My boys and I sat in our usual spot—Section 121, back row, our home away from home. We were pumped. A Colorado Rapids team that had not lost at home and looked great in their last home game two weeks ago against Vancouver, where they came back from a gross 5-1 loss at the bandbox of New York City FC.
Conversely, the Orlando City SC team in transition has one of the worst road records in MLS. They have a new head coach who has been there long enough for the spark a new coach provides to wear off.
We felt confident that our boys in burgundy would come out not just with a result, but with a win.
Leaving DSGP with a 0-0 draw was a significant letdown, as it was for every diehard Rapid fan. But here’s why:
FC Dallas and the LA Galaxy Lost!
I could have cared less about the other games in MLS—the Real Salt Lake vs FC Dallas was all that mattered. My boys and I felt a twinge of ew rooting for Real Salt Lake. For this fan, FC Dallas has overtaken RSL as the primary archrival. The Rapids win and FC Dallas lose means there’s a sweet looking tie atop the West, with the Rapids having two games in hand. Sure, Real Salt Lake would have 40 points, but we’d have 45 with two games in hand.
Now? The realistic, positive-looking fellow that I try to be (with varying degrees of success) says, “OK, we at least shaved a point off with our draw and FCD’s loss.” Then the cascading of reality does come in regarding this choice little nugget: Real Salt Lake is now three points behind us.
Plus, lo and behold, here come Sporting Kansas City at 38 points nudging ahead of the LA Galaxy after the LAGs losing to NYCFC.
Granted, with the parity in MLS, there will always be teams nipping at the heels of the leaders. Fine. But this leads to my next reason for the letdown.
Can We Have Some Consistent Scoring at Home, Please?
With my boys and I sitting in the back row, we had an usher who stood behind us most of the game. At around the 80th minute, she asked me, “Is this usual for there to be no scores in these games?” I gathered she wasn’t a regular watcher of the beautiful game, and I wonder if she will in the future should her job not require such.
Yes, we had some close calls. But thirteen shots on goal with one on target? Six shots blocked? Twenty-eight crosses! Three offsides? Marlon Hairston (of whom I am a huge fan) kept having the ball poached when threats looked promising. I could go on (which our resident rabbi will certainly address).
When fans walk away bitterly disappointed, we’re looking for someone to blame. Tactics? Our striker who has less than a handful of goals this year and nine in his entire time here? Is that Kevin Doyle’s fault, or does he need better service?
Yes, we’re sitting just two points behind the West leader—worlds better than where we sat last year! But at home, we will look back at the Portland Timbers game on July 4th (0-0), the FC Dallas game on the 16th (1-1), and this Orlando City game (0-0) as pivotal games should we begin to slide. Portland hasn’t won a game on the road this year (0-6-6). The defensive breakdown against Dallas that allowed that golazo late was brutal.
The point is, the Rapids’ next home game is on Saturday, September 17th. Three straight road games of this caliber (8/26 at 6 pm at RSL on Unimas, 9/3 at 5:30 pm at New England Revolution), 9/10 at 7:00 pm against FC Dallas) mean we need three points every time we play at DSGP. Every. Single. Time.
Don’t Get Me Wrong...
I’m glad to be a fan of a team in this position and to have these types of conversations rather than the conversations taking place last year. But the letdown was that this seemed like a very winnable game, and yet the Rapids did not take advantage of LA’s and Dallas’ loss.
What say you? Were you inconsolable after the game on Saturday? Where do you see the Rapids heading in the next three weeks? Sound off!