There's a parody of the recent GEICO commercial involving raccoons, trashcans, and trash:
Over and over, the only statement the one raccoon could make after tasting something revolting was, "this is bad... this is so bad."
I knew I wasn't alone. Last year, when the Rapids piled win after win, social media (Twitter, discussion boards, etc.) was rather quiet. The KSE Out movement (and it's obligatory airplane) all but dissipated. Good times tend to settle souls down. Bad times however? The. Polar. Opposite.
Wait, what did Pablo say?
On my old school yellow legal pad, I wrote down a comment that truly concerned me as a Rapid fan. In the 39th minute, Marlon Hairston (who at the time was playing down the right side) and Eric Miller engaged in a conversation that indicated confusion. Hairston was struggling mightily in the game, having three offsides in the first half and one in the second. Then the announcer alluded to an interview he had with Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni that, in regards to the offensive system he is implementing, it "could take a full year to move forward."
That little snippet lingered in my mind as I continued to watch what ended up being a 3-1 Sporting Kansas City win. That, along with the trading of captain Sam Cronin and expert cross-master Marc Burch to Minnesota United FC. Listen, I understand that a case can be made moving forward that this could be the right deal. Bismark Adeji-Boateng has potential as a future stud in the middle. But when difference makers in the locker room and on the pitch are traded away, leaving Rapids fans reeling, and then the team goes out and lays an egg? Let the panic set in.
The offense had their moments, but those moments were few and far between. Hairston's hat trick of offsides calls took the air out of the Rapids offense that seemed to have some organization. Dominique Badji's header that just missed (44') and his through ball to Hairston that barely missed the end of Michael Azira's boot (45') were the Rapids' best chances.
The big question for me was where were Kevin Doyle and Shkelzen Gashi? Gashi's name was barely mentioned. Doyle brought more movement toward the end of the match, when the match was all but out of hand.
"This could take a full year to move forward." An implementation of a system on offense, trying to find a chemistry now that Axel Sjoberg is out, Burch and Cronin are traded, Boateng getting used to the ebb and flow of MLS—yes, I can understand why this will take some time. Hopefully not a year, but some time.
A Little Perspective
But let's not hit the panic button just yet.
Rapids fans (myself included) live in hope of building on 2016 but fearing the team will resemble more of the 2015 team. There just hasn't been enough time for this type of assessment after four games. If the Rapids string together stinkers like this one and the one against the New York Red Bulls and by the end of the summer, we're looking up at the playoffs, then I believe we start making some noise.
It hurt to see Cronin and Burch go. It hurt to see Clint Irwin and Drew Moor go last year. It hurt to see Marvell Wynne go the year before. The Rapids have made major personnel changes, and it will take time for the chemistry to set in. Whether Rapids fans have the patience to endure it all remains to be seen. But patience we must have.
It could get worse before it gets better. Those KSE Out planes might be gassed up as we speak. But let's wait and see before we give up on the season four games in.