A momentous week greeted the Colorado Rapids organization and its supporters--for the first time in the clubs history, a jersey sponsor graced the front of their uniforms. This is no small thing for an organization that takes its fair share of lumps from the media and other fans in MLS. Oh, and there was that matter of putting together a very good performance against Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night and coming away with full points. However, not all the news was good this week for the Rapids...
Here is The Good, The Good (part two), The Ugly--Colorado Rapids, Round 9
The Good--A Jersey Sponsor
Regardless of the result against Los Angeles, this was a successful and franchise changing week for the Rapids. The jersey sponsor is a bit of a foreign concept for the four "traditional" major sports in the United States. The idea of seeing "Samsung" or "Etihad" on a jersey is not something you would see on say, a Denver Broncos jersey or a Colorado Avalanche sweater. It just does not happen here.
But in soccer, it is completely different. When I sit and watch soccer, whether it is MLS or the English Premier League, I see the jerseys sponsors and start to relate the two together. When I see a Portland match, I relate the Timbers to Alaska Airlines. When I watch a Chelsea match, I connect Samsung and the Blues together. You associate sponsors and teams, and yes, you are more likely to use their products (especially if you are a supporter of a particular club).
For the Rapids to have gone their entire existence without having a jersey sponsor is certainly shocking, but that shock has been replaced with growing optimism for the future of our club. Wins and losses are important, but from where this club was despite winning an MLS Cup to where it is now is beyond words. Our first designated player was signed, incredible your players grace this roster and now we have a kit sponsor? These are moves that are designed to win now, but more importantly secure the foundation of this organization such that it will be competitive for not just the final spot in the playoffs, but for trophies.
The Good (Part Two)--A Victory When It Was Needed Most
So what do you know, the Rapids did not collapse into the abyss after the shellacking that the Sounders laid on them last weekend. The Burgundy Boys came back with a professional performance once again led by their defense. Drew Moor, Marc Burch, Marvell Wynne, Chris Klute and of course Clint Irwin were all excellent against the Galaxy. The Galaxy can complain all they want about "they should not lose games like this" but at the end of the day, they had their chances and could not convert. The Rapids should be pleased with their performance and take confidence with them going into their rematch with San Jose on Wednesday.
The Ugly--The Sanchez Injury
There is no such thing as a timely injury and losing Sanchez is a tough blow. He will be out 4-6 weeks with a knee sprain that by my guesstimation means he would not be back until the beginning of the World Cup Break. This certainly is a blow for the Rapids, but it is not the end of the world. However, it is critical that the guys that are paid to score goals, start doing so. But also, players like Dillon Serna and Dillon Powers need to bring a creative flair to the pitch and aid their strikers in getting looks on goal.
A jersey sponsor, an important three points and losing a key veteran all add up to a busy week for the lads from Commerce City. But renewed optimism and a solid performance give the Rapids confidence as they take on San Jose Earthquakes and Chivas USA this week. Is six points possible? With this club, I certainly think it can be.