Everything was falling into place for the Colorado Rapids to make some noise, but it would all come to nothing if the Rapids didn’t take three points against FC Frisco (excuse me, FC Dallas). Let’s review.
On Wednesday, Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy drew—only one point for each—meaning that two of the three teams with whom the Rapids are solidifying their position in the Western Conference didn't really gain any ground. On Friday, Sporting Kansas City drew with Houston Dynamo 3-3. While having a Houston win would be ideal to keep SKC at arm’s length in their quest for a solid positioning in the playoff race, one point will do. Even better? After the Rapids' win on Saturday night, Real Salt Lake lost 1-0 against the Timbers.
The table was set.
And, oh, how the Rapids feasted. For about 22 hours, the Rapids were alone in second place. With the Galaxy’s 4-2 win on Sunday, the Burgundy Boys are now one point below LA in the standings.
Left for Dead? Not So Fast, My Friend
After the Rapids’ stellar unbeaten streak, seeing them lose two in a row on the road troubled many burgundy faithful. And for good reason. Losing 2-1 to their hated rivals (when it could have been much worse), then going to New England and losing to a team that hadn’t scored a goal in four games had many in Rapid Nation thinking that the ship had sunk (or was at least sinking fast).
But MLS, and soccer in general, is a fickle lady. The Revolution beat New York City FC 3-1. Real Salt Lake was blanked by a pretty good Portland Timbers team—and suddenly, the Rapids aren’t dead yet. They just won’t go away.
Every team slumps. No team has ever gone 34-0-0. But I tell you that as long as our defense plays the way they did for the first four months and the way they played against FC Dallas, our boys in burgundy will be a tall order come playoff time.
Why I’m Encouraged and Why I’m Still Concerned
Badji in for Doyle? By all accounts, Kevin Doyle was struggling—industrial strength struggling. So Pablo Mastroeni inserted Dominique Badji. Lo and behold, he provided the only goal for the Rapids, and the only goal needed to secure three points. In the past, Mastroeni seemed rather loyal to players to a fault, hoping they’ll play their way out of their slump. Here, he sensed Doyle needed to sit and collect himself and regain some confidence.
My concern? FC Dallas held the ball 64% of the time, had seven shots on goal vs. the Rapids one shot on goal. Tim Howard had to make seven (seven!) saves. But he made them. And the one shot on target for the Rapids hit the back of the net. So... whatever, right?
Right. Because Dallas hadn’t lost at home since August 2015, and went 15-0-4 in that time. Yes, they may have been looking ahead at the US Open Cup, but New England has the same game awaiting them, and we all know what happened there.
At the end of the day, the Rapids found a way to get it done. They aren’t going away! They are solidly in third with two games in hand. So what’s ahead?
September 17: Home against San Jose Earthquakes
September 24: Away against Vancouver Whitecaps
October 1: Home against Portland Timbers
October 8: Away against Houston Dynamo
October 13: Home vs San Jose
October 16: Away at Portland Timbers
October 23: Home vs Houston
Two against Houston, Portland, and Vancouver. Each of these teams are outside-looking-in playoff wise. Again, MLS is fickle, which bodes well for us moving forward.
Let’s do this!