Tottenham set for real test as 22-man MLS All-Star squad finalised

The 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star squad has been finalised as head coach Pablo Mastroeni confirmed his ten selections to finalise the gameday roster ahead of the game against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, July 29.

The likes of Sebastian Giovinco, Kei Kamara, Robbie Keane and Fabian Castillo have been selected by Mastroeni to join those voted in the Fan XI as well as Commissioner Don Garber’s two picks, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

Obafemi Martins was the AT&T/EA SPORTS ‘More Than a Vote’ Tournament winner but will not be able to feature in the All-Star game due to an ongoing injury problem.

Full 2015 MLS All-Star squad:

GKDavid Ousted (Vancouver Whitecaps) & Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFDaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders), Drew Moor (Colorado Rapids) & Chris Tierney (New England Revolution)

MIDMichael Bradley (Toronto FC), Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy), Kaka (Orlando City), Frank Lampard (New York City FC) & Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).

FORClint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) & David Villa (New York City FC)

The 22-man squad will see 11 players make their All-Star debuts alongside 11 All-Star veterans with 14 MLS teams represented in the team.

There are 12 Designated Players in the squad, though notable absentees include San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski despite the fact he’s netted nine goals in 16 games this season, as well as the likes of Jozy Altidore, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Jermaine Jones.

Tottenham will be in for a real test as world stars such as Steven Gerrard, Kaka, David Villa and Frank Lampard will look to prove their credentials as match-winners against the Premier League side.

Kaka Orlando City

While some of the more unfamiliar names to English football fans could wreak havoc in what is such a big match for the players.

Fabian Castillo will likely lineup against DeAndre Yedlin down the left wing in what will be a fascinating matchup between two of the fastest players in the game, while reigning MLS MVP and former Tottenham hero Robbie Keane will no doubt be looking to score against the club he played more than 200 games for.

Spurs have only played behind-closed-doors friendlies so far so the All-Star game will be their biggest test so far, before they take on Real Madrid in the Audi Cup on August 4.

Will the MLS All-Stars prove too good for Tottenham?


MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer Regular Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Saturday, July 11 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: Colorado Rapids 10/11 – Draw 12/5 – Real Salt Lake 3/1

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids host Real Salt Lake this weekend in the second meeting between the sides this season, the reverse fixture saw the sides share the points in a 0-0 draw.

Colorado Rapids won their first game after a six match winless run last weekend in their 2-1 home victory over Vancouver Whitecaps. This was a shock result and it should give the Rapids a boost.

Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni knows his side need to build upon last weekends result as they still sit bottom of the Western Conference.

Rapids upcoming fixtures don’t get any easier, with Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy their next two regular season opponents. Victory in this one would be a great lift and back-to-back wins would be ideal heading into those fixtures.

Embed from Getty Images

Real Salt Lake come into this one off the back of their 1-1 home draw against Orlando. Jeff Cassar‘s side have won just once in their last seven regular season ties.

The sides are separated by five points with RSL having played a game more, but neither side has been in any real form this season so we could see a similar tie to the 0-0 earlier in the campaign.

RSL are only four points outside the playoff places but have played more games then sides ahead of them in the Western Conference.

This is a tie RSL must win if they are to keep pressure on the sides above them and you have to fancy them against a Colorado side who have struggled to put together a run of form this season.
Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Colorado Rapids duo Axel Sjoberg and Juan Ramiez both still remain doubtful. Bobby Burling and Jared Watts are one booking away from a suspension.

Real Salt Lake are expected to be without Jamison Olave, while Justen Glad and Chris Schuler are doubts. Abdoulie Mansally is suspended and Luke Mulholland is one booking away from a suspension.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five in MLS: D/D/L/L/W

Real Salt Lake’s last five in MLS: D/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: Poor on the road – RSL have failed to win their last four regular season ties.

Key Player: Javier Morales – The Real Salt Lake playmaker will be at the centre of their attacking play in this one and will hope he can inspire his side to a win.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake – A tie Real Salt Lake will expect to win but Colorado will not make it easy for them.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: Citrus Bowl – Wednesday, June 24 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando City 19/20 – Draw 5/2 – Columbus Crew 14/5

Match Preview

Orlando City host Colorado Rapids in their midweek clash with the home side heading into the tie off the back of a defeat.

Head coach Adrian Heath can be pleased with his side and their performances have seen them rise to a respectable third place in the Eastern Conference. Their loss last weekend to Montreal Impact was their first defeat in five outings and they need to respond quickly.

Orlando are just four points behind New England Revolution, with a game in hand, and will be hoping they can continue to apply the pressure to the two sides above them as they look on track to make the playoffs in their first ever season.

Embed from Getty Images

This is a game Orlando will be expecting to win but they cannot afford any complacency, despite being in a far better position than their opponents.

Colorado Rapids have had a dismal season so far and sit bottom of the Western Conference as a result. They have won just two games, the least of any side in Major League Soccer.

Pablo Mastroeni will be willing his side to put together a run of form but knows they will be up against it in this tie away from home.

The Rapids have won just once in their last ten outings and things aren’t looking any easier, with some difficult games approaching. On the bright side in those last ten they have picked up six draws, and so things could be worse.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Orlando City are set to be without three players as Kevin Molino, Martin Paterson and Tony Cascio are sidelined. Brek Shea is one booking away from a suspension.

