Eastern Conference Final Preview: Quakes at Rapids

Eastern Conference Final Preview: Quakes at Rapids

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 12, 2010
  • 2010 MLS Playoffs, Bobby Convey, Chris Wondolowski, Conor Casey, Omar Cummings

Colorado hopes advance to the 2010 MLS Cup. (Getty Images)

Just the thought of two western conference clubs playing for the eastern conference final still makes me giggle. Geography aside this one could be a fun game to watch. Yes they are technically the lowest two seeds left in the playoffs but that won’t mean they fail at making this one worth watching. Both sides of the pitch of interesting stories and players worth talking about.

I felt before the season started that Colorado would be a tough team to play this year if they found come consistency. They did with the additions of Jeff Larentowicz and later on with Brian Mullan. San Jose I was totally off on going into the year. I didn’t expect them to make the leap that they did this year so you have to tip your cap to Frank Yallop and his team for getting this far.

Like I mentioned above this one should be fun to watch though. They split the season series by each club winning a game 1-0 at home. One could say the altitude in Colorado could play a factor in this one and to a degree it could but the way the playoffs are going right now its hard to take those sorts of things in account for big X-factors in a one-game series.

The match-ups in this one will be interesting to see. Colorado has a stingy defense while San Jose has the Golden Boot winner in Chris Wondolowski, a guy that can literally score from anywhere. The speed of Colorado on the wings and up top will be the big difference maker in this one for the home side. As we saw against Columbus anytime Omar Cummings pulls wide he’s typically able to find Conor Casey in the box. That speed is something San Jose will have to contain.

Players to watch: Wondolowski, Bobby Convey, and Tim Ward (San Jose); Cummings, Casey, and Larentowicz (Colorado).

X-Factor: Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni – The defensive collection in the midfield for Colorado is impressive with these two. If they hold their lines and find ways forward like we’ve seen in the playoffs so far the Rapids have a great shot at going back to the MLS Cup for the first time since 1997.

Outlook: It comes down to how San Jose handles the Rapids speed. I felt they should have walked away with a draw earlier this year in Colorad had it not been for a Jon Busch error in goal. I do think that will be a big motivational factor for Frank Yallop’s team in this one. The Quakes are one of the better road teams in the league and won’t be intimidated by playing in Colorado. In the end I like speed and defense over a team on the road.

WVH Prediction: Colorado 2, San Jose 1