A Sunday afternoon in Texas saw the Colorado Rapids draw with the two time defending Eastern Conference Champion Houston Dynamo 1-1. This could be seen as a missed opportunity at all three points for the Rapids, but going down to Houston and picking up a result is not an easy task. The draw brings the Rapids to 2-4-3 on the season and leaves them sitting in eighth in the table in the competitive Western Conference,
Cue up the Ennio Morricone music for The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, Week 9 edition.
The Good: The defensive effort. Whereas there have been defensive lapses throughout the year (see the Portland game) and boneheaded plays (see the Dallas and Los Angeles games) the defense has been pretty stout all year. I crunched a few numbers to see where the defense stacks up historically against previous Rapids teams, keeping in mind we are through 9 games this year and found that the team is giving up 1 goal a game. (This is 47% better than 2012) In the modern era of Rapids football (since the move to Dick's Sporting Goods Park) the best defensive year was 2010 when the team gave up 1.06 goals per game. If you count only the games that Clint Irwin has played, the team is giving up 0.85 goals per game. This is remarkable when considering that Chris Klute and Shane O'Neill are (relatively) brand new to the team and Brian Mullan is a converted defender.
The Bad: Injuries, Injuries, Injuries. How many times and by how many people can this be brought up? The ridiculous nature of it all is just that: ridiculous. We could field a hell of a team with the guys on IR or who have missed time this year with injuries. And now with the prospect of Hendry Thomas missing time, the hits just keep on coming.
The Ugly: Again the finishing. This has been brought up a number of times this week from various sources and it is a serious problem. The Rapids have never been scoring juggernauts, with the best two years coming in 2008 and the MLS Cup winning campaign of 2010. In those two years, the team averaged 1.46 goals per game. The 2013 version of the Rapids is averaging 0.77 goals per game. It does not take a scholar to figure out if you are scoring 0.77 goals per game and giving up 1 per game, victories are going to be hard to come by. Is Kamani Hill the answer? Edson Buddle? Deshorn Brown? Honestly, I do not care who it is....the Rapids just need to figure a way of putting the ball in the net.
The Rapids are at home this Saturday with a good opportunity for three points against a Toronto FC team with just one win. It is hard to predict who will be in the XI this weekend with all of the injuries, but with luck Pablo Mastroeni and Martin Rivero will make their first start together at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.