The Rapids lost their fourth straight game this past Sunday in a 4-2 battering at RFK Stadium to DC United. The pain wasn't just losing another game, or watching another three points turn to ash, it was the pain of watching defensive breakdowns again and again and again... and again.
After allowing 11 goals in the past four games, much attention has now been focused on the Rapids' defensive depth. Shane O'neill has been out for weeks with an undisclosed knee injury, and Drew Moor left Sunday's game with a knee injury of his own. That left rookie midfielder Jared Watts to take his place.
The truly baffling part in all of this is that the Rapids were kean on improving their defensive depth earlier in the season. In fact, when including Marc Burch and Grant Van De Casteele, the Rapids signed a total of five new defenders this season. Five. That's an entire backline and then some. However, two of those signings haven't seen a single minute of action this season, while the others have had less than peachy starts in burgundy.
Fans will be pondering why many of these moves were made if Pablo & Co. have no intention of using them. The acquisition of Gale Agbossoumonde is particularly puzzling. Rapids sent tremendous attacking talent, Marvin Chavez (after playing only 39 minutes for Colorado), to Chivas in return for the former US Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year. Despite being young, Agbossoumonde played over 1000 minutes for Toronto FC in 2013. Yet, to this point the Rapids have not deemed him useful enough to put on the pitch.
So what happened? Were these signings specifically moves for future seasons? Did the players not turn out to be as good as the Front Office hoped? And what about the guys who have gotten minutes? Burch shows some really decent attacking abilities on the wing, but his lapses in defense have repeatedly proved costly. The same could be said about Piermayr. And Neeskens has only seen the field for 68 minutes (NOTE: almost double the time Chavez saw before being scrapped).
The fact that the Rapids even have a perceived lack of defensive depth has to be seen as a major misstep by the FO. Picking up five additional defensive pieces throughout the season and playing a rookie midfielder ahead of all but one of them doesn't look good no matter how you spin it. The real gauge of success on these signings will be how many of them carry over onto next year's roster. Even then, unless they make a positive impact on the 2015 season, the signings that made up almost half of the new players for 2014 will be seen as a horrendous failure.
We might yet see Agbossoumonde and Van De Casteele this season, though, if the Rapids continue to leak goals and/or lose defenders to injury. With only ten games left and nowhere to go but up, why not?
What do you think of the Rapids defensive situation? Should new blood be given a chance? Voice your thoughts in the comments section below.