Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
We're recapping the 10 keys to the season I laid out back in early March. Here's No. 1, Health.
Before the 2012 season began, I counted down the Top 10 keys to a successful season. Obviously, the season was anything but successful, so looking back at them is probably not going to be that much fun. Here's No. 1, Health.
The unfortunately short 2011 season was ruined by two things: the offense suddenly losing a lot of the touch that they had in 2010 and a terrible lack of depth combined with an injury spat that lasted all season long. This season, the team started off with several players missing, including Conor Casey, Jamie Smith and Anthony Wallace, who ended up being knocked out all year.
Undoubtedly the biggest injury this season was Pablo Mastroeni's concussion suffered in the first game of the year. One had knocked him out of last season's playoff race and he missed all but two games this year as well. His influence was missed heavily, to put it mildly. (The two games with Pablo, they went 2-0. The 32 games without him, they went 9-19-4. Small sample size to be sure, but still not a very good looking clip.)
Past Pablo, the team was able to stay healthy enough to put out a somewhat consistent lineup game in and game out this year. Most of the tinkering was done by Oscar Pareja not because of injury problems, but because he was throwing formations and lineups to a wall to see what would stick. The end of the season brought some unfortunate injuries to guys like Matt Pickens and Brian Mullan, but at that point the Rapids were already very much out of the playoff picture.
Maybe I should have made those other nine things, which ended up being worth a lot more in the end, the top few keys to the season.