Colorado Rapids were treated to an off week to start the 2014 Major League Soccer season thanks to CONCACAF Champions League action for San Jose Earthquakes. Although there was not a game this week it certainly did not mean that the Rapids were quiet. From a new Head Coach to an intra-squad scrimmage, there is much to talk about leading into the season opener in New Jersey this Saturday.
Here is The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, Colorado Rapids Round 1
The Good—The Rapids (Finally) Have A Coach
The long and tiresome saga of name a head coach finally came to an end this weekend as the Rapids officially named Pablo Mastroeni coach. It was fairly anticlimactic all told as the tea leaves had been pointing to the naming of Mastroeni for some time. There can be discussion back and forth as to why it took so long or the Rapids front office missteps, but regardless, the deal is done and Pablo is the man. Time will tell whether this was the right or wrong move for the Rapids, but they do have a coach is committed to the club and the Denver area. He will want to be here and the Rapids do not have the fear that he will take off for greener pastures. Pablo literally bleeds burgundy.
The Bad—Selection Headaches!
The Rapids held and intra-squad scrimmage at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday and the depth that the Rapids have was on full display. There were good performances my many players and will leave Pablo with a selection headache leading into the game against New York Red Bulls this weekend. For my money, this would be my starting XI (based on a 4-2-3-1 formation and that everyone is healthy):
Deshorn Brown - Dillon Powers - Gabriel Torres
Nick Labrocca - Jose Mari
Chris Klute - Drew Moor - Marvell Wynne - Nathan Sturgis
BENCH: Dillon Serna, Vicente Sanchez, Charles Eloundou, Shane O’Neill, Kamani Hill, Marc Burch, Joe Berner
The Ugly—The Schedule Is Brutal
MLS Schedule makers did not do the Rapids any favors to start the year and it is going to put a lot of pressure on the young team. After the trip to the defending Supporters Shield winners (NYRB) the Rapids open their home season against the team who finished first in the Western Conference (Portland Timbers) and then taking on defending MLS Cup Champions, Sporting Kansas City. OUCH. Leadership will be critical to get the season off on the right foot, but the Rapids have the quality to get it done.
There was a lot of happiness in Denver this past weekend. From the season kicking off, to Pablo officially being named Gaffer to a scrimmage opened to the public, much excitement in the air. How will the Rapids do this year? It is going to be a tough ride for them in the ultra competitive Western Conference, but as they proved last year, anything is possible.