Welp, injuries are hitting hard at home here, which means it's probably high time we pulled out the ol' Scott Palguta Memorial Depth Meter again. For the uninitiated:
The Scott Palguta Memorial Depth Meter measures the amount of depth available on the team before we start to see horribly below average replacement players like Scott Palguta making the team. A Palguta Level of 1 is ideal, while a level 4 means we've hit peak Palguta!
Before we get the actual Depth Meter kicked off, let's take stock of the ridiculous number of injuries to starting-caliber players that the Rapids are facing right now. Here's the guys who will be missing the game against the Portland Timbers -- Drew Moor is excluded because he merely punched someone in the face to force missed time:
* Martin Rivero
* Jaime Castrillon
* Diego Calderon
* Matt Pickens
* Pablo Mastroeni
(* Also, possibly Edson Buddle but we're not sure.)
Six injuries may seem like a trifle, but those are all guys who, if Oscar Pareja was given the choice, would probably be in the preferred Starting XI. (Maybe not Pickens with the sudden emergence of Clint 'Stonewall' Irwin, but whatever.) I said before the season that we had some pretty solid depth, let's see how we're holding up.
Anyway, on to the actual meat of this:
I don't know, forward really doesn't have me worried. Prior to the season, I said that the biggest thing that would hold the team's attack back is chemistry and youthful issues like bad finishing. Lo and behold, we've gotten some solid stuff from Deshorn Brown and Kevin Harbottle, peppered with bad finishing, wonky chemistry and some poor decision making between the guys. Tony Cascio has stepped in several times to good effect, Atiba Harris has at least a WAR of 1 (SABR for the win!) and we haven't even had to touch Danny Mwanga yet, so that bodes well.
I'll give it a two for now simply because someone needs to figure out what they're doing before the depth actually counts fully.
PALGUTA LEVEL - 2
If Rivero, Mastroeni and Castrillon were all healthy, they would all be fighting for a starting spot. We've still got a dearth of options in the holding midfield position, but the linking man and the No. 10 spot are both being held down mostly by Dillon Powers, a so-far inconsistant rookie. That's a bad thing. Having seemingly nobody who can take over Rivero's spot effectively (stop giving Harbottle minutes at CAM, Pareja!) isn't helping matters. I'd argue that Pablo and Martin are the two most influential players on the pitch and both are out. That's always gonna be bad news regardless of however many guys you have to stick in.
PALGUTA LEVEL - 3
With Diego Calderon being knocked out, we might as well be right where we were last year -- a bunch of unproven guys with a bit of a shuffle everywhere else. Of course, the wingback play has gotten better because of the player swaps that were made, but it's still not looking good. Fortunately, I'm not counting Drew Moor out right now because he's technically not an injury and every single defender on the list right now is better than Palguta, so I'll still give them a two. We're one injury away from making it a three, but I don't have a 2.5 Palugta heads picture.
PALGUTA LEVEL - 2
I usually don't do one of these for goalie because, well, come on, but Clint Irwin has played so good that I feel the need to mention him for what will be the second of three accolades in this post. You go, man!
PALGUTA LEVEL - 0 because Clint Irwin is clownshoes in the best way
(Insert single Palguta head photoshopped to look nearly invisible here.)