I remember the beginning of the season, when optimism was at an all time high after that amazing 2016 season. I remember being excited that the Colorado Rapids were going to be a strong contender in the MLS cup. I remember sitting in the stands and exclaiming "Classic Rapids!" as the Rapids defense smothered New England's offense in that 1-0 win. And finally, I remember a very simple quote from the team going into the 2017 season. "We want silverware," I remember Dominique Badji saying as he looked forward to 2017. I think most of us assumed that the sights were set on MLS Cup, or even the Supporters Shield.
But things went downhill almost immediately after that opening game. Axel Sjoberg went down with a knee injury in the 1-0 loss to NYRB that would start a 7 game streak in which Colorado would pick up a meager one point. A suspect trade, and injuries and suspension certainly added to my own personal pessimism about how 2017 was shaping up. The San Jose game gave me spark of hope, which was completely dashed by Chicago and Philadelphia. But then the Rapids started doing something I haven't seen them do in ages: Winning, from behind. They did it three times in a row, and once again my hopes were on the up. Again. And then they were extinguished. Again. Thanks LA.
My point is this: The Rapids are 5-9-1 (W-L-D) and are back to the basement of the Western Conference with 16 points out of ~45 points needed to make the playoffs. We have 19 games remaining with only 8 of those at home. Assuming we collect 24/24 points from the remaining home games that puts us at 40 points, and that's coming with a big IF. To qualify for the playoff's we will need some away wins, which is, uh, not our strong suit. We are 0-6-0 on the road. Ok, so I am not sure about this whole MLS Cup thing, and definitely not a Supporters Shield.
But we can still win silverware. I think the Rapids should throw caution to the wind, and put effort into winning the U.S. Open Cup.
First of all we have never won it before. Historically the Rapids have not taken the U.S. Open Cup very seriously, often opting to play their bench and players they call back from loans. That's the wrong attitude in my opinion, especially in a season where everything else is going wrong. I say we throw caution to the wind and go for something completely different and new.
Second of all I feel it would be silly to throw away a perfectly good chance to have success in 2017. Throwing away the Open Cup and failing to make the playoffs anyway would only sour the season further. Ever since C38 released that letter to the Rapids Front Office I have felt that tensions are a bit high this season, and a good Open Cup run, or even, dare I say, winning the thing, would do well to quell tensions between fans and the FO.
And finally I think the fans and the organization need it. After reading MLS content, watching national broadcasts, and absorbing the fan culture of the league the last few years, I get the impression that the Rapids are MLS' whipping boy. Even during last season's run, national broadcasters did not give any respect to the Rapids, and MLS articles gave off the tone of "Any day now they will be back to their 2015 selves." We can all admit the last few years have been bumpy. Like off-roading down the side of Mt. Evan's bumpy. But some sort of sustained success after last year would go a long way to mending the wounds from 2014 and 2015, because I don't want 2016 to be just a dream, I want that to be reality.