The third game of the season brought the Colorado Rapids the first positive result of the year, but we also suffered another major injury of the young season. It was very nice to get a point in Salt Lake City, and it gave another opportunity to assess the new look Rapids.
Cue up the Ennio Morricone music for the The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, Week 3 edition.
The Good: Honestly, there were a couple of things that you could focus on from this match and feel good about. Obviously getting a point at Rio Tinto is massive from a table perspective but also it is a confidence booster playing your arch-rival and one of the better teams in the league to a stalemate. Deshorn Brown opened his account for the year, and I was impressed with his poise in not missing a great opportunity to put the lads in the lead. But, for me, the good in this match was Clint Irwin. In many cases when a team suffers a major injury, there are jitters that new, young players bring with them on the pitch. If Irwin was nervous, he did not show it. With Matt Pickens out for a good deal of this season, Rapids fans will need to get used to seeing Irwin back there.
The Bad: We need to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net. It is very early in the season for me to start calling out folks for their inability to score, but the fact is some guys could not hit water standing in a boat in the middle of a lake. This needs to change. And quickly. Our defense was better against Real Salt Lake then in the Philadelphia Union match, and certainly good enough to take three from RSL. But the quality in the attacking third was lacking and something needs to happen to get the team aggressive and shooting the ball. We play a Los Angles Galaxy team this week that I think we can get a result from. But not without more shots on frame. Is this the game that Danny Mwanga or Edson Buddle make their debut? I sure as hell hope so.
The Ugly: Losing Matt. The dreadful 2012 campaign showed how much this team values Matt Pickens as a teammate and as a leader. His vocal presence and his leadership will be sorely, sorely missed.
It is difficult to comprehend the injuries that we have suffered in the first three weeks. Martin Rivero, Jaime Castrillon, Pablo Mastroeni, and now Matt. All four are out. All four are leaders and vital to the success of this team. These are not bit players that give you five or ten minutes here or there. They are not Edu. These are four critical men to this team. I can only hope that their recovery is swift and we see them out playing soon.