Colorado Rapids made big moves to revamp their roster in the offseason, then pulled off a mid-season revamp after only a few months. The current squad remains built around MLS veterans, and with a former Union man taking over the coaching reins this club finally looks like they may be able to exploit some of the talent on its roster.
Benny Feilhaber’s brief tenure at the playmaking wheel didn’t work out, so interim head coach Conor Casey signed off on sending Feilhaber back to Sporting Kansas City in return for defensive depth. Lalas Abubakar also arrived on loan from Columbus Crew to give the Rapids four reasonable center back options between Sam Vines and Keegan Rosenberry.
The rest of the Rapids setup is a fairly conservative and workmanlike 4-4-1-1. Diego Rubio is shoehorned into a deep-lying striker role behind Kei Kamara, and while the Chilean is active if doesn’t have a great feel for the game underneath the opponents’ back line.
Kellyn Acosta and the underrated Jack Price man the midfield while former NYCFC winger Jonathan Lewis provides a threat up the left. This formula has finally provided the Rapids with enough defensive backbone to compete for 90 minutes. The Rapids have now secured back-to-back wins victories after opening the year on an 11-match winless run.
The two big points of emphasis for the Union will be controlling the box on set plays, where Kei Kamara remains one of the league’s best threats, and keeping Lewis from becoming a dangerman on the break. If Philly does these two things, they should be able to sit on the Rapids, and then it’s just a matter of getting a go-ahead goal and forcing the visitors to open up.
The Union and Rapids play at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 29 at Talen Energy Stadium.