COMMERCE CITY, CO - JUNE 20: Head coach Oscar Pareja of Colorado Rapids leaves the pitch after being defeated 2-1 by the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on June 20, 2012 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
I know you are all probably tired of reading my articles blasting the Rapids and their ineffectiveness so far this season, but I like to be an unbiased fan and call out my team when it needs to be done. And after a game like the one they had against the San Jose Earthquakes there needs to be something done.I’m going to say it now…Oscar Pareja what were/are you thinking? With our Burgundy Boys leading and for all intents and purposes dominating the game Oscar Pareja decides to sub a returning Omar Cummings for Conor Casey. Now my biggest problem with that is that I don't why would you take one of our best players out when we can use as many goals as possible. Does Pareja not know that Casey and Cummings are an extremely dangerous duo when played together? What the Rapids need is to have both Cummings and Casey on the pitch at the same time!
Now I could almost let that substitution go if it wasn’t for the rest of the subs that Pareja made. With Hunter Freeman playing solidly; hustling to every ball on his side and winning battles consistently, yet still getting roughed up the entire second half (going down at least twice where he needed the trainers to come out); Pareja decides to bring in Kamani Hill for Edu instead of Kosuke Kimura for Freeman. Freeman should have been pulled for a fresh Kimura; which would have given the Rapids defense a much-needed lift.
And then to cap off the head scratching substitutions Pareja decides it’s finally time to bring in Wells Thompson at midfield. But, instead of subbing out Martin Rivero who had just been helped off the field and was limping around and barely able to move to the ball once he got back on; he takes out Jamie Castrillion. Now admittedly Castrillion was completely ineffective once again, but when you see a guy like Rivero down on the ground and limping around most people would sub him out.
If this one game was an aberration that would be one thing, but Pareja has made some questionable moves all year. Starting Marvell Wynne was a great move by the Rapids coach, but in his first game back since early May Wynne should not have been asked to play a full 90 minutes. Every player that has returned from injury under Pareja have been subs in their first game back, but for Wynne; Pareja decides to throw him to the wolves right away. Now Wynne did a phenomenal job given that just a couple of weeks ago he said that he was about as fast as Drew Moor and that was a bad thing.
Pareja seems completely out of touch with what the Rapids are as a team, though I understand that he is trying to form his identity of the team though. This identity just does not seem to be working yet, granted we are not even half way into the season). We have brought in multiple offensive players and almost completely ignored the defense. Hunter Freeman’s signing a couple of games into the season has really been the only good thing done on the defense. And now they brought left back Brett Evans in on trial. Our back wing positions are so crowded right now where as our center back position is sparse.
What Pareja should really look at is getting a quality center back to help out Wynne and Drew Moor. Tyrone Marshall is showing his age, and while he may be good in a pinch for short minutes we cannot count on him to play extended minutes when guys go down with injuries. And we won’t even get started on Scott Palguta (no need to pile on what has been piled on enough).