The Quakes are in Colorado to face the Rapids at “The Dick” tonight. Neither team scored in their previous match last month. Don’t expect much to change tonight.
The Quakes still have the worst offense in MLS (1.0 goals per game) and the Rapids still have the best defense in MLS (0.93 goals allowed per game). The Rapids are undefeated at home (10-0-5; the ONLY team in MLS yet to lose at home) and the Quakes have one road win all season (1-7-7). The Rapids have the second-worst offense in MLS (1.16 goals per game) while the Quakes have the third-best defense in MLS (1.16 goals allowed per game). Scoring chances should be few for both sides.
If the Quakes lose, we are out of the playoffs. If we tie, we are still technically in the race provided both Sporting Kansas City loses and Portland does not win this weekend, and the Quakes find a way to beat Vancouver on Sunday.
If I were Kinnear, I would bring the attack to try and crack that Rapids defense. A draw against the Rapids could thwart any playoff run. That said, Kinnear will probably go with the conservative/ineffective 4-4-2 with Cato, Wynne, Bernardez, and Sarkodie on the back line, Quintero (who is listed as questionable on the MLS injuries report!), Ceren, Godoy and Shea in the midfield, and Wondo and Dawkins up top. If Quintero cannot play, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dawkins plays on the right with Goitom as the second forward.
A 4-3-3 would be a much better option to try and generate scoring chances, come away with a win, and have a much stronger chance at making the playoffs. A quick back line would include Cato, Wynne, and Sarkodie–all of whom have close-out speed to prevent the counter attack–Godoy at the 6, Tommy and Quintero on the wings, Goitom as the central forward, and Wondo/Dawkins as the right/left forwards. The formation is quick, and everyone has decent ball handling skills. Goitom could use his size and allow Wondo to try and get some rebound opportunities off of crosses from the left via Quintero. Not to mention the Rapids are probably banking on a 4-4-2, hence their defensive communication and marking might be challenged by a change in formation. But that’s just me, expect the 4-4-2.
Also expect a 1-1 scoreline. The Quakes get a point, just enough to keep them in the hunt.