Optimism was high for Colorado Rapids as they took the pitch against Chivas USA this past Sunday after a hard fought tie in San Jose the previous Wednesday. However, that all came crashing down in the snow and ice as the Burgundy Boys were run out of Dick's Sporting Goods Park by Chivas USA. There was not a whole lot of good to speak about, but you have to hope this loss kicks the team in the rear gets them going in their final four matches before the World Cup Break.
Here is The Good, The Bad, The Ugly--Colorado Rapids, Round 11
The Good--A Wakeup Call Finally?
It has been discussed in many venues and forums about the squad rotation tactics of Pablo Mastroeni and his thoughts on having "30 starters" on his team. I think it is a grand idea, in principle, to rotate the squad so that every player is ready to go if their name is called. And yes, there is no substitute for in-game action to get you prepared for MLS. But this is getting a bit ridiculous. The Rapids were defeated, soundly, at home by Chivas USA. Let me say that again, the Rapids were defeated soundly by Chivas USA. It was a pathetic display and you have to wonder if the squad rotation idea is wearing a bit thin. For me, you start your Best XI week in, and week out, baring injury or suspension. You have guys (such as Gabriel Torres) who are struggling to get into a rhythm because they are not getting regular minutes. This falls on the coach and you hope that the performance on Sunday was that wakeup call. For me, the following guys are must starts every week (assuming health and suspension status):
GK: Clint Irwin
DEF: Drew Moor, Chris Klute, Shane O'Neill
MID: Dillon Powers, Vicente Sanchez
F: Gabriel Torres (hey, we are paying him big bucks, start the man)
The Bad--Seriously, you lost to Chivas?
There will never be any excuse that you can give me that will make me accept a loss to Chivas USA at home. I don't care how cold it was (and it was damn cold in section 105) or how much snow there was or the win. It doesn't matter as the Rapids are a professional team and should be able to put in a professional performance regardless of who is out there. That did not happen on Saturday.
The Ugly--Our Rival Awaits
The Rapids really had a chance for a six point week, but came away with only one. While our greatest rival awaits us after starting the season without a loss. Real Salt Lake is a good team who is on a run and don't think they have forgotten about losing the Rocky Mountain Cup for the first time in, well, forever. The Rapids had a chance to go into that match with loads of momentum and instead go into Salt Lake licking their wounds and needing to find that something special to get back to their winning ways.
I have always believed that losses teach you more than victories and I hope that this is accurate with the Rapids going to SLC this weekend. If the Rapids learn that they can't take anyone for granted, put in a solid and professional 90 minutes, and start their Best XI, they can get a result this weekend. At this point, it is a very important match with a three game homestand on the horizon.