COMMERCE CITY CO - JULY 17: Scott Palguta #29 of the Colorado Rapids and Michael Harrington #2 of the Kansas City Wizards vie for the ball at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on July 17 2010 in Commerce City Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
So, you may have noticed that depth is the word of the year for the Colorado Rapids. There was pretty much no depth on the squad during the Gary Smith regime and it showed in the worst possible way last season. Players who had no business getting big minutes on the team were getting way more minutes than they deserved, like Scott Palguta.
Of course, Palguta is still on the squad somehow, so there's really only one way to judge just how good the Rapids are doing in the depth department, isn't there?
Welcome to the official Scott Palguta 'Threat Level' Meter, brought to you by the brilliant minds of our own Bulldog Ben and some guy named Drew.
Periodically throughout the season, we're going to check out the depth of the team in terms of how screwed we are. The team is currently very deep in the midfield and have plenty of options at striker even without Conor Casey, but are looking a bit thin in the back line. The Palguta Meter runs from 1-4 Palgutas, with a higher number of Palguta heads representing a higher chance that we'll see someone like him starting a game some time soon.
One Palguta Head means that there is plenty of depth to go around on the team. There is no danger barring a major injury apocalypse that we will see Scott Palguta or a player of his level on the field.
Two Palguta Heads is nothing to be too concerned about, it probably just means one or two guys have gone down but there's still enough good players on the team to keep a good guy on the field and at least an adequate one on the bench.
Three Palguta Heads mean that we are in imminent danger of seeing the bad side of our 'depth' get placed on the field. If you start seeing Palguta getting played as the first man off the bench on defense we're probably up to this stage.
Four Palguta Heads means that we are in imminent danger of seeing a C team out on the field, probably including Scott Palguta. This is pretty much the level we were at for most of 2011, actually. Panic if we ever reach Peak Palguta!
So how's the depth currently looking for the Rapids with the season about to start?STRIKERS:
The striker depth took a hit with the losses of Caleb Folan and Macoumba Kandji during the offseason, but with only one 'true striker' seemingly needed in the new 4-3-3 system, it's not nearly as much of a problem as it would have been under the former 4-4-2. Even then, some of the most purely talented players on the roster are strikers like Andre Akpan and Omar Cummings, with even guys like Quincy Amarikwa looking better under the new system. So even if the striker numbers are low, the quality doesn't drop off immensely. Not having Casey hurts a bit, but it shouldn't be a problem.
The deepest part of the team under the new regime is the midfield, so there shouldn't be any problems. The defensive midfielder depth is a bit wonky, but having Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz isn't nearly as important under the new system as it was under the previous. The fact that this team doesn't look like they'll miss Jamie Smith at all shows you just how far the midfield depth has come.
This is the problem area. Anthony Wallace getting healthy was a very, very good thing for the team after they dropped two left backs at the start of the offseason and replaced them with Hunter Freeman and the capable Luis Zapata. Wallace would have brought the left back situation to three deep, but it's down to a two man race. In fact, every position is pretty much a two man race with Tyrone Marshall the only real center back in the depth chart and Eddie Ababio the only right back.
Hunter Freeman is injured now as well, which isn't helping the situation any. If anyone else gets injured - the defense was one of the few areas on the field where the guys stayed mostly healthy last year, remember - we're kinda screwed unless we pick up another piece or two. Else we'll have to see a bit of a player shuffle like last year when Drew Moor played left back for almost the entire season and Wynne kept getting moved over to right back... with Palguta in the middle. Crap.