This is a must-win game for the Quakes. A loss and we’re in last place. A tie does not help us move up to make a playoff push. It’s do-or-die time.
Colorado has the #3 defense in the West in terms of goals allowed (24 goals in 22 games) and just reinforced it with the signings of former Orlando City CB Sean St. Ledger and Maynor Figueroa (whom I believe is ineligible pending his visa approval). The stats would say not to expect a high scoring game, especially with former Quake Sam Cronin looking for revenge on his former team and our recent inability to produce goals.
The Quakes have their work cut out for them defensively. Fatai is out due to suspension. Godoy is out as his still processing his visa (as far as I know). Pierazzi, the hugely expensive defensive mid that would normally replace Fatai and/or Godoy in the lineup is “questionable” due to a foot injury. Other notable “questionable” players include MPG and Goodson.
Assuming a worst-case scenario in which all these players cannot play, I would expect to see JJ Koval at the defensive mid position, Stewart taking Goodson’s place at CB (as he did against Portland and Houston), Francis taking Stewart’s place as the defensive left wing, with Wynne and Muma anchoring the defensive line and Bingham in goal. If MPG is out, either Tommy or Pelosi might start at central midfield, although Leo Barrera might be the dark-horse pick since neither player has impressed with their starts this year. I would also expect Dom to start Wondo at midfield and Amarikwa up top given Quincy’s recent run of offense, along with Shea and Sanna on the wings to run the modified 4-3-3 in which Shea and Sanna drop back to give a 4-midfield, 1-forward look on attack. In an ideal world, Wondo would be the #9, Amarikwa would be at mid or on the bench, both Pelosi and Tommy would be central midfielders with Sanna and Shea on the flanks, Koval at DM, Renato taking Goodson’s spot (again, if he can’t play).
Final score prediction: the stats say a 1-1 draw. Last time I predicted a 3-1 Vancouver win based on the stats (which they did), but then went back to say the Quakes would win 2-0. I’m bucking the stats again and saying the Quakes will win 3-0, mainly because I refuse to believe we can’t beat a team in last place, and don’t want to entertain the possibility of us being in last place at game’s end. I also think this might be one of those weird games where the stats don’t matter, the Quakes wake up from their slumber, Goodson, MPG, and Pierazzi are all on the field, and finally play a decent game for the first time in 10 games. Call me crazy: 3-0 Quakes, but don’t bet on it!