Here at Breaking Burgundy we will take a look at this week’s game (or games) and how our Colorado Rapids performed. We’ll also identify a key player for Breaking Burgundy Player of the Week honors, as well as some random observations from yours truly.
Let’s get to it!
See Player of the Week
It was nice to see Shkelzin Gashi back on the pitch for the ‘Pids this weekend. (He came on as a reserve and his game rating for the day was a 6.78*. (Not bad for only playing about 20 minutes.) His on-the-ball quality is evident even though he’s working through some obvious rust. He buried the penalty that Badji earned in the 77th minute.
Gashi generally looked dangerous and combined well with Edgar Castillo along the left flank (after Yannick Boli made his debut and Gashi went from playing second striker to the left wing). I’m excited to see what a first-choice Rapids midfield might look like.
Man is it nice to see Axel out there. He’s such a commanding figure in the box and is always talking to his fellow center backs. Axel put in a very solid shift and was rewarded with a clean sheet and a 7.67 rating for the game.
I don’t believe that Axel is a starter on this team long-term, though. I think Danny Wilson, Kortne Ford, and Tommy Smith are the starting center backs, but Sjoberg does have value. You wonder if perhaps the Rapids might look to trade him and get a piece that fits better within Anthony Hudson’s system, but for now, it’s fantastic to have high-quality depth to fill in when injuries and knocks flare up.
After a couple of moments last week where Howard looked his age against FC Dallas, he came out this week fired up.
I know I have a tendency to bag on Howard a bit, but after a performance like this weekend with big saves, quick restarts, and smart passing, we are reminded of all that he can offer the team. He’s a legacy player and the Rapids have to play him as a result. If he keeps putting in these performances on a consistent basis, sitting Zac MacMath is an easier proposition.
TFC Reserve Team
A win is a win, and getting three points off of TFC is always going to be a big deal but that makes it difficult to take much away from this game. No, this wasn’t the TFC squad that the Rapids lost to 2-0 in February and that’s ok—points are points. However, playing TFC 2 does not really give us a clear picture of what the Rapids are capable of.
I do know that we are able to create chances and look dangerous when we’re facing teams that are inexperienced defensively (see the Philly game).
Either way, good on the Rapids for getting the job done, here’s hoping we can continue the upward trend when facing full strength squads as well.
Kip Colvey and Dillon Serna right back experimentation
I don’t know for sure what is going on at right back. One thing I do know is our defensive depth is being tested. Neither Colvey (who was a 6.26) nor Serna (who looked better but was only a 6.39 on the day) seems to really have the faith and trust of the coaching staff to lock down a spot along the backline while Marlon Hairston recovers. I could see Deklan Wynne getting pushed out to right back when Kort Ford or Danny Wilson come back, as he has experience playing wide in this system and Hudson seems to trust him.
RAPIDS WIN EVERYBODY DANCE NOTHING UGLY TO SEE HERE!
Player of the Week
Jack Price. What a goal.
Price seems to be settling into his role with the Rapids: protecting the backline, spraying passes, keeping the ball moving, and generally commanding a midfield that is still learning one another. I also love the fact that—despite his size—he isn’t intimidated by anyone or anything on the field. He plays an aggressive and solid brand of soccer. He was also our top performer for the week, finishing with an 8.10 overall rating.
The only concern I have about Price is the yellow card accumulation. That should get better as he adjusts to how officials call games in MLS but it’s something worth keeping an eye on.
This week in MLS
CONCACAF Champions League
Sometimes it can be so disappointing to be an MLS fan. Chivas is presently at the bottom of the Liga MX table and their coach is in danger of losing his job. The team lacks an identity and yet they came out with a 2-1 victory over TFC in Toronto in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.
Toronto is legitimately one of the best teams of all time in MLS history. They can still go down to Guadalajara and get a result and walk away with a win. It’s a tall order for sure, but they can still manage it.
Highly recommend reading Andrew Wiebe’s piece on CCL Fever:
Zlatan, the Galaxy, and TAM
OK. I’m prepared to admit that I did not think Zlatan would be starting for the Galaxy any time soon. He’s looked amazing as a sub, but he’s still getting injections in his knee (which was part of the plan). But last weekend he helped the Galaxy nab an away win. Granted it was against a crumbling Chicago Fire, but as we Rapids fans know, a win is a win is a win.
It’s exciting to see this era of TAM and the prospects of more aging European stars signing for less here in MLS. Who wouldn’t want to see some of these players being talked about? Wayne Rooney? Fernando Torres? Not sure I would want them in MLS for DP money, but hey Zlatan came for TAM, so now the conversation could shift. What if MLS could get a few of these guys for TAM level money?
Sure some might now work out but if the investment isn’t that high why not take the risk on a marketable but aging star?
*All ratings are from www.whoscored.com