Don't look now, gang: we are top of the Supporters Shield. The Colorado Rapids went north of the border and earned a 2-2 draw against the Montreal Impact. Only the most positive (and possibly delusional) fan could have predicted such a position nine games in. But who cares about predictions and feelings and notions and angst: with one-quarter of the season gone, we are setting the pace.
When watching this team, and especially this past Saturday, there's one word that encapsulates this team:
Didier Drogba drops another free kick like he did in Commerce City last October that put the Impact up 1-0. Some have commented that MacMath could have reacted more quickly, but that should never take away from the skill Drogba showed to put his team up a goal. And that's how they went into halftime, with our boys down a goal and down significantly in possession.
Not three minutes in, my guy Mekeil Williams (go Soca Warriors! Go Trinidad & Tobago!) provides another assist on a wonderful cross that Shkelzen Gashi put away to equalize. Resolve! They didn't wither or settle--very different from last year's team.
Yes, as often happens, a quick goal a few minutes later by Tissot of the Impact. But ol' Bobby Burling equalized for the Rapids again off the corner. And we leave that beautiful, historic city of Montreal with a massive point, putting us at the top of the MLS heap.
I attribute this resolve to the added veteran leadership that our front office has added. Gashi, Marco Pappa, Kevin Doyle, Luis Solignac, Jermaine Jones, Burling, Williams have provided the needed experience and edge to complement the talent on this young team. The young team we had the last two years did not have the experience and know-how and, yes, resolve to plug away, plug away, plug away until those openings arrive and then take advantage of those opportunities.
Whereas in 2014 and 2015, I fully expected the Rapids to find a way to lose the game. No lead felt safe. In 2016, I enter games with full confidence that they will find a way to get a result, if not win. A 5-2-2 (W-L-D) record is amazing--and if it weren't for some MacMath brain wrinkles in goal, we could be 6-0-3! Think about how close we are to still being undefeated!
Just Wait Until We Get Howard!
Now you may say, "Wait until we get Howard in goal!" A word about that here: Tim Howard started in goal for Everton FC against Bournemouth this past Saturday and will this following weekend. That, my friend, is such a good thing. Why? (1) He could provide a better steadiness and experience (resolve?) in goal from July on, but more importantly, (2) he is now getting in game shape, rather than riding the pine leading up to his time with our Rapids.
What's Your One Word?
So tell me, Burgundy Wave readers: what's your one word to describe this team? Leave me a tweet at @RapidsSouthStds or leave a comment. I'd love to hear what you are seeing with this team.