In a word, yes. The Colorado Rapids still can make the playoffs. But in looking at their remaining matches, it is going to be tough. Here are the final 12 games and the form that each team is in (looking at their previous 7 matches):
|Team||Record Over Last Seven||PPG in Last Seven|
|@ FC Dallas||4-0-3||2.14|
|@ DC United||5-2-0||2.14|
|vs LA Galaxy||4-1-1||1.86|
|@ Seattle Sounders FC||4-3-0||1.71|
|@ LA Galaxy||4-1-1||1.86|
|vs Portland Timbers||2-3-2||1.14|
|@ Real Salt Lake||3-2-2||1.57|
|vs San Jose Earthquakes||2-4-1||1.00|
|vs Seattle Sounders FC||4-3-0||1.71|
|@ Chivas USA||4-3-0||1.71|
|vs FC Dallas||4-0-3||2.14|
|@ Vancouver Whitecaps FC||1-2-4||1.00|
Colorado Rapids have gone 2-3-2 in their last seven and are 1-3 in their last four. It is a poor run of form and to try and get back to their winning ways they are playing two of the hottest teams (FC Dallas and DC United) on the road in the next two weeks. And to add insult to injury, their next home game comes just a few days after playing DC United and they get LA Galaxy for their trouble. This is not a run that the Rapids want to be on.
So can the Rapids make the playoffs? It is going to be tough, but here is how I think they can do it. I believe that Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and (probably) FC Dallas are all playoff teams. That leaves the final spot to the Rapids, Vancouver Whitecaps, Chivas USA, Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes. The Rapids currently have 30 points and have 12 matches left (and 36 possible points) to pick up 20 more points which gives them 50. That will probably be enough in the Western Conference this year. But where will those points come from? My prediction:
@ FC Dallas--Loss
@ DC United--Loss
vs LA Galaxy--Win
@ LA Galaxy--Loss
Well, it sucks at this point, but I believe for it to get better this team is going to suffer more before the turn around happens. After the loss at LA, everyone will have written the Rapids off and that is when the run will start.
vs San Jose--Win
@ Chivas USA--Win
vs FC Dallas--Win
Obviously there is a great deal of time left, and a benefit to the Rapids is that 11 of their final 12 are against Western Conference teams. But they have to find the consistency that has been lacking all year and they have to score goals. But for me the most important thing is that players like Edson Buddle and Gabriel Torres MUST find a way to get it going. Torres looks like he may have turned the corner, but Buddle has looked average the bulk of the year. Those two guys have got to score goals.
Another concern is the defense. There have been mental breakdowns in the last three losses and something has to change. The first New England goal was a team breakdown of epic proportions. The RSL goal was the same way. This simply has to change or the Rapids will not make the playoffs. Is it time to see Gale Agbossoumonde in the back or, perhaps, John Neeskens? Or will a healthy Shane O'Neill be the tonic for this team on defense?
Regardless of what happens, the Rapids have to find a way to pull out of this. A shock result in Frisco would go a long way to calming nerves and relaxing supporters. And it would send the message that even when this team is down, they are not going to give up.