Another weekend, another gut wrenching loss. During the preseason, with the Pareja led Dallas coming to town at the end of the season, this was the match I circled on the schedule. Based on 2013 play, I was sure this game was going to have playoff implications. Unfortunately, the Rapids did not offer much of a fight and we were unable to beat Dallas, and Pareja, in all three tries this year. This has to be devastating to the organization. One has to wonder if Pareja were still at the helm whether 2014 would have been different? Back in September, most reports said Pablo would be given another chance in 2015 and as a fan it is almost painful listening to the excuses thrown his way. If I hear about his self-confidence and his positive attitude one more time I will just shake my head and say we've lost 13 straight matches. Maybe the Rapids should have brought in an experienced manager and let Pablo learn the ropes of managing in an assistant role before taking over the team. I'm sure Pablo, as a player, has fought through disappointing play but the challenges of a player fighting though disappointment versus being the leader is two separate challenges. It is unfortunate that the Rapids Organization has set Pablo up for failure. And finally, about the final home match, there was a certain banner flown high overhead, expressing frustration at the ownership and management of our club. For shock value it was impressive but what exactly was the point and how constructive is flying a banner over a stadium really going to help change the direction of the club?
For good or bad, the Rapids ownership is what it is. KSE is an owner that is easy to hate. As a conglomerate, they own pretty much every sports team in Denver (except for the Rockies and Broncos). One has to wonder how much interest a sideshow like the Rapids really means to KSE, especially when the team, for the last few years, has been a money loser. As fans I think we lose sight of the money involved in running these teams. We struggle to balance our checkbook week to week and yet we like to think there is unlimited finances for sport team owners. As idealistic as it is to think the reason for owning these teams is to win, frankly, and I hate to say it, this is a business. As fans we can express our displeasure by not providing our support of the team. However, if ownership doesn't make an effort in the product on the field then we, like Chivas, will be suspended and we won't have a team to support at all.
To lump in Hinchey with the message to me is unfair (although my support is slowly disintegrating). He has done nothing but good things since coming on board. Sure there has been growing pains, but Rapids soccer is not at the center of the Denver sports world. In a town where it is Bronco news 24/7, 365 days a year it is tough to find a voice. It has been slow going, but the Rapids are getting a voice, albeit small, in town. These last 13 games have certainly set things back but consistency from players, to coaches, to management has to be there. Hard to believe how the strides the organization has made could be considered as "ruining" the club.
Just as I try to continue my support of Hinchey, news comes out about the firing of Rapids MLS reporter, Chris Bianchi, due to disagreements regarding coverage of the team. Perhaps then the banner has a point? Running a team in the world of social media isn't easy. Maintaining a message can be challenging and perhaps we as fans really don't want to see how the sausage is made. I am sure the pressures are there and the business of running a soccer club is not made of nice guys. However, to slam a beat writer, who has been more than fair considering the current 13 straight losses, might suggest that as much as Hinchey has done for the club his people skills are such that he has dragged the team down? Would Pareja still be here or did Hinchey have a hissy fit with him too? Also, can anyone answer for me, Hinchey's flip flopping support of the Supporter's Group? The one group you want to back and yet from an outsider looking in it seems he has repeatedly thrown the group under the bus in regards to Terrace and other issues.
Ultimately, managing a team is a balancing act. With the team's late season collapse one can duck and cover or one can step up and take the arrows. Leadership is about managing expectations and understanding that criticism means someone cares. Obvious we as fans care and have passion for our Burgundy Boys, so Hinchey, the ball is in your court and before you get defensive, imagine if no one cared?