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  • A MEASURE OF REVENGE: Forty-five minutes into Minnesota United’s last game against Colorado back on May 8, it looked like perhaps the Loons had shaken off the rough start to the season that had led to three straight losses. With goals from midfielders Emanuel Reynoso and Hassani Dotson in the first 24 minutes, things seemed to be on the right track. Until they distinctly weren’t. In the second half, MNUFC collapsed and the Rapids ran them out of the building to the tune of three goals in less than 25 minutes. While Head Coach Adrian Heath typically responds to criticism of his substitution patterns by casually brushing it away, it’s hard not to notice that since that game — the last one MNUFC lost — Heath has been making a fuller use of his bench, going to it earlier and using players like Ramon Abila to try and drop the hammer late. Whether that’s simply circumstance or by design remains to be seen, but given the altitude in Colorado and the quick turnaround from Saturday’s draw with San Jose, it wouldn’t surprising to see some rotation in the starting XI and early subs to either secure the game before the energy flags or give the side a shot in the arm in the hopes of grabbing a result.
  • NEXT MAN UP: Colorado’s young core has developed an admirable chemistry under Head Coach Robin Fraser over the last few years. But the kind of success they’ve had comes with a price and this week, it’s time to pay up. The Rapids will be missing defender Sam Vines and midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Jonathan Lewis as they head off to represent the U.S. at the Gold Cup. It’s a tremendous honor to be called into the national team, but it also means that Colorado will be missing one player from each line of its 4-3-3 formation. You’d almost rather lose all three of your attacking players or all three midfielders, since the second unit generally plays together in scrimmages, whereas plugging in one player at each spot could substantially change the dynamic all across the pitch. The Rapids are already without their lone Designated Player, Younes Namli, who underwent ankle surgery back in June. The most likely candidates for slotting into the formation right now are probably midfielder Nicolas Benezet, defender Lalas Abubakar and midfielder Cole Bassett — who scored in the 71st minute against MNUFC after coming on for Namli early.

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