Dark and Stormy: Colorado Rapids Training updates and thoughts on Chicago Fire match

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Colorado Rapids Head Coach Anthony Hudson looks down as the Colorado Rapids struggle in a home game loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Photo Credit: John A. Babiak @Photog_JohnB

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (June 13, 2018)Dawn hasn’t broken bright in Commerce City and there isn’t a single photon indicating the light at the end of the tunnel is close. The Colorado Rapids have set a new club record for losses in a row, both in league and in all competition. Tonight they take on Chicago Fire at home at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Dark and Stormy: Colorado Rapids Training updates and thoughts on Chicago Fire match

The Rapids have a number of players coming back from injury. Johan Blomberg and Marlon Hairston both returned to the Starting XI recently. Head Coach Anthony Hudson spoke with Last Word on Soccer yesterday, saying that both players have improved physically in their returns. The next thing for both of them is to get more minutes.
Expect them to be available for selection tonight.

Kortne Ford has consistently been about one week behind Hairston in his own rehab. He’s been in team training the last 10 days or so but has yet to appear in a match. Given that the Rapids will have a 13 day break, I wouldn’t expect him to play even if he’s technically been cleared to come off the bench.

Axel Sjoberg is still under concussion protocol. He had a bit of a setback last week that forced him to have to redo some steps in the protocol. He’s been involved more in team training of late, but he is out for the match tonight. If he makes good progress, he could be available when league play resumes at the end of the World Cup break.

Forward Nikki Jackson has been limited in training the last several weeks. Coach Hudson elaborated on that situation to Last Word on Soccer:

“Nikki’s a young lad and he needs to go out on loan and get games, get minutes under his belt. He started really well, but then he had a little injury and he’s come back. He’s a young kid that needs to put his head down and work hard. If he has good discipline, he’ll be a good player. But he needs minutes, he needs games.”

In trying to read between the lines, I can’t tell if Hudson’s throwing shade at Jackson for fitness or focus issues. He’s said a few things in the past about players (not just with the now departed Stefan Aigner) having issues with fitness and some of that coming down to the commitment of the player. In any case, Jackson is a rookie and not high on the depth chart, so this might affect his loan value, but was never going to affect the first team that much.

The Rapids now turn to the Chicago Fire, one of the least predictable teams in MLS right now. The Fire are just trying to tread water while they wait for the front office to bring in reinforcements in the summer transfer window. In the meantime, they’ve been changing formation and tactics on a week to week basis to try and fit the opponent. At one point, they threw out the formation and man-marked the Montreal Impact in their defensive third.

On the other side, Hudson’s Pids are almost the complete foil. He has been married to the 3-5-2 or a close variation of it and has been more focused on the process.

At the end of the day, this game is going to come down to execution, but I have no idea what version or look of the Fire will show up tonight. It could just as easily be a blow out win for the home side as the visitors.

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