To get everyone ready for Atlanta United’s matchup against the Colorado Rapids, we spoke with Burgundy Wave’s Abbie Mood to get her take on their early season trade, potential lineup changes, and her main takeaways midway through the season.
DSS: The Rapids were involved in a big MLS trade early in the season by sending Sam Cronin to Minnesota. Has that trade helped or hindered Colorado?
BW: The Cronin trade was tough because he was our captain and a starter. Sam played just about every minute of every game in 2016, and after he left, we saw how much he actually controlled the midfield. I think the team was a bit blindsided, as were fans, and it took some time to adjust.
That being said, Sam is very defensive-minded, and the Rapids were looking for younger guys who could help with the offense, which is why Nana Boateng was brought in during the off-season. Unfortunately, Nana broke his back in a match against Real Salt Lake, but that gave Mohammed Saeid a chance to step up. Mo came to us from Minnesota, and is becoming an important part of our team. Josh Gatt, who also came from Minnesota, is also starting to make an impact on the team as well. So as time goes on, we are starting to see the trade work out. Hopefully, the Rapids will also add a big name this summer, too.
DSS: Since it's a match where both clubs are coming off midweek matches, should we expect anything outside the norm when it comes to Colorado's lineup?
BW: Not just a midweek match, but the Rapids have seven matches in 21 days, so there's a lot of rotation. It seems that Pablo Mastroeni is trying to keep some consistency in the back line and midfield, but with all the injuries (Saeid went down last game and needs and MRI, forward Kevin Doyle might have broken his hand, defender Bobby Burling is out with a foot injury, and foward Shkelzen Gashi and midfielder Nana Boateng are still questionable as far as I know), Mastroeni is running out of options.
DSS: What are your biggest takeaways midway through the season?
BW: I tend to lean to the more optimistic side anyway, but the Rapids had a rough start. They still haven't won a game on the road yet, but after taking three of four home games (four of five if you count the Open Cup), this team isn't going to quit.
I also think the home stretch gave them confidence and a change for things to start to come together. As I mentioned before, there have been tons of injuries and a few suspensions that have broken up the consistency of the team. They seem to be finally getting it together.
Pablo also switched to a 4-4-2 formation, which seems to work better than the 4-2-3-1 for generating offensive opportunities without leaving the defense wide open, too.