It's finally "Sophomore" year: I think it's safe to say Shane O'Neill and Chris Klute have entered their sophomore slumps. Klute hasn't played out-and-out bad this season, but he's been a shade of the marauding fullback stalwart he was last season. He was benched for Saturday's game versus the Union with Marc Burch taking his place. O'Neill did play, however, and was at fault for the first two goals. Jared Watts will justifiably shoulder the blame for the third goal, but watch as the Rapids defender who should be following the run of Andrew Wenger slowly drifts away, allowing a wide open chance at goal for the new Union man. (SPOILER ALERT: It's Shane O'Neill.)
Don't get me wrong; I fully expect both to shake off their recent slumps. They're simply too good not to, and, frankly, I don't believe their replacements are significant upgrades. If the Rapids want another fruitful end to the summer they need to get our two World Cup 2018 backline-hopefuls on track again.
Despite defensive woes, that was a gutsy draw: I wrote last week about the consistently inconsistent play of the Rapids, particularly at home. This week they were inconsistent again, but in a good way. Colorado had only scored more than one goal in an away game twice this season, and never more than two. They scored three at PPL Park. It is true that if not for the red card issued to Michael Lahoud in the 79th minute, the Rapids would probably not have scored those goals. But, as the saying goes, "good teams find ways to get results, even when they're bad." That's exactly what the Rapids did. They found a way to get a point when, in all honesty, they should have lost 3-1. They were granted an opportunity to get back in the game and they grabbed it by the throat. I should say that is very admirable indeed.
We NEED central midfield depth: For the second week running, Jared Watts has made a gaffe that's resulted in a goal for the opposition. Look, I love the kid. I think he's got incredible talent for his age, but I don't think he's the type of rookie who can get as many minutes as he has this season and consistently play at a high level. Dillon Powers and Deshorn Brown had that ability last year. I just don't think Watts is at that level. He will be, but not yet.
At this point, however, the Rapid have no choice but to play Watts. They have three central (not attacking) midfielders on the entire roster. Two need to start and one is injured. It's an area that desperately needs depth. We've already thrown one name out as someone the Rapids should sign. I'd like to throw out another: Andy Rose.
No, he's not a flashy signing and he certainly wouldn't be a Designated Player, but he fits in perfectly with what the Rapids are building. He's young (24) but still has considerable experience for his age (2144 league minutes). On the ball he's confident and strong with a sharp passing ability, and off of it he has the tactical awareness to pick and choose his runs. Best of all, he's only seen action in four games this season for the Seattle Sounders as other players have moved in front of him on the depth chart. Now would be the perfect time for a club to swoop in and grab him at a very decent price. Tim, Paul? Make this happen!
If you want to learn more about Rose, check out the 24 Under 24 article about him HERE.