With only five days remaining until first kick, Burgundy Wave is going to do a countdown of the ten most important things to watch on the Colorado Rapids in 2012 if they want to get themselves a run at their second MLS Cup. .
This breaks a bit from the formula of these so far, which seems to be mostly 'thing that the 2010 team did well and the 2011 team screwed up royally'. Finishing has been a problem pretty much every year, but has been getting some special talking about during the preseason. Remember, the only reason that the Rapids did so well in 2010 was not because everyone was putting in goals on a regular basis, but because two guys had great years while the defense got shored up.
Now after last season, you might assume that shooting would be the problem, since everyone seemed afraid to shoot last season which was a big issue. However the preseason seems to have put a new spin on things, because shots are finally flying... but perhaps not going in at the rate we were hoping for.
Other than Tony Cascio of all people, the Rapids seem to be having a bit of trouble getting the ball into the back of the net despite peppering it with shots so far in 2012's preseason. Part of that is probably because the team is still getting used to the new system of play, but part of it is just plain old bad finishing.
Gone are Sanna Nyassi and Caleb Folan, so some of the bad finishing has been mitigated from last season, and the service is going to be much better from Martin Rivero and Jaime Castrillon than it was last year from Nyassi and Wells Thompson. When Jamie Smith comes back - assuming he can get back to the level of play he was showing us last season - he'll help out quite a bit as well in that regard. The service and the fact that the team just had a chronic case of miss-itis last year is the reason nobody finished with over 7 goals - and of course, the guy who had 7 goals got them all off direct free kicks.
We can't rely on Tony Cascio and his surprisingly good showings in the preseason to get the Rapids their goals this year. Everyone needs to boost themselves up from last year and not only shoot more often, but put it in. A defensive midfielder can't be the leader of the team in goals.