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Match Preview: Union vs. Colorado Rapids

Taking a look at how Deshorn Brown and Vincent Nogueira can alter their teams' performances.

wow deshorn how are you doing that where is the invisible string
wow deshorn how are you doing that where is the invisible string
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Union, who have only lost one game in their last seven, will host the Colorado Rapids this weekend. The Rapids have recorded 26 points in 17 games: a number good enough for third place in the West. Philadelphia holds a 1-2-3 all-time record against Colorado, with the sole win coming in their last match-up.

Brown Is Wild

Deshorn Brown is a pretty wild player in many senses of the word. The second-year forward and 2013 Rookie of the Year runner-up is one of the fastest guys in the league, and at 6'2, he's an aerial threat. He's an amazing athlete, but his efficiency is still a question mark. Brown has fired off 57 shots this season, the third most in the league.

His shot volume is remarkable, but his percentages are much less impressive. Of his 57 shots, only a third of them have been on target. Of the 27 players with at least 32 shots, Brown ranks 23rd in shots on goal percentage. His conversion rate--8.8%--is mediocre at best. While these numbers aren't, uh, great, they are an improvement from last season. While he is a handful for defenders across the league, Brown is not yet a polished scorer. Brown takes a little over four shots per game, and whether or not he can put them on goal will be crucial for the Rapids' success.

No-gueira or Yes-gueira?

Under John Hackworth, Vincent Nogueira was undoubtedly the team's best midfielder, and it could be argued that he's been the team's best player. He is third in MLS in completed passes, and fourth in attempted passes. Despite those numbers, he hasn't yet played under Jim Curtin. The Union have been slow to put him back in the team following a groin strain suffered in early June. Since Nogueira's injury, Mike Lahoud has performed admirably in his place, but there is no replacing Nogueira, who would undoubtedly have the most attempted and completed passes in MLS were it not for his injury. A central midfield pairing of Okugo and Nogueira could ensure that the Union's recent success continues throughout the remainder of the season

Yes, this is the heading I chose. Fight me.

Prediction

What happens when an in-form attack runs into a tight defense? No one wins. I'll spring for a 1-1 draw, with Le Toux and Deshorn Brown scoring the goals.