Scoring is fundamental in any sport and it goes without saying that without putting the ball in the back of the net you are not going to have too much success. This is especially true for the Colorado Rapids in 2014. Due to their defensive struggles, they would need to outscore opponents to try and capture a result. How did this team rank offensively in 2014 compared to other years (in the Dick's Sporting Goods Park Era):
GP: Games Played, GF: Goals For, GPG: Goals Per Game, W: Wins, L: Losses, T: Ties
When looking at the overall goals scored and goals per game, the Rapids are incredibly consistent in their ability to put the ball in the net. Now it could be argued (successfully) that this was the lowest goal scoring total since 2009, but it was still on to the defense giving up 62 goals. When you are a club that has averaged 42 goals a season in the DSGP era, it was going to be a road too far for the Rapids. If your defense is that porous, you will either need to fix the defense or get a few goal scorers in there.
So that leads us into our look at the forwards for the Rapids. Below are their numbers for the year, and always, remember that these are the recognized forwards by the club:
GP: Games Played, GS: Games Started, MN: Minutes Played, G: Goals, A: Assists, ST: Shots, SOG: Shots On Goal
Deshorn Brown At Times 4, Other Times 7
Brown was the absolutely most difficult player to rate. He had flashes and brilliance and could absolutely shred a defense and then miss such easy shots that a good wind could have come up and put the ball in. I truly do like Brown on this team, but like many of the forwards listed here I worry that he has been mis-managed this year by the coaching staff in that he often was placed as a lone striker or moved around so much that he never got a foothold in a position.
Top Moment: That Golden Boot
Brown again led the Rapids in scoring in 2014 putting 10 goals in the back of the net. This equaled his total from 2013 when he was runner up for Rookie of the Year in Major League Soccer. When Brown was on he could beat any goalkeeper in the league.
Not So Top Moment: Missing Sitters
For as many goals as Brown had, he missed a number of chances that he should have buried and did alter how games went. Now I will not say that Brown missing a goal was the reason the Rapids lost a match, but scoring more goals than the opposition....
Gabriel Torres 6
Torres is another toughie for me to rate. He certainly had an up and down year for the Burgundy Boys, but I attribute that to two things: he appeared to be out of shape this year, and getting consistent playing time.
Top Moment: The Goal Against San Jose
The Torres that we had all wanted showed itself in the final San Jose match in 2014. A simply delicious goal from a difficult gave the Rapids a (albeit short one) lead and gave the Rapids hope that this might be the Torres we see in 2015.
Not So Top Moment: Lineup Changes And Will He Be Back?
Was Torres mismanaged in 2014? In my opinion, yes. Strikers need time to play and get into form, and it appeared that the coaching staff was unsure where to play him in relation to the other recognized strikers on the team. Torres did struggle (as did most of the strikers) with poor service from the midfield and this hampered his goal scoring numbers. He played half as much as Brown did but did look better in the final third of the season.
Will Torres be back? Lest we forget this tweet and article from Chris Bianchi:
Why isn’t Gaby Torres playing, and could he force his way out of Colorado? Answers here: http://t.co/dvtHlIZYmV— Chris Bianchi (@Rapids_News) August 27, 2014
Whether he returns in 2015 or not will be a major off-season story in Commerce City.
Edson Buddle 5
Buddle returned for his second season in Burgundy and battled through injuries, inconsistent playing time and the pressure of getting his 100th MLS goal.
Top Moment: Getting The 100th
It took a long time to grab The 100th, but it seemed to be a great relief for him when it happened. The hope was that after that dam was broken that he would go on a grab a few more, but alas he finished the year with 2 goals.
Not So Top Moment: Disinterested
It never seemed that Buddle wanted to be in Colorado and for what he is being paid, he should be one of the leading scorers on this team, not tied for 7th.
Vicente Sanchez 6
Sanchez was the second leading scorer on this team with 6 goals and his creativity and ball movement was a joy to see anytime he was out on the pitch. He always seemed to give his all for the team and looked to be a leader on and off the pitch.
Top Moment: A Creative Spark
Simply put, the Rapids were better when he was in the lineup. End of Story.
Not So Top Moment: Missed Games
Although the Rapids were better when Sanchez was in the lineup, he missed half of their games and started on 12 times. His age may be a factor here, but it was more difficult on the team when he was out of the lineup.
Kamani Hill 5.5
Hill showed some absolute flashes of brilliance at times and had some highlight reel goals for the Burgundy Boys. He made 11 starts for the team which the most he has played since coming to Commerce City. Hill appeared to be more comfortable in Pablo Mastroeni led system versus under Oscar Pareja.
Top Moment: Seriously, a back heel?
The goal against Houston was simply AMAZING. Hill has that quality and can provide goals like that at almost any moment.
Not So Top Moment: Disappearing
Hill was much better in 2014, but he seemed to disappear at times in games and struggled with playing defense from time to time. I would not mind seeing him back in 2015, but I am not sure if he is going to be in the plans of the team.
Charles Eloundou 5
The enigma that is Eloundou finally made his first appearance with the Rapids and it was quite clear why the Rapids front office were so high on this kid.
Top Moment: He Has Skills
Eloundou showed speed, ball handling skills, tenacity and passion when he was on the field and I am so very excited to see what he brings in 2015.
Not So Top Moment: He Is Young And Raw
Although he showed flashes of brilliance he really was a young and very raw player. Another year under his belt will do wonders for him and a lot of the tendencies from 2014 will change as he matures.
Danny Mwanga 3
Sigh. What to think or say about Mwanga? He came into MLS with such promise but ultimately has fizzled out to the point that he was loaned out to an NASL side. Perhaps the playing time will help him as he needs to find his form, but I just cannot see him back in Colorado in 2015.
Top Moment: Not Much
He only played 214 minutes, so there you go.
Not So Top Moment: Not That Good
Mwanga was not good for the Rapids and all it cost the team was a first round draft choice.