We're recapping the 10 keys to the season I laid out back in early March. Here's No. 7, games against the top four teams in the West.
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. 7, Games Against Top Four Teams.
Last season, the Rapids scrapped their way to the playoffs thanks to a lot of points picked up against the teams at the bottom of the league. Heck, that's almost the same way that Vancouver made the playoffs this season. Unfortunately, with the playoff format changing it would be harder for the Rapids to nick four points from all the teams at the bottom of the east, so they were going to have to improve their form against the top teams in the league.
Well, they couldn't even beat the bottom feeders this season, so you can guess how that went.
Combined, the Rapids got a putrid total of four points from all of their games against San Jose, Real Salt Lake, Seattle and Los Angeles. Those points came in a win over an injured Salt Lake side after the Rocky Mountain Cup had already been lost and a rather boring draw against the LA Galaxy after the playoff picture had essentially shut for the Rapids. Against the Quakes, they lost all three games by a total score of 10-3. They suffered the same fate against Seattle, though they allowed them a few fewer goals.
That four points matches the number that they put up last season, but the difference is that this time around that four points came out of a possible 36 points rather than a possible 24. Gary Smith was able to snag a playoff spot with his record against the top teams, Oscar Pareja never even came close. If there's one thing that needs to change next year, it's the team's ability to get points, even if they're from draws, from teams like Seattle and San Jose.