The Seattle Sounders 4-1 curbstomping of the Colorado Rapids blew some steam off the lenses through which the 2014 campaign was viewed.
It was agreed that the Rapids had a tough slate of opponents to open this season, and the team got plaudits for the way it weathered the storm.
But with the benefit of hindsight, we see that the New York Red Bulls are a shadow of the Supporters Shield team that did well the year before. The Portland Timbers similarly have struggled since their 2013 regular season form. Sporting Kansas City took a commanding victory home with them from Commerce City, which was a truer reflection of the Rapids side we've seen than the more positive results they've put forth.
When Colorado takes on solid teams, their weaknesses are exposed. The Rapids were the beneficiaries of misfiring offenses against teams like New York and Toronto FC. But the Sounders were on last weekend and made the Rapids pay on the defensive side.
And it revealed another, more obvious truth about this year's Rapids: Their offense so far has been unimaginative and impotent. It's rare that the Rapids can string together more than a couple of passes from the midfield to provide any meaningful service to their forwards.
Gabriel Torres has been slagged for his lack of production, but it seems he's bearing the brunt of having a Designated Player contract where expectations are only satisfied by goals. But has Torres been reasonably set up for success by the players behind him?
Colorado has been fortunate to cull results from difficult circumstances, but penalty kicks and long-range shots won't sustain this team much longer. Or any longer, if you look to the Seattle debacle as a guide. The last time the Rapids suffered a sputtering offense, it was the 2012 campaign. During Oscar Pareja's first season, the Rapids could control possession and set up several opportunities for shots on goal, but the team had nary a dependable option to actually put shots on frame.
The defense is decent but not reliable, and the offense has been deeply troubling to anyone willing to look past the team's record. The Rapids probably can't expect much more out of the defense, given the talent available. But if the kinetic energy of what should have been a stout offense remains dormant, it figured to be a long, long summer for the Boys in Burgundy.