This week’s Backpass is coming from that great experience many of us have known called ‘being without wifi access and therefore unable to review the match because your parents are old and don’t have wifi.’ So if you just came here for my gifs and analysis of why our expected goals number was so divergent from our score, sorry, come back next week.
In short, Denver’s 1st division team went to Canada and got a road point, which is exciting because it’s the team’s first road point, but was also pathetic, because it was the team’s first road point. Colorado was out-shot and out-possessed, and looked the weaker of the two teams, but Toronto didn’t finish their chances and Zac MacMath was good, and the club escaped another road loss when Alan Gordon slipped one through to Dominique Badji in the box. Yay?
As I mentioned in my somewhat optimistic take on the Rapids midseason fortunes, the team really needs to get 3 wins from their current 4 match stretch to really retain any hope. A tie is not a win, and the end result of this match was that Colorado is one point further from 6th place than it was last week.
Most Rapids fans are pretty upset with the way things are going. With each passing day, the Cronin trade is looking more and more like a stake in the heart to this club. The transfer window is dragging on without any hint of a big move from the club. The recent rumors of the club going for 1860 Munich attacker Stefan Aigner are encouraging, but few if any folks I know think he is the catalyst that kicks the team into the playoffs this year. I’ve heard it from multiple friends in the Rapids family that they aren’t renewing their season tickets. For them, there’s no light at the end of this tunnel. The team seems to lack a plan. The product on the field isn’t inspiring. And the corporate leadership doesn’t seem to be listening. There isn’t a lot for me to disagree with.
I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not feeling very optimistic right now either. Personally, I’m frustrated at the silence more than anything. I haven’t anything out of Commerce City that indicates the path forward or the plan, or an upcoming session with fans or the media to discuss what went wrong and where we’re headed. Even if I’m wrong, and the team does make a signing of a really exciting player before the window closes on August 9, it’s almost certainly too late for them to have an impact on this season.
So I’m left with something akin to what I felt towards the end of 2015, and 2014, when the team was playing poorly and the specific hope for a season-ending glory was all-but-gone.
I went to the stadium to just enjoy soccer. Not the scoring or the winning or the trophies; not a flashy name or a famous European import. But just the simple joys of soccer. A soaring pass. A blistering run. A brilliant, well-timed tackle. A phenomenal save.
And sure, I don’t need to pony up $30 a game to go see that at DSGP; I can just wait a few months and see the University of Denver do that. (And I probably will.)
But I am, at the core, a fan of the Rapids. This is my team, misguided as it was to fall in love with them as I did. When I have stress at work, and bills to pay, and life feels a little chaotic, and I’m in my head too much about stuff, I need my 90 minutes immersed in a brilliant green pitch on a warm summer evening. Caring that much about 22 men playing a children’s game is my therapy. It takes away my troubles and puts me in the right mood, even when we lose. And I like rooting for these guys. I’ve watched every single minute of Marlon Hairston’s MLS career. I was once sent a smiley-face emoji on twitter from Mohammed Saied.
It kind of hurts to begin the transition from the hopeful ebullience that you have in a season in the hunt for a trophy to this other kind of season that I described above: the season of perpetual longing for a glory that’s forever just over the next horizon. But it’s almost certainly all we’ve got.
The crowds will grow smaller. The cheers will not be as loud. The conversations will become more often framed in frustration. But I’ll still be there. I hope I'll see you too. We can have a beer, and toast to better times.