Remember the 2011 season? It wasn't exactly a memorable season in the end -- the Gary Smith special, tying our way to the last playoff seed in the West, where we beat a listless Columbus Crew side and then fell to Sporting Kansas City -- but it was most notable for the injury spat that the team faced.
If you don't remember said injury spat, it involved just about every single player on the team not named Drew Moor missing a big chunk of games at some point. Conor Casey missed almost the entire year after snapping his Achilles Tendon. Marvell Wynne and Omar Cummings were both hampered on and off by foot injuries all season. Jamie Smith was, well, Jamie Smith.
One of the reasons why a lot of us were disappointed when Smith got sacked at the end of the year was because he was fighting a losing battle near the end of the year on the injury front. Of course, we couldn't dispute that Smith basically waved away the CCL, but the regular season and playoff failure in the MLS Cup defending season were more due to a lack of depth and a lot of benched guys than anything else.
Well, that injury spat ain't nothing compared to what we've got now. As Chris Bianchi pointed out after Kevin Harbottle went down, we essentially are looking at a 19-man roster right now, and the majority of the guys who are currently out are guys who would start on an ideal day. It's gotten so bad that Oscar Pareja has had to change his entire formation because the preferred guys for the 4-3-3 are all gone, replaced by youngsters.
The team may be 0-3-2, but I can't put too much of the blame on Oscar Pareja. In fact, I think that Pareja has shown far more poise than he did last year, results be damned. His team building looks a lot better than Gary's, as well. At least, it looks that way considering how solid the youth-filled lineup looked against Portland for the majority of the game on Saturday. I'd take that over Wells Thompson starting 25 games any day. I can only imagine that if everything were looking OK on the injury front, it would be far better in the W/L column as well.
I, along with a lot of other Rapids fans, gave Gary Smith the injury out in a season that had fewer injuries than this one -- albeit injuries that had far more of an impact simply because we didn't have a lick of depth. I feel that I would be a hypocrite for hanging the same albatross around Oscar Pareja's neck.