With only two games left in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) season, the stage has been set for an epic game between Colorado Rush and Club El Azul as both teams look to lock down a play off spot.
The Colorado UPSL conference will have a four team playoff once the season closes and will only include the top four teams in the conference. The one and two seeds in the conference will each have the home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
Currently the top four teams in the conference are all separated by only three points and Rush is tucked right in the middle sitting in second, one point removed from first place FC Greeley. El Azul is sitting in the fifth spot and is still sitting three points outside of a playoff position.
This could very well prove to be the most important match of the entire season for both of these teams. If Rush can pull off the win they will be on track to finish in either first or second and will have home field in the first round of the playoffs. On the flip side is Rush loses this game they will drop right down into third or fourth and will have a chance to be knocked out of the playoffs all together.
For El Azul this is a do or die game, if they win they have a chance at the playoffs but if they lose to Rush, they are eliminated and will not be able to snag a playoff berth. El Azul is not a team that will come in and take Rush lightly. They will surely have their big guns for this match and come out expecting to win.
This is the second and likely final time these two teams will play each other this season and if its anything like the first match, this will be a very exciting game. In the first match Rush left with a well earned 3-0 victory and left El Azul stunned and confused at their home. This go round Rush will play the host and El Azul will be looking to avenge the previous loss.
Rush was able to move the ball quickly against El Azul in the first match and found goals off of possession and counter attacks. El Azul does enjoy playing a physical brand of soccer and if Rush gets sucked into that they will have some problems in this match.
In the past few matches the Rush offense has found their spark again as the motor Colin Clark, who has been battling injury, found his form again and has been the creator in the midfield. Captain Nic Hartman has also returned and given the Rush back line its confidence back as they played stout last game against a very quality Colorado Springs FC side.
What to watch for:
Rush has a couple young guys that have been playing out of their minds in the last few matches. In the midfield look for Ryan Crowley who has been a work horse in the center plays excellent with Colin Clark. Also in the midfield Charlie “Chuck” Caswell has come alive and found the back of the net twice in the last match and is able to create enjoyable chances with his clever footwork.
Finally, Rush forward Griffin Dorsey has had a solid season for the team but hasn’t had the break through game where he has been able to find the net until the last match where he seemed unstoppable as he found the net a pair of times and set up many other chances. Most teams will send two or three defenders at Griff when he gets the ball at his feet but it usually makes no difference as he is able to blow past just about everyone with his ridiculous pace. These three guys could be the difference makers in the match against El Azul.
Kickoff for this match is at 7pm at Shea Stadium on Sunday June 11th. Come out and support Colorado Rush as they try to put the final stamp on their playoff hopes.