Too bad you don't earn points in MLS for moral victories. The Rapids went into Seattle, winless in the last eight appearances against Seattle (including playoffs) and lost 1-0. The goal given up was fairly typical of the Rapids in their current streak of six consecutive losses; allowing a marked player to get clear and bang in a goal during a set piece. It's a mental lapse from the defense resulting in a goal, thus putting the team behind and requiring a score from the Rapids (which is a whole other topic). If not for the one mistake, the Rapids would have earned a well-deserved point (it would have been their second tie in Seattle).
Moral victories have been plentiful in this awful stretch. The Rapids have not played poorly but have been victims of what I would call "bad luck". Luck you say? This is a game of skill! The teams are constructed to maximize their ability to score and prevent goals. If all goes as planned, at the end of the grueling 34 game schedule those teams with the best skill should be at the top of the table. Sports pundits seek to look at the inner workings of the game, determined to find the "x-factor" that will lead their team to victories. Luck would suggest an outlier, a fuzzy data point, that can't be quantified much like the vaulted "team chemistry" thus for many they simply toss out the suggestion that luck plays any role and simply say its "noise". At the professional level perhaps there is no room for luck. Although this article would suggest the MLS table standings are closer to a 50/50 split between talent (skill) and luck. The key point in the article for me was the following:
"By its very low-scoring nature, soccer is a sport dominated more so by random events than nearly any other sport in the world."
Early in the season we had a bit of luck (random?) fall our way when awarded a disproportionate number of red cards leading to some early season wins or ties. Recently we've seen the luck go against us. For instance:
3-0 loss to New England - NE had lost 8 games in a row (maybe they hexed us?) and NE scored on an early own goal by Drew Moor. A red card by Piermayr and the rout was on.
1-0 loss to Real - A 14th minute goal by Real and then a 47th minute red card shown to Real allowing the Rapids to control their own fate in the second half and yet they couldn't find the back of the net with a 1 man advantage.
3-1 loss to Dallas - A 9th minute rebound goal followed by a PK kick in the 10th minute and the Rapids never found traction against their former manager.
4-2 loss to DC - LaBrocca gifts a ball to DC and they go on to score in the 12th minute. Then our team captain goes down with a knee injury.
4-3 loss to LA - Up 3-1 going into second half and unable to hold on.
1-0 loss to Seattle - Yeah we know!
Obviously, being outscored 16-6 would suggest some skill issues with the Rapids, especially when they lead the league with 9 shutouts. Looking at the past six games perhaps six straight losses might suggest a string of bad luck. For instance, if some random oddities don't occur like if New England doesn't get an early own goal by Moor, perhaps they press and Piermayr doesn't see red? Or if Real scores but the Rapids are able to equalize with an extra man? If a PK call doesn't go against Rapids early in the game? If Moor doesn't get injured? If in a normal game Rapids at least save a point against LA? Random events that string together to equal six losses. To me a lot of what we've seen is exactly the opposite of what we saw in the first half of the season. Luck has a way of equaling out during a long season.
Looking at it this way maybe its time to start making some luck or call the local witch doctor for a séance to remove the evil ball lord that has stuck its foot into the Rapids gut...