Gary Smith's dubious claim that he really did want the Colorado Rapids to win the CONCACAF Champions League seemed a bit off when he sent out the worst Rapids side we'd seen in years against Real Espana, and now even his chattering about how they were working toward 9 points at home looks pretty off. Colorado sent out an uninspiring lineup today to take on Santos Laguna and played an uninspired ball-game to follow, dropping their chance to take a hold of Group B 4-1.
The Rapids started the game with a 4-3-3 formation with Sanna Nyassi, Omar Cummings and Macoumba Kandji up top and a mostly defensive midfield that featured Wells Thompson and Jeff Larentowicz pushing up and Pablo Mastroeni wandering the pitch in the center. Funny thing about 4-3-3 formations though, you need a very solid defense in order to keep the diminished number of bodies in the midfield from affecting the team's ability to hold the ball.
Unfortunately, the defense we saw tonight had both Danny Earls and Scott Palguta in it. Remember what happened last time the Rapids tried that? (I believe it was our own Bulldog Ben who coined the term 'The L of shit' referring to Earls and Palguta being paired up alongside Wells Thompson as a defensive tandem on the same side.) That defense was indeed terrible throughout the game, to the tune of four goals, many of which came on breakaways that Steward Ceus had no real chance to do much about.
The game started off with a lot of Santos possession and quickly turned into a Santos goal-fest as Daniel Ludueña snapped a shot toward Ceus who lost it into the back of the net despite getting a lot of hand on it. With the Rapids not doing very much offensively to get the goal back, Santos took another chance as Oribe Peralta scored - albeit from about 5 yards offside - to make it 2-0 before the break.
The game didn't even wind up mattering after that second goal was scored, you knew that the Rapids weren't going to come back and take it even after they subbed on guys like Brian Mullan and new guy Miguel Comminges. Sure enough, Santos spent the second half piling it on as Carlos Quintero and Cristian Suárez both scored goals before the 70th minute to put the game away for good. Brian Mullan scored a 77th minute goal to kill the shutout but it didn't accomplish much else.
In other, brighter news, Miguel Comminges got his first minutes as a Rapid and played quite well in his 45 minutes of time. We won't yet be saying that he's our new left back prospect for the next few years and the guy to finally solve the mystery left by Palguta and Earls... but it's nice to have a new guy in the mix who showed a little something against a quality team in Santos.
Lost in the fire of the terrible match was a terrible piece of form from the Rapids front office... but we'll have to cover that some other time. Just know that this was a pretty shameful performance by the Rapids on just about every single front from the pitch to the front office. That Toronto FC match can't come fast enough.