rourke often provided. Warzycha's choice will indicate how he wants to play. Konrad Warzycha and Wil Trapp have played as attack minded central midfielders for the reserves. Matias Sanchez and Kevan George have played as defensive midfielders.

Colorado plays with a diamond midfield and whoever fills O'Rourke's shoes will be that immediate link from the back line to the rest of the team. O'Rourke often played within himself, playing short linking passes. His replacement will have to look to keep the ball safe.

Crew on Defense: Colorado has struggled on offense. They have eight goals on the season by seven different players. Only rookie Deshorn Brown has multiple goals. Brown may be inexperienced, but he's a dynamic and athletic player. He has the ability to break down defenders and get a shot on goal.

The Rapids also have key offseason acquisition Edson Buddle returning. Chilean winger Kevin Harbottle and Argentine playmaker Martín Rivero may also play a role in the game. Colorado is much more dangerous with those players on the field. Rapids Head Coach Oscar Pareja is close to being able to play his more possession oriented game with some of his key pieces ready.

Colorado likely will try to keep the ball as well as they can and build up play. The Crew may be able to use their high energy press to disrupt the passing. This will require work out of the forwards, but also closing down from the midfield to cut off the path up the field.

Final Walkthrough: The Crew have enough talent to see off the Rapids, but they have a habit of matching their opponent's intensity. The Rapids have more than enough firepower to finish gifted chances. As long as they keep the ball safe:

2-1 Crew.

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