After many games of trial and error (mostly error in that trial) the heavily defensive oriented formation that is the 4-2-3-1 may have seen its last game in Colorado. The Rapids started the year playing in a 4-3-3 with Brian Mullan playing as a right winger rather than as his natural position of a right midfielder. Throughout the year we constantly saw Mullan play out of position, and he is not the only player to have played out of position for some time this year. Jaime Castrillion has played out of position all year. Jaime has normally played the #10 (Center Attacking Midfield) role, but with Martin Rivero in town Jaime has been relegated to left midfield.
At some point this season (I don't remember the exact date) Oscar Pareja switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation. This formation failed in almost every conceivable way. It ended up being basically 6 defensive and 4 offensive players. The biggest weakness that this formation brought about was the lack of a finisher on this team. This lack of a finisher was brought to the forefront because of the single striker that played in that formation.
It was somewhat understandable for Pareja to try something new like this since he had to deal with a variety of injuries during the majority of the season. Now however, with the team healthy for the most part (and some players finally buying into Pareja's strategy), is the perfect time to try out the 4-4-2 again; which is exactly what the Rapids have done for the last two games.
In the last two games the team has looked more in sync with each other as a whole. Conor Casey and Omar Cummings have started to get the 2010 look back, Castrillion is looking more comfortable in the wing midfield role as well. And while the defense is still a revolving door the stability and quality that Hendry Thomas has brought to the midfield has been a huge bonus as well.
This season has been a rollercoaster if there ever was one. Hopefully though with an offseason of work together and lessons learned from this season hopefully next year will be a different result. What are you looking forward to next year?