The Colorado Rapids have a bit of an injury problem. And by saying it's a 'bit' of an injury problem, I'm making an understatement to the point of saying that the Colorado Rockies have a 'bit' of a choking problem late in games right now. Unfortunately, the Rapids injury woes seem to get worse every single game, with the injuries piling up faster than the already injured players can come back to the team. Obviously Brian Mullan's ten game suspension doesn't really count, but for the purposes of this he might as well be injured.
Here's a fun thing to show just how slaughtered the Rapids depth is right now. Take a look at the ideal starting XI with everyone playing their best position, the same starting XI that won the MLS Cup last season and started the opening game against the Portland Timbers:
Matt Pickens; Anthony Wallace, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Kosuke Kimura; Jamie Smith, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Brian Mullan; Omar Cummings, Conor Casey
Out of that top group of players, a grand total of four of them were starting in the recent game against the New England Revolution. Matt Pickens in goal, Drew Moor at center back, and the two holders in the middle Mastroeni and Larentowicz. That's seven players that were either out of position to fill holes or are just straight up depth players being forced into starts. Two of the players - Kosuke Kimura and Marvell Wynne - were in the lineup but were playing non-natural positions with Wynne playing right back for the first time in what seems like forever, and Kimura being stuck in at right midfield, a position I think he's played for a grand total of 10 minutes in his career. Those ten minutes came last game against the Houston Dynamo, but still. The other five - Scott Palguta, Tyrone Marshall, Wells Thompson, Caleb Folan and Quincy Amarikwa - were obvious depth players being stuck into starting roles.
The striker situation is the most dire on the team by far, with literally all but two strikers out of the six that the Rapids have on their roster being injured by the time the Revs game was over after Caleb Folan stumbled out with a groin injury. Missing Conor Casey and Omar Cummings is taking its toll on the offensive potency of this squad, and losing just about everyone else on the depth chart isn't helping either. The only striker that hasn't been injured in some way yet is Andre Akpan, the guy who came into the year dead last on the striker depth chart. It's gotten so bad that Ross LaBeaux, a backup defensive midfielder, was playing striker for the Rapids at the end of that game yesterday. That's not a happy situation to be in. Elsewhere, injuries to other back-ups like Sanna Nyassi are just killing this team's depth, which looked surprisingly strong before this injury bug swallowed the team whole.
The injury problems should start getting better soon since the Rapids finally have a week of rest after playing three games in seven days. Conor Casey at the very least is almost guaranteed to be back for the DC United game after training since before Houston and New England, and he will be a much needed boost to the offense. Anthony Wallace has missed the last couple of games while sitting on the bench and will probably get the start against United as well. With some other injuries being little more than just guys carrying knocks like Jamie Smith and Marvell Wynne's recent injury, it's looking up... as long as we don't continue losing a player per game like we have the past few weeks. If so, we might want to start investing in Davy Armstrong a little bit more because his first MLS start will be coming frighteningly fast.