One thing about these Rapids--nothing they do is easy.
The Burgundy Boys traveled to Sandy, Utah this past weekend and dropped a 2-1 decision to arch-rival Real Salt Lake which featured the Rapids sleep walking through the better part of the match. It was also reported that Gabriel Torres was being shut down for a few weeks to work on "conditioning." (This, of course, did not prevent him from getting called up to the Panamanian National Team). Certainly not the easiest of weeks for the Rapids, but there is good news on the horizon--three consecutive games at home and all are winnable.
Three Observations about Colorado Rapids, Round 12
1) A Complete 90--I am not sure that the Rapids would consider their game against RSL a complete game. They started flat, conceded two goals (albeit a soft PK) and they still were not really into it. It appeared that they were not really interested in playing until the last quarter of the RSL match. Why is this? Why were they not prepared? Is it coaching? Is it preparation? I honestly do not know, but it is very concerning. The last two games were poor (although RSL was better) but both had the characteristic of the team not playing for 90 minutes. (You could argue that the SKC game in March was the same thing). If the Rapids are interested in contending for trophies, let alone a playoff spot, this will need to change. They don't have the offensive fire-power to consistently comeback in games and a 1-0 deficit could be enough for them to not get a victory.
2) Pick A Starting XI--this has been a topic of conversation for many Rapids supporters. I am behind squad rotation as a concept, but pick a starting XI and stick with it. I know that there are injuries and suspensions that happen, but it seems to be a case of musical chairs out there. It would seem that certain players have established themselves as starters and they should not be benched, save for injury or suspension. Some of the decisions are mind boggling (such as Marvell Wynne starting over Shane O'Neill), but I have to hope that Pablo Mastroeni is trying to see what he truly has and gets this settled as the World Cup break is getting closer.
3) The Curious Case of Gabriel Torres--word trickled out this week that Torres was being shut down for "significant muscle damage" as a result of his play early in the year. I am certainly not a doctor and I have no idea about the training that he has been doing, but this seems odd to me. Was he injured when he returned to Colorado for the off-season? Did something happen in Colorado during the pre-season and early season? I truly have no idea but it just seems off to me. At least the "injury" explains his lack of production, but it seems suspect that he can't play for the Rapids but is called up to his National Team.
The Rapids are (approximately) a third of the way through the season and I would argue that things have gone better then most people would have thought. For as bad as their form has been (they are 1-3-2 in their last six) they are five points clear of sixth place and have three in a row at home. But for them to be successful, Mastroeni needs to pick a Starting XI, get the lads to play a complete 90, and take 9 points out of this home stand. Anything less would be a disappointment.