A rough and tumble week for the Colorado Rapids culminated in a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Portland Timbers Sunday night in Portland. This loss, coupled with the loss at Chicago Fire on Wednesday, dropped the Rapids to 5-7-5 (20 points) but leaves them just two points out of the fifth spot in the Western Conference table. The week also featured the departure of longtime Captain Pablo Mastroeni and a tornado that delayed departures to Chicago.
Without further adieu, here is the Good, Bad and Ugly, Week 17 edition
The Good: Pablo's departure--those words hurt to say as he has meant everything to this organization since his arrival from Tampa Bay. He gave blood, sweat, tears to this organization. He helped deliver the 2010 MLS Cup to the Rapids and was an ambassador to the community. He wore the Captain's armband since 2004. But the reality is this is not the same team that was on the pitch in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Rapids are slowing building a solid foundation of younger lads. They are investing in younger players and the Academy like never before. I believe that Pablo saw this and wanted one more shot, and in an area of the country he wanted to be in. But this move allows the younger guys (Dillon Powers, Nathan Sturgis, Martin Rivero) to continue to solidify their spots in a evolving Rapids midfield. Pablo, thank you for the memories, dedication and passion to the Rapids.
The Bad: Two tough road losses--goodness gracious, what a couple of ugly games. When looking at the Chicago and Portland games, you had to feel that Chicago was going to be the more likely of the two to get a result. And honestly, it should have. Tony Cascio, Edson Buddle, Martin Rivero, and Jaime Castrillon all had golden opportunities squandered. The Rapids blew a chance to get a result on the road. With the Portland match, the Rapids started brightly, but gave up a really poor goal due to a loss of concentration. From there, the Portland rout was on.
The Ugly: Defensive cohesion--in football you have to have a solid back four. Individually, the Rapids have this, but for some reason it has fallen apart in the last four games and the Rapids are giving up 2.25 goals a game. With a team that struggles scoring, this simply will not work. The back four has left Clint Irwin out to dry a number of times and although he has had a good start to his Rapids career, he is not Superman. From players to not being able to hold a line, to stupid penalty kicks being given up to having your back to the ball on a restart, there is just something wrong and lacking right now. Do we miss Shane O'Neill that much?
A trip to Montreal Impact is awaits the Rapids as they try and stop the rot. The Impact are a class club in the Eastern Conference and will be a stern test of the young Rapids. When thinking ahead to this game it gives a chance to really look at this team--can the Rapids get a result in Montreal? And yes, the run of form is poor, but there is still half a season to play. Two points separates them and a playoff spot. Optimism should be high as the Rapids have six of their next nine MLS matches at home.