"True is it that we have seen better days" from "As You Like It" by William Shakespeare
I have to admit I am a bit of a Shakespeare geek (proudly of course) and something about this week reminds me of walking by the Globe as a younger lad visiting London. It was a grey day, a little rain, but you could see clearing in the distance. Kind of like the Colorado Rapids this week. They certainly did not win, but played well enough to do so and I could finally start to see the clouds that had enveloped this team over the last two months clearing away. Will it be enough to secure a miraculous run at the playoffs? Not sure about that, but at least there is a bit of optimism as they head off to Sandy, Utah this Friday to play Real Salt Lake.
Here is The Good, The Bad, The Ugly--Colorado Rapids--Quoting Shakespeare for Inspiration Edition
The Good--A Point For The Good Guys
It has been a brutal seven plus weeks for the Rapids as they dropped from a sure fire playoff contender to needing a minor miracle to get into the playoffs. They have lost games by some pretty terrible margins and had a shocking -16 goal differential in that time frame.
But the boys pulled out of the slump and had a legitimate chance (and it could be argued that they should have) of taking all three points. At the end of the day the same old defensive errors came back to bite them in the rear, but at least the Rapids were able to secure a point. This is something that they have not done, and it felt good. It is true that we have seen better days, but a point is a point and this team needed it.
The Bad--Formation Challenges
I am not one to say that Pablo Mastroeni should not be the coach of this team. I think that Pablo is the right man for the job and he will become a better coach as he gets more experienced. And you can say that his formation largely was the correct one on the night, but I wonder this question: Gabriel Torres (I know he was with Panama) cannot get a start, or significant playing time with this team, but Deshorn Brown can even when he continues to miss sitters. I know that Brown scored and all, but what does it take for him to sit vs Torres starting? I know that Brown can bring speed and can score goals like he does, but man alive, he misses some really easy goals.
If you subscribe to the theory that the season is lost, why not go out on a limb and see whether or not your designated player should be here, by you know, playing him. In my mind, Torres is a no doubt starter the rest of the way. Hell, run a 4-4-2 like this:
Clint Irwin (see below)
Marvell Wynne Thomas Piermayr Shane O'Neill Marc Burch
Kamani Hill Jose Mari Nick LaBrocca Dillon Serna
Gabriel Torres Deshorn Brown
I mean, at the end of the day, what is the harm in, you know, playing your DP a bit before he bolts from a lack of playing time? Again, as we have seen better days, why not try something different.
The Ugly--From My Perspective, as a former Goalkeeper
Please do not think I am comparing myself to Irwin, John Berner or Joe Nasco. I am not a professional keeper, but I did play in high school and college, so I have some idea into the psyche of the position and what goes into it.
Being a goalkeeper is a lonely job. In some games you have little to do and it goes by quickly. In other games you get shelled. It is part of the gig. But one thing is when you have others around you lose faith in you--it can be crippling. And for some reason, it seems that decision makers for the Rapids have lost faith in Irwin. It is a challenging thing with a player that plays that position. You need the confidence and belief from your management. Look at the goals that Irwin has given up this year...how many of them are "his fault?" Whereas, Irwin in goal against the Timbers, would have meant all three points for the Rapids. Yes, Irwin has seen better days, but his play and his character bring me back to this quote by Shakespeare from "Twelfth Night"
"Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them."
Irwin should be your starter because of the greatness that he has shown. Without him the Rapids would be in a far bigger world of hurt and it is extremely disappointing to see him lose his job because others on the pitch can't do theirs.
Our Burgundy Boys travel to Utah this week and they are on a one game unbeaten streak (see, optimism). Can they make it two in a row? Or will they fall at Salt Lake City? Ultimately it is up to the heart and character of this team to come out and deliver a result that no one thinks they can.