The Colorado Rapids are 3-1 in the preseason, the loss occurring a few days ago against a newly-minted Swope Park Rangers (owned by the MLS' Sporting Kansas City). First of all, congratulations to SPR.
Granted, we need to keep every win and every loss in perspective in the preseason. Here's why!
- They haven't solidified their starting XI yet. I watched a few minutes of the SPR-Rapids match yesterday. So many new faces on the team. I believe I can guess probably four of the eleven that are sure locks to start. After that? Who knows! This perspective becomes impossible because it's rather disconcerting with the season just over three weeks away.
- They haven't had much time to develop chemistry. Again, so many new faces on the team. MacMath in goal (in case you hadn't heard, Clint Irwin was traded to Toronto FC--smh), new pieces in the backline and, well, new pieces everywhere. This becomes near impossible due to the mass exodus of players from last year (who, yes, needed to go), but in return you have little to no continuity. Doyle, Powers, Burling--you need to step up and fill that leadership void.
- Pablo Mastroeni has this off-season and about two months to right the ship, or he's gone. Do I know this for a fact? No! Does it make me look harder at the form of our Burgundy Boys in preseason? You bet. This is year three! He was thrown into an impossible situation two years ago with Oscar Pareja's departure (January 2014), and if you remember, the first half of the season was pretty decent. But that last half of 2014 and all of 2015 were, well, words fail me. (It's been speculated: did the Rapids FO bring in Spencer as an insurance policy in case they decide to let Pablo go?)
- The Rapids have the toughest schedule in the MLS. You've seen the article at the MLS site. The worst team in the Western Conference in 2015 has the toughest schedule in 2016. This ain't the NFL, ladies and gentlemen. Will the tactics be in place, will the fitness be there, and will the additions up front be enough to keep us from 2013 DC United depths?
- How much of our 'baloney detectors' will be set off? (Thanks to Jo Rheault for this great expression!) Cliches and go-to lines from coaches and front office need to go. Replace them with more transparency and teflon. Ronald Reagan was known as the teflon president, where bad news and criticism didn't stick. As has been documented numerous times, the FO takes umbrage with criticism. So in this preseason, will we hear more of the same, or will the FO let the fans in?