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Intelligence Report: Scouting the Colorado Rapids with Burgundy Wave

It's time again to go behind enemy lines to get more information on Orlando City's next opponent. John Rosch, managing editor of Burgundy Wave drops by to give us the scoop on the Colorado Rapids.

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After tonight, Orlando City will be midway through its inaugural MLS season. The Lions will be looking to close out the first half with a win over the Colorado Rapids from the Western Conference at the Citrus Bowl in the first midweek league game.

Here to help us learn about the Rapids is John Rosch from fellow SB Nation blog Burgundy Wave. And you can see my answers to their questions here.

Let's get to it:

Who are three players from the Rapids that Orlando City fans should know about?

John Rosch: 1) Dillon Serna--Serna is one of the Rapids home grown products and already in 2015 has been called up by the full USMNT and the U-23 MNT. He is just 21 years old and has a terrific touch and a cannon for a leg. He has four goals in all competitions this year for the Rapids and is in form at this point.

2) Marcelo Sarvas--truly a leader on and off the field, Sarvas came over to the Rapids in an off-season trade and has helped to solidify a defensive midfield that is surrendering just 0.86 goals per game.

3) Clint Irwin--he is one of the best young US goalkeepers that no one is talking about.

What is the team's preferred style of play and formation?

JR: The Rapids play in a 4-2-3-1 formation and like to bring the ball up the wing and cross it into the middle. Occasionally they will run the ball forward through the heart of the defense, but seem to prefer wide play over that.

What are Colorado's strengths and weaknesses so far in 2015?

JR: Strength: their defense is key for the Rapids. They are tied for the best defense in the league (based on goals allowed) and teams are finding it incredibly difficult to break them down. That is a credit to their renewed focus along the back line and in the defensive midfield position but it also comes from the addition of veteran leadership in the back. Newcomers Michael Harrington, James Riley, Sarvas, Sam Cronin and Bobby Burling have all played significant minutes and can all take credit for this improvement.

Weakness:  there are two things, but they go hand in hand: scoring goals and scoring first. The Rapids are a very good 2-0-2 when they score first but they are 0-4-7 when they do not. It is no secret that scoring goals is critical to winning soccer matches, and right now the Rapids just can't do that. They have added some firepower up front in Luis Solignac and Kevin Doyle, but neither one has found the back of the net for the Burgundy Boys. For the Rapids to have any shot at the postseason, this has to change quickly.

What are the fans' expectations for this Colorado Rapids squad?

JR: This is a tough one.  At the start of the season the hope was that the Rapids would contend for a playoff spot but as the season has gone on this seems incredibly unlikely. There is a increasing number of fans who are calling for Pablo Mastroeni's head and after winning just two games since the end of July 2014, you appreciate where that is coming from.

Right now, the fans just want the Rapids to win a couple of games in a row. The Rapids have not won two in a row in over a year and have not won three in a row since 2011. This hurts a fan base that truly loves this club, but really wants to see them string a few together and climb back into the playoff race.

What is your predicted starting XI and score prediction?

JR: Clint Irwin, Marc Burch, Drew Moor, Shane O'Neill, Michael Harrington, Marcel Sarvas, Sam Cronin, Dillon Serna, Dillon Powers, Luis Solignac, Kevin Doyle

Predicted score: Orlando City 1:0 Colorado Rapids

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Big thanks to John for helping us get to know more about our new enemies.