Full disclosure: I did not see any of the first half of Saturday night's game between the Colorado Rapids and the Portland Timbers. I saw every bit of the snooze-fest Wednesday night when they played at Seattle. But when my boss, John Rosch (illustrious editor of the Burgundy Wave) informed me via Twitter that "the second half was better than the first," I knew that we've come upon some troubling times in Rapids Nation.
To review: the Rapids endured a record-setting funk streak at the end of last year going into this year. They put some pieces in place to shore up the defense. Check. We couldn't score, so after trying various pieces upfront before acquiring Luis Solignac and Kevin Doyle. Time will tell how the chemistry will form.
But the last two games, something's amiss. I summed it up in a tweet last night:
I love my #rapids96. But something has to change. The fundamentals, the fire, the discipline are not there-against a pooped Timbers team.— Rapids South Stands (@RapidsSouthStds) May 31, 2015
I try hard to show the positive side of the game and of all things Rapids. I confess, this is growing more difficult. The last two games troubled me for various reasons. At Seattle, we had the ball less than a 1/4 of the time. And when the Rapids had the ball, there was no disciple or cohesion. That bled over in abundance against Portland.
Last year, the excuses came: we were young, injuries, and the defense gave up too many goals.
This year: the defense is better, we have experience, we have very few injuries, and now we have some strikers upfront to provide more goal scoring.
And yet, that 2nd half, the Rapids couldn't mount any sort of consistent attack, turned the ball over too much--even against a weary Timbers team that had never won in Commerce City. They equalized, but then gave up an inexcusable goal in extra time when none of the midfield came back to help--the proverbial dagger through the heart.
The question is: now what? Is this a coaching issue? A personnel issue, which puts the onus on the front office? Does this team seem to have the motivation, the fire to compete? Where did the discipline go in the last two games? Why do the fundamentals seem so difficult of late?