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Hey Colorado Rapids...Why So Defensive?

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From the play on the field to the fan forum, the Rapids seem to be so defensive about, well, everything.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

"I don't mean to sound so defensive"

That was an actual quote from the Fan Forum that was held last Tuesday.  Well, to be honest, when you say something like that you are, in fact, being defensive about something.  I get wanting to protect the team and all, but the point of the fan forum was to be open and honest with the fans and accept criticism when it came.  But instead the team sounded defensive.

So this got me thinking: why are the Colorado Rapids so defensive about, well, everything?  To wit:

Attendance Numbers

One of the points that was brought up from the Season Ticket Holder forum was how the season ticket base has quadrupled in the last four years.  I do not have season ticket numbers, or renewal numbers, in front of me but I believe this to be 100% accurate.  The fact is attendance numbers are going up this year and there have been five crowds this year over 17,500 and three that have been over 18,000.  A packed Dick's Sporting Goods Park is a great, great thing.  I do not know why this is or is not happening.  I am only reporting what is out there.

Taking out the actual Season Ticket Holder renewal information, here is attendance figures since 2009, and it is clear that attendance is up:

Year Average Attendance Increase/Decrease from Prior Year Rapids Record Playoffs Achieved
2009 13,018 -4.69% 10-10-10 No
2010 13,329 2.38% 12-8-10 Yes, MLS Champs
2011 14,838 11.32% 12-9-13 Yes
2012 15,175 2.27% 11-19-4 No
2013 15,440 1.74% 14-11-9 Yes
2014 15,082 -2.31% 8-18-8 No
2015 15,819 * 4.88% 5-9-9 TBD

* the 2015 figure is through August 8.

Since 2009, attendance figures have risen 21.51%.  That is pretty good me thinks.  Some of that was on the watch of Jeff Plush and since 2012, Tim Hinchey has been in charge.  But overall growth has been made.

I do not fully understand why there seems to be this defensive posture about attendance and this club.  I hear so often "if the park were only in the urban core" or it was in Westminster or Golden or wherever.  The park is where the park is so get over it.  Let's not be so defensive about it and embrace it.  Can and should attendance be higher?  Hell yes.

But what was really disturbing is that the Front Office would act shocked, and quite frankly arrogant about people considering not renewing their tickets.  Yes, attendance numbers are improving and this should be celebrated, but to act shocked that someone would contemplate not renewing for 2016 because of the the Rapids record?  That was poor form from the FO.  This team is terrible.  And I do not blame one single person for not renewing.

The Record and Playoff Possibility?

Pablo Mastroeni kept saying that the playoffs were a possibility this year and he seemed defensive that people have scoffed at that idea.  There is no chance of making the playoffs.  None.  What. So. Ever.  OK, actually, there is a 3% shot:

I get that you don't want to say "we have no shot" but please don't treat season ticket holders like we are a bunch of fucking morons on this issue.  The Rapids are 11 points out of sixth and are on pace to collect a whopping 35 points this year.

Year Win Loss Draw Points Points Per Game Playoffs Achieved
2009 10 10 10 40 1.33 No
2010 12 8 10 46 1.53 Yes, MLS Champs
2011 12 9 13 49 1.44 Yes
2012 11 19 4 37 1.08 No
2013 14 11 9 51 1.5 Yes
2014 8 18 8 32 0.94 No
2015 * 5 9 9 24 1.04 TBD

* through August 14

OK.  The record is what the record is, but:

From 2009 through 2011 the Rapids were 34-27-33 with two playoff berths and an MLS Cup Championship.

From 2012 through the present the Rapids are 38-57-30 with one playoff berth.

And since Oscar Pareja at the end of the 2013 season, the Rapids are 13-27-17.

Who is at fault for this?  Is it Paul Bravo?  Is it Tim Hinchey?  Is it Pablo Mastroeni?  I do not know the answer to those questions and it is what sparks great discussion, but when you win only 13 games over the course of two seasons and have but one playoff berth in the last four....That is never good and telling fans to be patient is a kick to the privates that no one wants.   Stop telling us to be patient and care enough to put a product out there that can compete in Major League Soccer.

Defending Pablo:

Pablo may now be the most divisive figure in Rapids history.  The dude is a Rapids legend and brought the team its only MLS Cup Championship (although Conor Casey, Omar Cummings, Jamie Smith, Brian Mullan and Matt Pickens had a hell of a lot to do with that).  But as a coach, Mastroeni is completely out of his element and he just does not seem to know what he is doing.

In the fan forum, I heard this about Pablo:

"well he stepped up when no one else would"

"he is still learning on the job"

"we are committed to his growth"

The basic gist is that Pablo is going to be the guy, but in any other league in the world, Pablo, regardless of his status as a club legend is sacked.

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed the Flakoglost Podcast and Richard Terry had this to say about Pablo:

Maybe this is apples to oranges, but if this was England or Italy, Pablo would have been sacked last year. He would have been canned. After that LA and RSL debacle he would have been shown the door. If this were England or Italy, he would be gone. But it is not. This is Major League Soccer. The rules are a little different here and the club is giving him a shot

If your manager has won 13 out of 57 games in charge, he is not the guy you want.  And in that time you have sold or traded key members of a squad that played beautiful, attacking soccer that gave fans a reason to cheer.  So did those players go because they did not fit Pablo's system or did they go because they realized that Pablo has no idea what he is doing?

I will leave that up for people to discuss.

But, if you have run out of town your best, your talent....and your coach is terrible....what exactly was the point of it all?

Defensive Formations

The writers at Burgundy Beige Wave have never been accused of not having a sense of humor about all things Colorado Rapids related, and our Editor Emeritus, Chris White dropped this over the weekend:

Cause for goodness sakes, we play some boring ass soccer.  At least we are not Puce Wave.

But, seriously now, the Rapids are so defensive in everything that it translates out onto the pitch as well.  The Rapids trotted out seven defensive players at San Jose on Friday (Clint Irwin, Maynor Figueroa, Sean St. Ledger, Drew Moor, Bobby Burling, Sam Cronin, Jared Watts) which was actually an improvement!  The Rapids had a GK, for defenders and three D-Mids AT HOME AGAINST COLUMBUS!!!!!

Sigh.

The Rapids are parking the bus at home and on the road and pretty much saying:

"HEY OPPONENTS, NO NEED TO WORRY ABOUT US.  WE KNOW WE SUCK AT SCORING GOALS AND WE ARE NOT EVEN GOING TO PRETEND THAT WE CAN SCORE GOALS, SO FUCK IT!  WE ARE GONNA PARK THE DAMN BUS"

This is absolutely not a knock on the players.  Players play and if you are a defensive midfielder and you get the call, you are gonna play.  But to see the Rapids openly admit that they are not going to be an offensive threat is terrible.  Or, you know, even try and score.

In case you missed this stat: the Rapids had 8 shots against San Jose and only 2 on goal.

Read that again, the Rapids had 2 shots in a 90 minute soccer match.

And it appears that the Rapids do have people who can score and create such as:

Dillon Powers (1,468 minutes, one goal, five assists)

Dillon Serna (391 minutes, two goals)

Gabriel Torres (1,314 minutes, four goals, two assists)

And with 2,070 minutes played this season you would think they would play more.  But in Pablo's "defensive first at all costs system" our best and brightest attacking players are banished to the bench.

Well done.  Well done indeed.  #sarcasm

So another Rapids season is down the tubes and heading for oblivion and Colorado Soccer Fans are wondering what we should do....well, at least the English Premier League is back.