tbG: Colorado absolutely dominated the New York Red Bulls, winning 4-1 on the back of a hat trick. That leads me to the following question: what got into Nyassi?
BW: Omar Cummings did. While scoring three goals in any situation requires a hell of a lot of skills, it was Omar Cummings who made those goals all happen. If you watch again you'll notice that Sanna's goals all came in situations where he had great opportunities and Omar was the guy who got assists on every single one of those goals, getting a hat trick in the A column. His flick to get Nyassi a wide open shot for the first goal was fantastic and probably the best set-up Rapids fans have seen all season.
Nothing against Nyassi of course. Sanna had been showing flashes of brilliance all year that he just wasn't able to put together and the fact that he was able to not only use his speed and footwork to his advantage - rather than over-dribbling the ball to try and get a clear shot like he was so prone to do before - is very encouraging. He might not have scored against New England but at the very least he showed some more skills and set up the PK that the Rapids scored their first goal on.
tbG: With Conor Casey hurt and Omar Cummings having played 45 minutes in the All-Star Game on his injured ankle, how will the Rapids break down the Union's vaunted defense?
BW: It's probably likely that we'll see Cummings start this game regardless but not play the full 90, with Caleb Folan up top alongside him. Caleb has had a disappointing year but has quietly banged in two goals in his last three games, his first two since way back when the Rapids played DC United at home in April. The Rapids have been working with different formations recently and I wouldn't be surprised to see Gary Smith pull a rabbit out of his hat in the form of a sort of 4-3-1-2 formation with Nyassi as the lone ACM.
If Cummings isn't actually fit to play, it's likely we'll see Andre Akpan get some action. The young guy out of Harvard has been fantastic in his first year of MLS action - very fast, amazing footwork, a hard and accurate shot - even thought he's only scored a single goal in his few appearances. An Akpan-Folan line might not be the most dangerous in MLS, but calling them 'the poor man's Casey/Cummings duo' is not exactly a harsh review.
tbG: Who has stood out this season for the Rapids (aka, who should Philly fans watch out for)?
BW: The best player on the Rapids this season has been Drew Moor, and it's not even a close race. Drew got traded to Colorado from Dallas at the beginning of last season and has not yet missed a game or even a minute for the team since then, becoming the team's own iron man. He can play any defensive position with ease, getting up into the offense with the best of them and notching two goals for himself this season, the most of any of the Rapids defenders.
Moor's tackles are picture perfect most of the time, he's got the speed to keep up with just about anyone and positioning so good that he rarely even has to use it, and even manages to notch a goal now and then. If there's a guy I'd be watching from Colorado to play a 'wild card' role, it would probably be Drew Moor.
tbG: Predicted starting line up and score prediction?
BW: 4-4-2 formation - Matt Pickens; Anthony Wallace, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Kosuke Kimura; Sanna Nyassi, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Brian Mullan; Omar Cummings, Caleb Folan.
I let Ben make the 'official' Burgundy Wave prediction this week and he said a 2-2 draw. I think I'll just take his word on that.