(Originally posted at From the South Stands, May 11, 2014. http://www.rapidssoccerextra.wordpress.com)
I stayed home and watched the game on UniMas—and whoa! If ever a loss was disconcerting and disturbing, it was that one—a 3-1 loss at home to the last place Chivas USA (lowlights here). Allow me as a fan to share with you the process I took through the game.
The Announcement of the Lineup
Serna in (good!), Hairston in (my Louisville Cardinal favorite—super)! Dillon, Drew, and Klute on the bench? That raised the eyebrows a bit. Honestly, my first thought was, "They are taking it easy because it’s Chivas USA—a 1-3-5 Chivas USA. Maybe Pablo knows something I don’t. Who am I kidding? Pablo has forgotten more than I’ll ever know. Here we go!"
Coach Mastroeni said at the beginning of the year that he values keeping players fresh and giving everyone opportunities (I’ll return to this momentarily). My question as a fan is: where’s the tipping point between getting everyone in and keeping everyone fresh, and having that core eight that stays steady and develops chemistry? I don’t know—I’ve only coached from the South Stands.
I was at Chili’s during the first half. Again, I’m not being paid to write this article, so I wasn’t glued to the computer to watch. After church, I took the family out to eat. Surprisingly (not really), the Rockies-Reds game was on (yes, my Reds took two out of three from the Rocks), along the NCAA tournament for lacrosse. No Rapids surprisingly (not really). So, I kept up with it on a sports app on my phone. Chivas had zero – zero—shots on goal. The Rapids? A bunch. A couple on target, but all the little x’s were in their end of the field. "OK! We seem to be getting near the goal and having legit shots. That’ll open up in the 2nd half. Here we go!"
Posterity demands that I speak about the 2nd half. Alas! Torres’ header on a ball in from Martin Rivero was their first shot on goal the entire game—at the 56’ mark. Fine! Great play—but 1-0 is not the end of the world. Opportunities will come.
For the Goats apparently! This is where the drama unfolds on a number of levels. In the 67th minute, Chavez broke away and finished with a nifty touch over Irwin to put them up 2-0. Yes, that Chavez.
The Marvin Chavez that was a Colorado Rapid at the beginning of last week.
The Chavez the Rapids traded for in the offseason.
The Chavez that, for whatever reason, couldn’t break into the starting XI at all here. Now, the Chavez who scored not one goal, but two goals—the second on a poor header by Burch toward Irwin that the speedy Chavez caught up to. Irwin had no chance.
MLSSoccer.com conveys the reports that Chavez’s frustration with his role led to the departure. John Rosch and I were conversing on Twitter and the question came up ever so briefly: "Does Coach know how to evaluate talent?" He has no shortage of it in Colorado—in fact, he may have too much talent, to be honest, and tries hard to get everyone in. But why not Chavez?
This gets back to an earlier point: Mastroeni’s desire to keep players rested and to give everyone a chance. I don’t assume to know all that goes on in a locker room. I’m a fan who sits in the South Stands at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and have a good bit of Rapids merchandise. The articles I read are of those in better perspectives than I have, but most aren’t truly in the inner sanctum of the organization. My hunch? Something just didn’t jibe, and the Rapids and Chavez knew it. Time to move on.
And it’s time for us to move on as well. Granted, a brace does not a Hall of Fame career make. So let’s wait before we make too many rash judgments. It’s just one game. (All together now, for therapy’s sake: it’s just one game, it’s just one game, it’s just one game.)
By the way, that goal by Deshorn Brown in extra time was awfully pretty. Hopefully, the lid is off the jar for him. We need more of that. Yesterday.
I promised myself 24 hours before I write about this game. Tomorrow will look much better because, in all honesty, it’s just one game. In fact, today looks better given that New England trounced Seattle 5-0.
A good leader always asks, "OK, what did I learn from this, and how can I address the issue?"
What were your thoughts on the game? I’ve seen some discussion boards, and the words ‘embarrassment’ were prolific. What word would you choose? Do you maintain confidence in Pablo (count us among that number) or are you starting to wonder?
Mainly, what do we need to do to get three points from RSL?
Lord willing, I’ll be there on the 24th against the Impact—who are also struggling. But like Chivas, they could be a trap for us as well. But good, bad, or ugly, they are our Rapids.
Let us know your thoughts. Tweet us at @rapidsxtra or leave a comment.
Another genius post from a Burgundy Wave reader! Remember that this was written by a fan, not an official Burgundy Wave writer, and the content of this post might not necessarily be an official opinion of this blog's management.