There’s clearly no need to write a review column of a game that didn’t happen . But hey, what else am I gonna do on a Monday? Especially since I’m two seasons behind on ‘Madmen’ and don’t watch ‘Game of Thrones’ at all. (I hear it’s rape-y. My wife and I don’t like rape-y shows.)
Buh-Bye to Badji?
There actually is a fair amount to talk about, considering the lineup the Colorado Rapids released the hour before the non-kickoff didn’t happen.
First of all, not surprisingly, new acquisition Luis Solignac was set to start up top. It is to be expected. But, what I didn’t expect to see was Charles Eloundou getting a spot on the bench over Dominique Badji. Badji has been up and down, but I think he’s worthy to be on the bench, right? Guess not.
Side note: I’m still unsure of how to pronounce ‘Solignac’. Supposedly I’m told his name rhymes with ‘Cognac’, so maybe there’s some fun tifo to be had with this. One of the many reasons to pity Philadelphia Union fans is that they have to try and pronounce ‘Arristigueta’. Soccer names are hard. Digression over.
To break down the lineup picks a little more, Pablo Mastroeni has a bench here of two CDMs, two CBs, one RM, one Forward and one GK. That’s ok, I guess. Except, when was the last time you saw a team sub in two defenders in a game? Perhaps bench spots are a bit more political- Burling’s a veteran, O’Neill is a top player, so they deserve the spot even if it’s nearly impossible both would get into the game. But putting Badji on the bench gives you an offensive option if you need it, and he has a different skill-set than Eloundou does, with a bit more size and some skill back-to-goal. I can imagine a late-game situation where you insert Eloundou for Ramirez and Badji for Solignac for a serious jolt of energy, right? Well, apparently for Pablo, no.
Of course, with little else to talk about, I could be over-analyzing the situation. But I’m going to speculate that unless there is an injury, Dom Badji might have seen his last minutes on the field this year as a Rapid. Kevin Doyle’s arrival in Commerce City yesterday makes that even more likely.
Dillon Serna is the other surprising name that didn’t make the eighteen. The Rapids Home Grown Player made his debut in 2013 at just the age of nineteen. He had a good, but inconsistent, year in 2014. To my eyes, he offers better passing and shooting skills that Juan Ramirez does, but Ramirez dribbles like a bat out of hell, and seems to have better pace. A few Rapids twitterati think Serna is the superior defender, but I’m unconvinced.
What does seem clear is that Serna has lost his starting spot, and may even be out of favor altogether with the coaching staff for some reason considering his omission from the lineup and bench this game. He’s too young to write off, as are Badji, Eloundou, and O’Neill. And the Rapids experience with injuries last year certainly warrants that the team should stash some talent on the bench for a ‘break glass in emergency’ situation. But Serna’s too talented to not even make the bench. Maybe he took a knock in practice and is just getting a week of rest.
But it’s worrisome. If Tab Ramos thinks Serna is good enough to play on the USMNT U-23, then Serna belongs in the regular starting lineup of an MLS team. If we’re going to keep Ramirez, the team might want to deal Serna. He certainly has a lot of trade value, and maybe the team will look to move him once the MLS secondary window opens up again July 8.
The Doyle Effect
Finally, bummer for Luis Solignac. He arrives in Kansas City to start his first game, but the weather doesn’t cooperate. Monday, Kevin Doyle arrives. I imagine Solignac's only spot now will be off the bench, since both Doyle and Solignac have been described as target strikers. Badji and Eloundou are both certain to be pushed further down the food chain. Whether they both stay in Colorado or go to Carolina for more seasoning is certainly a question.
And lastly, with a sudden glut of strikers, (wow, I just wrote that), I think we’ve seen the last of Gabriel Torres up top, so I wouldn’t bother with imagining him anywhere but in the attacking midfield somewhere.
We have a lot of players listed as strikers. That’s exciting. I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm. Clint Dempsey didn’t really start to produce for Seattle until his second season. I hope that the new Rapids scorers start, you know, scoring immediately. But let’s try to be patient if the goals don’t start pouring in. I for one am not going to rent a biplane with a ‘KSE Out!’ sign until at least middle of 2016.