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The Backseat Manager: Rapkids vs. Vapids

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Since the Rapids are now mathematically out of the playoffs, let's talk about some experimentation that could be done with the tactics and lineups.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

I'm not going to go over last game and currently we shouldn't be putting out the best lineup to play against our opposition's weaknesses and strengths. Instead I hope our Colorado Rapids take these last four games like a tryout. Let the "young guns" play to prove themselves and see which "experienced veterans" can step up. This time I'm not looking at who the Rapids play against, but who is competing with each other for the starting spots. Today I will make realistic lineups based on the players' age, as well as some wacky ones.

The "Experienced Veterans:"

The theme for much of this year is that "veteran experience" has been the preferred blueprint for starting lineups. So let's see what the most "veteran" (read: old) lineup can be.

Surprisingly Clint Irwin is our oldest goalkeeper, which is awesome because he is only 26 years old and has many years ahead of him. The midfield is notably very defensive minded with both Sam Cronin and Nick LaBrocca making the lineup. The oldest forward we have is Vicente Sanchez who is playing much better relative to his age compared to Kevin Doyle. As for the defense, there were too many to put into one lineup, but if I did just go through the oldest players and put them in it would look a little like this:

This lineup is absolutely hilarious because it has a back line of Maynor Figueroa, James Riley, Marc Burch, Drew Moor, Sean St. Ledger, and Bobby Burling. Our defensive woes after the transfer window make more sense though. We replaced several young players with more experienced but less athletic counterparts making us slower and more susceptible to quick runners. Overall I don't see this lineup making many mistakes, but it also looks quite toothless on anything but set pieces (seem familiar to anybody?).

The "Young Guns:"

Lets say we ventured back to the days of the Rapkids for the next few weeks. If we played our youngest players what would we see?

This lineup was slightly more difficult to put together. I did not use Caleb Calvert because he has never seen the field this year. Nor did I use Joseph Greenspan because I vaguely remember hearing he will be deployed onto a boat next year as he is an officer in the Navy. I also had to move Dillon Serna and Marlon Hairston to the fullback positions as well as put Jared Watts in a center back in order to fill out the defense.

The bright spot about this lineup is the attack and potential. Dominique Badji is raw but exciting. Juan Ramirez and Charlex Eloundou, if given time to work on their passing and shooting, would be constant threats. I also like the idea of Dillon Powers in a more central position as he is best with a long pass to space for a runner at speed. Lucas Pittinari, if he becomes more disciplined, would be a good midfield general. Carlos Alvarez is a bit of an unknown but at Chivas USA grew into quite the attacking threat. Finally, John Berner can grow into an amazing goalkeeper just like those ahead of him on the depth chart. What if we just played the youngest players though?

This lineup looks fun. Overall playing with the Rapkids would lead us to a more "attack happy" style and lots of excitement, but the mistakes would be plenty. Let's just hope that this group could score more goals than it lets in.

Conclusion:

I didn't know what I was going to learn when I first started this experiment, but I found some interesting things about the Rapids. Our defense is aging and needs an injection of youth, but that probably won't happen with the "veteran experience" mentality currently in the club. Second, our attack is very young and needs a ton more development. If developed properly this can become a scary team, but until then we will see the players flounder. The "veteran experience" has also hindered the attack by allowing older defensive minded players to take the spots of younger attacking players.

What do you guys think? Has the "veteran experience" we brought in at the transfer window helped? Do we need to play our younger players? And, most importantly, which of these above lineups do you think would win in a head to head match?