Colorado Rapids could be without three players as Axel Sjoberg and Juan Ramirez are out and Vicente Sanchez is a doubt. Sam Cronin and Bobby Burling are both one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: D/D/W/W/L

Colorado Rapids’ last five: W/L/L/D/D

Key Stat: Colorado have failed to win in 27 of their last 29 MLS games. 

Key Player: Kaka – The Brazilian playmaker has been brilliant for Orlando this season and has netted seven goals so far this campaign. His performances are vital to the side.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-1 Colorado Rapids – A win which most would predict with Orlando heaping more misery on Colorado as they look to remain third in the Eastern Conference.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas 

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Friday, April 24th – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Colorado Rapids 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – FC Dallas 9/5

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids entertain FC Dallas at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is the reverse fixture of their staggering 4-0 away win just two weeks ago.

That win in Dallas was the Rapids’ first and only win of the season so far and was a scoreline nobody saw coming. They were brought back down to earth last weekend though with a 3-1 home loss to Seattle Sounders.

Embed from Getty Images

Dallas ended their two-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over Toronto last weekend and head coach Oscar Pareja will not be expecting a repeat of that performance from two weeks ago in this one.

The Rapids sit at the foot of the Western Conference on six points, while Dallas are flying high in second, but the visitors will want to force their way to the top of the table as soon as possible and will be looking for all three points in Colorado this week.

Blas Perez is joint-second highest goalscorer in the league so he will be expecting to find the net but it will be a tough task against a fairly tight defensive unit.

Embed from Getty Images

Pablo Mastroeni will know his side will be hard pushed to repeat their heroics from Toyota Stadium but will know his team have the upper-hand mentally and he desperately needs to get his side going to avoid falling further adrift at the bottom of the table.

Team News

Colorado Rapids have three injury concerns as Sam Cronin, Marc Burch and Dominique Badji could all be set to miss this one. Gabriel Torres played a key role in the 4-0 win, scoring once and assisting Dillon Serna, so Mastroeni will be hoping he can reproduce that display.

FC Dallas also have three concerns as Coy Craft, Stephen Keel and Dan Kennedy are all struggling with injuries. Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo have seven goals combined this season and their partnership could prove to be vital if they are to go all the way this season.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: D/D/L/W/D

FC Dallas’ last five: W/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Colorado Rapids’ only win of the season was against FC Dallas two weeks ago.

Embed from Getty Images
Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The Colombian speedster has been impressive so far this campaign and can unnerve the calmest of defenders with his trickery and pace.

Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-2 FC Dallas – Dallas will be hard pushed for a win here, but we can expect them to find a result and avoid another shocking day at the office.

MLS 2015 Season Preview: Colorado Rapids

In the second of our MLS 2015 Season Previews, we take a look at what the Colorado Rapids will be looking to achieve this year. We’ll have a new season preview up every day in the lead up to the season now so be sure to keep checking back for your team.

Colorado Rapids are a side searching for improvement in 2015 as they had a below par season last time out. The 2010 MLS Cup winners will be hoping for a stronger showing this year and Pablo Mastroeni has restructured his squad in order to enjoy the upcoming campaign a lot more than they did in 2014.

Last season’s finish: Western Conference position: 8th – P34 – W8 – D8 – L18

Embed from Getty Images

What needs to change this year? 

The Rapids conceded the most goals in MLS last season (62) and will need to shore up their defence if they are to be successful this coming season. They also had a huge problem in defence towards the end of the year which led to them going on a winless run of fourteen straight matches. The Rapids conceded 27 in their last ten outings – a far from acceptable record. They could also do with an out-and-out goalscorer to support Deshorn Brown, who managed ten goals last year.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Zac MacMath (On loan from Philadelphia) – Goalkeeper, Marcelo Sarvas – Midfield, Sam Cronin – Midfield, Juan Ramirez – Midfield (Designated Player).

Outs: Marvell Wynne – Defender, Zat Knight – Defender

Key player: Marcelo Sarvas – Midfield

Embed from Getty Images

Marcelo Sarvas joined the Rapids from LA Galaxy this offseason and looks set to lead a new-look midfield in Colorado. Sarvas of course won the MLS Cup with the LA Galaxy in 2012 and in 2014 and will be hoping his successful past can inspire his new teammates. The Brazilian is set to partner fellow newcomer Sam Cronin in the centre of midfield and they should form a solid core that the Rapids will hope improves the entire team. Sarvas may take time to adapt to his new surroundings and could take a while to have a telling influence but he will be a key man for Colorado.

One to watch: Axel Sjöberg – Defender

The powerful Swedish centre-back was selected by the Rapids in the first round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft and immediately stands out in a crowd. That’s largely down to the fact that he is 6’7″ and Axel Sjöberg will hope he can force his way into the starting lineup in his rookie season to help Colorado’s defence improve.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 10th

A bit harsh you may think, but Major League Soccer is the strongest it has ever been and will only get better. The Western Conference has become even tougher with the additions of Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo and the Colorado Rapids will do well to finish anywhere but bottom this year.

How do you think the Colorado Rapids will fair in 2015?