Ten Keys to the Season #7 - Games Against Top Four Teams

COMMERCE CITY, CO - OCTOBER 14: Chris Wingert #17 of the Real Salt Lake and Brian Mullan #11 of the Colorado Rapids battle for control of the ball at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on October 14, 2011 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

With only seven days remaining until first kick, Burgundy Wave is going to do a countdown of the ten most important things to watch on the Colorado Rapids in 2012 if they want to get themselves a run at their second MLS Cup. .

In 2010 the Rapids weren't exactly world beaters against the top teams in the league, but they did fairly well for themselves overall with wins over the LA Galaxy (on the road!) and Seattle Sounders as well as two draws against Real Salt Lake. It wasn't a particularly sparkling record - they were never in contention for the supporters shield or anything - but it kept them afloat and in the discussion for the MLS Cup later in the year.

2011 was an absolute crapping of the bed against the best teams in the league. Up until the Rapids late season game against FC Dallas at home where they won 1-0, they had exactly zero points against top four clubs (Seattle, Salt Lake, LA and Dallas). By the end of the season, they only had earned four out of 24 possible points thanks to a tie against Salt Lake in their last match.

Part of it was due to the injury bug at the start of the season, but there was some flat out incompetent managing and terrible play by the team in that stretch. You can't blame bad luck for everything, after all.

The Rapids will face the teams that consisted of the top four last year a lot more times this season thanks to the new conference based scheduling system, so they're going to need to snag a lot more than four points from the group if they want to put themselves in the top four themselves. The playoffs will be a loftier goal than usual.

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