The Rapids have used their considerable depth in many ways this season, including who leads the team by example on the field. During the season, many players have taken a turn at driving the team forward, and much like depth itself, this creates both an opportunity and a potential pitfall. On teams like New York Red Bulls or LA Galaxy, the players know who will lead, whom to turn to when confidence or goals are needed. With the Rapids, it's less certain. But what is certain is that as the season comes to a close, the Rapids will need one or more players to step out front and lead, be it scoring the key goal or rallying the team after a demoralizing game or untimely goal by an opponent.
In a season where the club captaincy changed hands, its fitting that many players have been called upon to lead the team. So who will lead the Rapids (hopefully) into and during the playoffs? Will the rookies (including guys like Clint Irwin, Shane O'Neill, and Chris Klute, who are for all intents and purposes still rookies) continue to lead the charge? Will the veterans like Drew Moor, Hendry Thomas, Marvell Wynne and Martin Rivero step up? Will a surprise guy like Brian Mullan or Nick LaBrocca step into the team and help them win games? Will Edson Buddle continue his recent resurgence and score some key goals? Or will one of the new guys, Vicente Sanchez and Gabriel Torres, get hot?
Postseason (which, let's be honest, has already started) leadership may be a big question, but fortunately there are many good possible answers. Remember, in 2010, with Conor Casey scoring key goals and Pablo Mastroeni playing his best soccer for the Rapids, it was Kosuke Kimura who scored to win the Conference title, and Mac Kandji who got the Cup winner. The 2013 Rapids may not have the guaranteed goal scorer in Casey or the talismanic leader in Mastroeni, but they do have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to guys who have shown they can produce the surprise goal. Here's hoping that will serve them well.