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Three More Thoughts on the Game Against Swope Park Rangers

Our sainted editor gave three thoughts on the Rapids. Love it. Allow me to elaborate.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Our sainted editor gave three thoughts on the Rapids. First of all, yes. All of those. Plus what I'll say below.

Maybe you don't want three more thoughts. Maybe your only thought about that game was 'Meh'. Or 'I don't have the patience to watch 15 seconds of soccer and 5 seconds of buffering.' Still. If you want a deep dive, read on.

1. Don't Panic

I'd like to think most of you would catch a Douglas Adams reference, but those books came out like 30 years ago. If you've never read ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy', go read it now.

Losing 3-1 to a new USL side sucks. We shouldn't lose these kinds of game. Still, don't take it as meaning much. The team rolled out two totally different lineups in the two halves, and neither the midfield pairings or the backline crew were ever the full compliment of expected starters, with the possible exception of the first four defenders - Williams, Sjoberg, Burling, and Hairston.




Dom Badji played on the right wing opposite Solignac, with Powers playing in central attack. Powers is almost certainly going to play deep, because Pablo Mastroeni has said as much. Badji is a center forward. Solignac is trying to re-win a job. In the second half, the team started a stack of trialists with a bunch of unsigned draftees. The only regular players in that bunch were Marc Burch and Sam Cronin, and Dillon Serna, playing his first game after back injuries. New Rapids players Marco Pappa, Shkelzen Gashi, and Eric Miller, all likely starters, didn't get into the match either. I'm looking forward to seeing them get into a match soon.

2. Some guys looked good.

Jared Watts hit a couple nice passes and made some good tackles. He played the roaming d-mid role that Pittinari had last year, and I thought he looked convincing in the role. Richard Clarke stated on the broadcast that he was likely going to be a defensive midfielder this year, instead of the role of fill-in centerback he had last year, so that could be good.

Dennis Castillo played right back in the second half and I thought gave a good look both defending and attacking. Marlon Hairston overlapped on the attack well in the first half and held his own on defense too (I think the first half goal was on Burling and Sjoberg, and not so much on MarlyG, but without a replay I can't be sure). Dom Badji had a nice headed goal for the first half equalizer, on perfect service to the back post from Dillon Powers.



Dillon Powers was also reliable in passing and circulating the ball, even if he never threatened the goal himself.

3. Some guys did not.

Luis Solignac received a couple of nice long diagonals in the first half. In the three instances I saw, he was tackled for one and recirculated the ball backwards to Mekeil Williams or Jared Watts the other times. Compare that (totally unfairly) to this:

Yes, that's Cristiano Renaldo, the best left wing on the planet, out running his man, dropping a nasty cross-heel flick move and then placing a ball perfectly in the upper 90. No, I do not expect Solignac to be at that level.

Still, If you have the ball in an advanced position on the wing, you should be able to make something happen. The Rapids signed Solignac on May 1, 2015.

We're still waiting to see him do... something. Anything.

Stephen Keel and AJ Cochran got beat on SPR's second goal directly, but Swope Park was able to get that ball through the Rapids midfield incredibly easy in transition, while the midfield was out of shape and tracking back. Keel also biffed on a great chance at a headed goal in the second half. Oh well. Emmanuel Appiah, Sam Cronin, and Conor Doyle got caught out on that second goal too. So that's not great. None of those guys had ever played together, I'm sure, but then again, Swope Park Rangers made the Rapids look like a lower league side in the second half. It was supposed to be the other way around.

...   ...   ...

With the roster not incredibly deep and the team rapidly nearing March 6, I'm not sure this game will have grand implications. Most of the guys you saw will be on the roster, and a few will not. But we might take away from this game that depth, for the Rapids, is a concern, since some of the guys that played and will make the roster. I expect Keel, Castillo, and Appiah to make the team. But whether they can act as more than bench depth after Tuesday's shellacking is an act of faith.

Everybody has a bad game sometimes. Soccer also requires a level of cohesiveness that this game wasn't going to highlight. And the players in this match won't be the ones shouldering the majority of the minutes for the Rapids in 2016. So don't read too much in beside the individual rising or falling or specific players stock.

Still. A win would've been better.