As a sports fans I have come to accept that injuries are apart of the game. Losing a star athlete in the playoffs or during an international tournament is one the hardest ways for a team to lose. Look at Russell Westbrook of the Thunder this NBA playoff season as a prime example. Luckily the Rapids season is still in the early stages and they're still in the playoff hunt. But who should get the credit for how the Rapids have stayed competitive in the early running? Oscar Pareja. Plain and simple. Why? Because he stresses competition.
This is the attribute that defines America if you have never heard of MTV. Not having competition is bad for the human soul. The world had a forty year case study with the city of Berlin. Sure some people wanted to stay on the east side after President Reagen said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall." But which side had to point guns at it's own citizens to keep them from leaving? The side that wanted status quo. The side whose philosophy said everybody was equal. When people say that a Rapids Starting line-up player just deserves his job back are probably the same people that would go along with sending all illegal immigrants back to their countries. One of the best feelings in life is when you have completed something. A sports season, a degree, a new personal best mile run. A goal for a back-up is to be a starter. So to be told that you can win a job at any time brings hope and motivation to practice hard everyday. I love Pareja's attitude and glad that Tim Hinchey agrees.
The Rapids are on a three game unbeaten streak with-out Marvell Wynne. Do I think he just deserves his spot back? NO. But, I think that the he's a much better player than his back-up and will earn his spot back based on his pace alone. No one can close on a man faster than Marvell. Not even Champ Bailey in his prime. He will earn his spot back.
The hard decision for the Rapids and what will define this years team is what to do with Matt Pickens. 2010 MLS Cup-winning goalkeeper Matt Pickens. I say keep Irwin in the job until he either makes Stewart Ceus like mistakes or we can send Pickens somewhere he can start. If that's what Pickens wants. What I don't want to see is a replay of the USA women's world cup disaster when ancient Brianna Scurry was picked over Hope Solo in a play-off game. That's worst case scenario. Best case right now is Pickens is a back-up and veteran leader for the Rapids.
Another unintended benefit for all these young players is with the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open cup starting for the Rapids at the end of this month we have more opportunity to go farther and keep up with the MLS schedule. That might be the reason that Paul Bravo has brought in all these defenders recently.
So are the Rapids trying to exercise the demons from the Rochester Rhinos? Who is to blame for not competing when we in the Champions League or the last several years in the U.S. Open. A deep run in the Open Cup never entered my mind this year. Sounds like Hinchey wants to win silverware. Also looks like expectations for this season are changing. The Rapids won in Columbus for the first time in several years. We got a result in Houston for the first time in several years. We got a result in Salt Lake for the first time in several years. I'm noticing a pattern here and I like it.