The Daily Wave: Are The Rapids Peaking At The Right Time?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

Winning in the playoffs takes skill, stamina, and a little luck. Sports is overwrought with stories of teams peaking too early and falling short when the playoffs start. The topic today is, are the Rapids peaking at the right time?

The atmosphere at Dick's Sporting Goods Park last Saturday was unlike any Rapids regular season game I've been to this year. The complete domination the starters had in the first half against the then first place Seattle Sounders was the best half of soccer I've witnessed at DSGP this season. That is the easiest observation to make of the entire season. If the Rapids make the playoffs and that is the line-up that they take into the match, then Colorado should be the toughest out in the tournament. My hope for this side is much like the 2010 MLS Cup winning side that had everything go right for itself during the playoffs. This team will peak starting from last weekend going into the playoffs.

One of the most famous catch fire in a bottle teams was the 2007 Colorado Rockies. Winning 22 of 23 before being swept in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Watching every one of those games from the press box at Coors Field or on television the atmosphere around the team was to keep the streak alive. The ultimate team chemistry is what I believe I witnessed inside the home clubhouse. Every man spoke about what it would take to win the next day. Winning nine in a row to finish the season and sweeping through the National League playoffs was a by-product of that team chemistry.

Which is why Saturdays win was such a good omen to me. Even without Clint Dempsey the Sounders could not match the Rapids at any position on the field. Having the defensive side near section 108 where I sit and watching Seattle basically give up trying to go at Marvelle Wynn was a pleasure which brought me back to 2010 nostalgia and made my expectations rise a bit for Wednesday nights game against the Earthquakes and the rest of the season.

Let's recap the Rapids against the likely playoff teams which could be finalized as early as tonight depending on results from Seattle-Vancouver and Colorado-San Jose.

  • Salt Lake- Won the season series 1-0-2 and the Rocky Mountain Cup. Most importantly had the best showing of all time in Salt Lake. Where visiting fans are treated like prisoners at a Johnny Cash concert.
  • Seattle- 1-1-1, An early season loss to the to the then win-less Sounders looked like a bad defeat but with recent results that game didn't look bad. The Rapids had a lead in the return match to Century Link July 20th before conceding the equalizer. The best match of the season this past weekend will make Seattle think twice about facing the Colorado in the playoffs.
  • Portland- 0-2-1 Which witnessed the Rapids poorest performance on the year, a 3-0 defeat at Jeld-wen field and what most MLS observers say is the toughest place to play this side of Mexico visiting Columbus Ohio. The first match between the two teams at Rapids Park saw the Rapids jump out to a two goal lead before giving up the equalizer in the last quarter hour.
  • Los Angeles- 2-1 including a dominating victory at DSGP on September 7th that saw the emotional return of Pablo Mastroeni.
So there you have it. The Rapids won every season series on goals or straight up except for Portland. If we're talking about the way the Rapids have defended the fort recently. (Maybe we can actually call it that since where the stadium sits it was on a military post and an actual arsenal, which is kind of opposite of the used car lots that Rio Tinto aka dirty river stadium exists on.) The Rapids' best bet will be to host the wild card match and hope that either Seattle or Salt Lake take the top spot because those are two teams that the Rapids can outscore at home and tie on the road against. Those results in the MLS playoffs get you to the MLS final. With the chemistry this team had on Saturday and the atmosphere of Dick's, this team only has itself to beat the rest of the season.
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