There were a number of problems with the Colorado Rapids in 2014, but the problems along the Rapids back line is what really stands out. The Rapids gave up 62 goals over 34 games (1.82 per game) which was the worst mark in Major League Soccer, and was 22 goals more than the fifth place team in the Western Conference.
Obviously, it was not good enough. But were there any positives? Any bright spots that we can look at and grab onto as we head into 2015?
Below are the stats for the recognized defenders on this team. NOTE: this is based on how the Rapids label their players by position. Thus players like Jared Watts and Davy Armstrong are listed as midfielders and will be covered in that article.
|Grant Van De Casteele||1||0||29||0||0||0||0|
GP: Games Played, GS: Games Started, MP: Minutes Played, G: Goals, A: Assists, SHT: Shots, SOG: Shots on Goal
Marvell Wynne 4.5
Wynne had a rough year but I do not believe it is all his fault. He was shifted from right back to center back seemingly with zero regard to where he was best positioned and did not complain with all of the moves. He led the defense in games played, started and minutes, but his maddening lack of consistency truly harmed his play this year.
Top Moment: His Flexibility
Wynne was a professional this year and did his best to never complain about the endless moves from the outside to inside and I believe he did the best he could.
Not So Top Moment: The Home Seattle Match
That being said, Wynne had a difficult year. There were many games that he looked out matched and he seemed to lose a step this year. However, the match that stands out for me is the home match against Seattle. He was outclassed and outplayed for the 45 minutes he played including committed a handball in the box that led to the first Seattle goal.
Chris Klute 5.5
Klute was one of a number of young Rapids that seemed to regress this year. In 2013 he was a legitimate contender for MLS Best XI but this year his play led him to being benched from time to time. He dealt with some injury problems this year which may have contributed to his play, and he was rotated from left to right back throughout the season. Was it a change in coaching? Was it a sophomore slump? Unknown, but it is clear that 2015 will be a big season for Klute.
Top Moment: September 27 against San Jose
In 2013 Klute was incredibly dangerous moving the ball up the pitch and getting involved in the offense, but this was sorely lacking in 2014. But he made a gorgeous run up the field in the San Jose match that led to a Gabriel Torres goal. It reminded me of last year and the excitement that Klute brought.
Not So Top Moment: Looking Lost
At times this year, and especially during the 14 game winless run, Klute looked lost and out of sorts. Again, I am not sure if this was from all of the change going on the pitch or a sophomore slump, but he truly did not look good at times and looked lost on the pitch.
Drew Moor 5.5
Captain Colorado does not have a complete body of work this year as he missed the final 10 3/4 games due to injury but there is enough to say that this was not Moor's best year. Not so much with his overall play, which was generally solid, but from some of the leadership qualities on the pitch. When the team was struggling, he needed to be a leader on and off the pitch, and I am not sure he was able to do that. The winless run started when he was still healthy, and he needs to shoulder some of the blame
Top Moment: The Goal For The Captain
On the night when the original Captain Colorado entered the Gallery of Honor, Moor was able to grab a goal in a 3-0 win over Chivas USA (which was the last win of the year). It was a great night seeing the current Captain score a goal on such an important night for the last Captain.
Not So Top Moment: Losing The Rocky Mountain Cup
I know that the Cup means something to current players, including Moor, but to completely leg an egg against our arch rival in a match that meant something was just terrible. Moor and Company looked unprepared to play RSL, and it showed in a 1-0 loss that gave the cup back to our neighbors to the West. I look squarely at Moor and his leadership and question whether he had his team ready for that game.
Marc Burch 5.5
Burch was a new addition to the Rapids this year coming over in one of the many drafts that MLS conducts in the off-season and played a much larger role in the defense than expected. I imagined him a super sub with Moor, O'Neill, Wynne and Klute as starters. But as the injury bug and poor play plagued the team, Burch ended up playing the fourth most minutes on the back line.
Top Moment: That Blast Against Los Angeles
I did not see that goal coming. The goal in the first half against the Galaxy in August was pure class and something that no one saw coming. It was all for nought as the team squandered two two goal leads in the match, but the goal from Burch was a stunning strike.
Not So Top Moment: That Los Angeles Game
For as great as the goal was for Burch, his defense was not great against the Galaxy in that same match. He was burned in the second half and simply has to do better. Losing two two goal leads should never happen, no matter the opponent.
Shane O'Neill 6
O'Neill had an interesting year. For the bulk of his time out there you never really noticed that he was on the pitch. He made the plays he needed to make and made the necessary stops as called upon. But where you really noticed O'Neill was when he was not there. (See below)
Top Moment: May 24 vs Montreal at Home
O'Neill opened his MLS account with an absolute ripper from distance and at that point in the season, the Rapids were firing on all cylinders. Excitement was high and supporters were sure this was a playoff team.
Not So Top Moment: Not The Same Team When He Got Hurt
In trying to pinpoint the moment it all went wrong, there were few things that really stood out. But losing O'Neill for 9 straight games over the summer was one of them. During his injury absence the Rapids went 1-8-0. They were out of the race by the time he got back and there was not much he could do.
Thomas Piermayr 5.5
Young and exciting, Piermayr featured in 14 matches this season and showed that although raw, he could contribute in this league and should be on the roster in 2015. He did make some of the mistakes you would expect from a younger player in MLS, but the future is bright with him.
Top Moment: A Sense Of Calm
When the Rapids were in complete disarray, Piermayr brought a sense of calm in the back and helped to try and steady the ship. It was ultimately not enough as the Rapids were going down hill in the second half of the season, but he did play adequately enough to bring back next year.
Not So Top Moment: That Thrashing At Stub Hub
Everyone was terrible that night in Carson, and Piermayr is no different. In a season of some pretty significant lows, this was the bottom of the barrel.
John Neeskens 6
The jury is still out on the young Neeskens, but in his few opportunities to play this year he did not look bad. He is listed as a defender by the Rapids, but can play in the midfield as well.
Top Moment: Opening That Account
Neeskens opened his account at Chivas USA and although the Rapids eventually lost that match, there was some great interplay with he and Charles Eloundou on the goal.
Not So Top Moment: Needing Playing Time
It is tough to see what Neeskens can truly bring as he only featured in five matches. He showed some skill and pace this year, but it is truly difficult to see whether he should be back in 2015. I think he has earned the right to be here, but I would love to see him get more time.
Zat Knight 2
A terrible signing by the Rapids would was inexplicably given the armband for three games (which diminishes its value when you give it to a guy who just got here). I believe he was meant as a stop gap to try and help stop the bleeding, but it was too little too late for Knight.
Top Moment: Nothing
Not So Top Moment: Everything
Getting burned time and time again and singularly responsible for two losses makes me say this: he does not deserve a contract in 2015.
Grant Van De Casteele N/A
Van De Casteele only featured for 29 minutes in one match and although it is something he would like to forget, I still think he can be a contributor for this team. He just needs minutes.
Brian Mullan N/A
Mullan did not make a first team appearance in his final MLS season as he battled injuries. All the best to #11 going forward.
Gale Agbossoumonde N/A
Agbossoumonde did not make an appearance for the Rapids first team this year which strikes me as odd as they traded for him this spring. And it is not as if the defense could have been any worse with him in there.