The Colorado Rapids picked up their second win of the season last night in front of a light crowd at Dick's Sporting Goods Park over Toronto FC. The Rapids were led by the first goal in the Major League Soccer career of Luis Solignac and some timely play from Zac MacMath and while this was not the prettiest game of soccer you will ever see, it was effective and the supporters will take a 1-0 victory.
1) The Crowd: I try hard to not criticize crowds at sporting events. Ultimately it's your own money that you are spending and if you don't want to go, don't go. But for people who are questioning why the Rapids signed Jermaine Jones and Tim Howard, that should probably stop. The crowd was 10,772 tonight. Against a team that featured the defending Major League Soccer MVP (Sebastian Giovinco) and two former Rapids favorites making their only appearance at Dick's this year: Drew Moor and Clint Irwin.
If people were not going to come out for Giovinco, Irwin and Moor why would they come out at all? So I get why the Front Office would want some big names to draw the crowds. I get it completely. I do not know if signing Jones and Howard make the Rapids appreciably better, but it should help to get people out to the Dick. Like the signings or not, I understand why they are being done.
2) The Ugliness: This was not the best example of what the Beautiful Game has to offer. The Rapids were the beneficiaries of a questionable red card in the 13th minute (actually second yellow) and that changed the match. Many will debate whether the card was justified or not, but the Rapids did take advantage of it. Solignac found the back of the net for the first time and the Rapids were able to hold on. But that's the thing: the Rapids held on. They did not really excel in their play and looked to struggle for portions of the match. BUT, they did something last night that they have not been able to do recently: win when they should.
3) The Table and the Hope: Admit it. This was a concerning match. This looked like a loss when the scheduled dropped. Hell, I was one of them. I was greatly worried that the Rapids would start this season poorly and be out of the playoff race by April. But they have exceeded expectations and now sit 2-1-1 (7 points) and are in the thick of the playoff race. And they may even be above the red line going into next weekend (depending on how Portland Timbers do Sunday night).
The bottom line is that the Rapids have hope where they have not had it before. Now, maybe this all goes to shit. Who knows. But for now the Rapids have give their fans something completely missing over the last two seasons: Hope
The Rapids take to the pitch next Saturday at Rocky Mountain Cup rivals, Real Salt Lake, at 7:30 PM MDT and can be viewed on Altitude Sports TV.