Colorado Rapids took on Vancouver Whitecaps in a meeting of two teams jockeying for playoff position in the Western Conference. Led by goals from Deshorn Brown and Edson Buddle, the Rapids ran their unbeaten streak to 5-0-4 and 10-7-9 overall and currently occupy the second spot in the West.
Time for The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - Colorado Rapids, Week 25.
The Good - Oscar Pareja
Much has been written about the struggles of 2012 with Pareja as manager. The Rapids were not a good team last year and with the departure of so many veterans this off-season there was worry about what might become of the 2013 Rapids. The team re-stocked with rookies, timely veteran signings and the first Designated Player in Rapids history.
But what has impressed most of all is the willingness of Pareja to play what he feels is the best XI he can, egos be damned. This past Saturday was evidence of this. Pareja started Deshorn Brown, who arguably had his worst game of his rookie campaign last Sunday against Chivas USA, and left Martin Rivero on the bench. These moves take fortitude and gives the sense that if you have a big ego, the Rapids are not the place to be. It begs the question as to what is the ideal Starting XI for this team... not sure of that answer, but the confidence is high that Pareja will put the best XI out there each week.
The Bad - Is time off bad?
It is a question that you hear a lot around playoff time in American sports: is time off bad if you are on a great run of form? The Rapids are 5-0-4 in their last nine and have not lost in two months. They have a week off before taking on Sporting Kansas City next Saturday on the road. In most cases I would argue that you want to keep the good run going and keep playing, but with the Rapids it is different. The two week break in-between games will allow them to continue to build chemistry with new players and begin to work on getting ready for a tough two game road trip to SKC and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Ugly - The next eight
The Rapids are on an unprecedented run of form this summer but the season is winding down. There are eight games left, with only three at the cozy confines of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids have FC Dallas, Seattle and Vancouver at home and go to SKC, Los Angeles Galaxy, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver. All tough games, but I can realistically see 15 points out of the final eight, which you have to think is enough to push them back into the playoffs.
An important week for the Rapids as they defeated another Western Conference opponent and continue to position themselves for a playoff run. The next two games on the road are not going to be easy, but these are matches you want to get a result from if you are going to make a push for a MLS Cup Championship.