Colorado Rapids made their second consecutive trip to Canada, this time touching down in Toronto to take on new-look Toronto FC. On a dreary day that featured a poor playing surface, the Rapids surprised Major League Soccer (let alone the BMO Field crowd) and came away 1-0 victors for their second victory all-time in Toronto. Led by the 99th goal of Edson Buddle's career and solid defense and goalkeeping, the Rapids improved to 3-1-1 and now sit second in the Western Conference table.
The Rapids are playing some very enjoyable football and as such we have a slight tweak to The Good, The Bad, The Ugly this week.
The Good-Road Form
It has been no secret that the Rapids have never been the best of road teams in their history. The dark days of 2 and 3 wins on the road are not that far behind the team (2009 had a whopping two road wins). But so far the team is 2-0-1 on the road with positive results in New Jersey, Vancouver and Toronto-this feels like a different Rapids team. They are in a stretch of 3 of 4 on the road (a trip to always difficult Seattle is in store next weekend) but they have shown that they are resilient in adapting to the challenges that road games present.
The Good-Formation Changes
There has been a great deal of discussion on the move from the 4-2-3-1 to the 4-4-2 Diamond formation. I still believe that it is a work in progress, but it allows the Rapids to narrow the field as their opponent starts to make their runs forward. With midfield looking like this:
Nathan Sturgis - Nick Labrocca
you are saying that you are going to be limiting what the other team is going to do as you are playing a more defensive diamond. It will be curious to see what "The Pablo" does when the team is at home and they can use the pitch and altitude to wear opponents out. I would think you would see (providing fitness and babies) players like Dillon Serna, Vicente Sanchez, or Charles Eloundou out there instead of Sturgis or LaBrocca.
The Good-Selection Headaches
Depth has always been an issue for Rapids teams over the year. There was always this fearful feeling that if one person went down, the Rapids would be in deep trouble. There appears to be plenty of depth on the team, specifically midfielder and forward. Where there is a concern is still along the back-line. However, the addition of Thomas Piermayr and Marc Burch have appeared to help this, but a new issue has arisen. What do do with Marvell Wynne and Shane O'Neill. I am convinced that O'Neill is better suited to work with Drew Moor in the middle and eventually Chris Klute will be coming back and will move into his left back role. So what to do with right back? Do you leave Piermayr there and leave Wynne on the bench? Or does Wynne move to right back, where he had problems in 2013?
The Rapids take on San Jose Earthquakes this Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park at 4PM. It has been a rough ride for the Burgundy Boys against the Quakes over the last several years and to get a result this weekend, the Rapids are going to need to get over the Quakes thug style of football and not get caught up in it. If the Rapids are able to spread the field and utilize their speed, they should come out of this weekend with a positive result.