What an interesting atmosphere at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Sunday afternoon, as the Colorado Rapids (11th in the conference) faced a tough FC Dallas squad (finishing 4th in the West, but with a win could have finished 2nd).
But alas: Colorado Rapids 2, FC Dallas 1.
Here are some takeaways:
- The Rapids finished 2-1-0 in the last three games. That’s a three-game unbeaten streak. Some will look at these matches and say, “Well, this was against a struggling Minnesota United squad, a dismal San Jose Earthquakes club, and FC Dallas who....” Oh wait, if FC Dallas had won, they would finish 2nd in the West and have a bye during the first week of the playoffs. So, the Rapids won against a team that had something to play for. Some supporters find positives in the negatives, others find negatives in the positives. But stats don’t lie and finishing on an upswing is a good thing.
- It was a tale of two halves. The first half, the Rapids provided little pressure on the FC Dallas backline. The Rapids had the majority of possession, but sparingly in the attacking half. When Giles Barnes and Enzo Martinez came in during the second half, Barnes showed steadiness and forward movement that had been largely absent. Martinez brought a brightness and pace—and earned an assist that not only put the Rapids on the board, but opened up Cole Bassett’s professional scoring account.
- Speaking of Cole Bassett. Seventeen years old and proving week-in and week-out that he belongs in the lineup. He is a bright spot in the midst of a rather dark season. When the Rapids got on the board, my son and I were pumped. When we found out it was Bassett—we lost our minds. My son is most interested in #26. He plays in a Littleton Soccer rec league and loves the game, always having a ball at his feet. Bassett has provided my son with a role model. “He’s 17, Dad? Still in high school?” Keep on shinin’, 26.
- A nice moment happened pre-game.
I saw this unfold but I wasn’t sure what was happening. Humanity at its finest.
Now the Rapids approach the offseason. At every turn, questions need answering both on and off the pitch, holes need filling, and confidence needs instilling in the supporter base. Yes, the Rapids finished with a three-game unbeaten streak, but that should not numb the front office into addressing the true needs.
They should not forget the two herculean losing streaks.
They should not forget that the Rapids were bounced from the US Open Cup by a first year USL squad, Nashville SC.
They should not forget the humiliating 6-0 loss to Real Salt Lake, finishing 9v11.
We could go on.
Here’s hoping the offseason is a productive one.