I have witnessed some rough losses in the history of the Colorado Rapids. That 6-0 beat down to LA Galaxy in 2014 and the 5-1 massacre at Rio Tinto (again in 2014) come to mind.
And of course, losing to Rochester Rhinos for US Open Cup back in the day still stings.
The disastrous performance on Saturday against New York City FC will rank up there as well with some of the crappiest days in Rapids history.
But getting past this game requires a bit of reflection on my part and for me that means I need to look at the last couple of months. For the sake of this article, let's look at May, June and July in terms of form and record:
|Win||Loss||Draw||GF||GA||Home Form||Away Form|
When you look at the last calendar month, and the five games that go with that, the Rapids went 1-1-3 (1.2 PPG) with a -3 GD. That is a pretty respectable mark in Major League Soccer, and the goal differential (-3) is obviously skewed after the NYCFC beatdown.
Comparing that the May and June, the Rapids went 4-0-3 (2.14 PPG) with a (+4) GD. That is a terrific run and one that, if we are being honest, was not going to go on forever.
I think the point here is that although the NYCFC loss was bad, it should not come as a massive shock to anyone who follows soccer. You can certainly make the argument that losing that badly is a shock, especially as the Rapids big marquee gave up five goals. (NOTE: I am NOT blaming this loss on Tim Howard)
The Rapids have been long overdue for a loss and results have been trending towards a loss over the last month.
But what does it mean? Our man Rapids South Stands asked the question on Monday about how nervous should Rapids fans be and our very own Rapids Rabbi discusses bringing a spoon to a knife fight today in Backpass. The Lads are asking a fair question:
What the heck happened and what does it all mean?
Is this a Rapids team that is going to regress and barely scrape by and into the playoffs? Or, the unthinkable: miss them all together?
Or this a team that was due for a loss and the heavens aligned and they got worked by a team, that no matter how much it hurts to say this, is pretty good.
I tend to argue, and truly believe, that this team was due for this loss. They were not playing particularly well over the last month and they still struggle to score goals with any regularity. I still think they need a true goal scorer up front and if they are going to make a run in the playoffs, they must find a way to score goals. Even the best defenses in the world can't keep everyone out and when they start taking on the best in the West, goals will be needed.
But all of this makes the point that this is the most unpredictable Rapids season on record. No one saw this team coming and no one saw them being in the playoff picture. It is the predictability of Major League Soccer and the Colorado Rapids: unpredictability is the only constant in this league.
However, that unpredictability leads to the massive and vital match this Saturday. The Rapids positively much get a win against Vancouver Whitecaps. The will be without Micheal Azira (red card) for this one and Jermaine Jones still looks to be out of action. It is not going to be easy. But they have to win this game.
Win: and everyone will say the loss at NYC was a fluke and the team was due.
Draw: and everyone will think, something might be amiss in Colorado as they have not won in three games
Loss: and the doubters in MLS will truly believe that this team is a fluke or in some sort of serious funk.
Bottom line: win the damn game Colorado.
Win the game so we can put the ugliness of last Saturday behind us and focus on what is ahead (the schedule does not get any easier)
Win the game and show Major League Soccer the team you truly are.
And, this is just for fun and relies on no knowledge of what's going to happen or injury/discipline reports, here is my best guess starting lineup:
Tim Howard, Marc Burch, Axel Sjoberg, Bobby Burling, Mekeil Williams, Sam Cronin, Dillon Powers, Shkelzen Gashi, Marco Pappa, Marlon Hairston, Kevin Doyle
I guess what I am really trying to say: it's way too early to freak out.