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#SKCvCOL Takeaway: A profusion of confusion for Rapids supporters

Rapids supporters just cannot figure out some of the decisions Coach Hudson makes.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Sporting KC Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Some of the decisions regarding roster moves and lineups have left a profusion of confusion for Rapids supporters.

As we all know, the Colorado Rapids lost their away contest last weekend to Sporting Kansas City 1-0. Over the last few weeks, the Rapids have jumped out front, only to leave points on the pitch by opponents equalizing or snatching out a victory. This time, they went down 1-0 in the 16th minute by a point-blank putback by SKC’s Daniel Salloi, and never recovered. The Rapids were fortunate to head back to Colorado with only a 1-0 defeat—it could have been much worse.

What’s up with the lineups?

Rapids supporters found themselves vexed and perplexed about an hour before the game when the starting XI came out. The understanding from Coach Anthony Hudson was that Yannick Boli was not altitude-ready. A quick Google search shows that the altitude in Kansas City is only 910 feet—a perfect night, one would surmise, to put Boli up top with Dominique Badji (where no question arises as to whether he starts). Joe Mason, being a little banged up, understandably rode the bench.

Yet, a collective confusion arose amongst Rapids supporters at the selection of Jack McBean starting. Of Boli, Mason, and McBean, McBean is clearly is third on that list of potential starting strikers. Plus, the Rapids decided to send Niki Jackson (who has one goal toward his MLS account against New England in the first game of the season) on loan to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. Caleb Calvert has also shown some potential with the Charlotte Independence and during his short time with the Rapids over the last couple years.

This, along with Stefan Aigner being in the proverbial doghouse (I guess) and still not being in the 18—well, Rapids supporters who were so hopeful for a new look and a new vibe for 2018 find themselves in a similar position points-wise at this juncture of the schedule as they were in 2017.

On May 13, 2017, the Rapids were 2-6-1 (7 points), coming off a lovely 3-0 pounding of the San Jose Earthquakes at DSGP. If the Rapids lose on May 12, 2018, they will be 2-5-2 (8 points)—only one point ahead of last year. So coming up on the 9th match of the year, the Rapids find themselves in a position that, with all the hopes that 2018 brought, leave them in the midst of the year that led to Pablo Mastroeni’s firing three years in.

About Coach Hudson

Every Rapids supporter knows that, yes, from the front office to the coaching staff to the majority of players, a new system and vision is in the process of implementation. Results could take time, and given how the Rapids have been in every single match up until the end, this has given supporters who are scratching for anything positive about this team some semblance of hope.

The one issue, however, that keeps arising is one between the coach and Stefan Aigner. Hashtags of #FreeAigner accompanied #FreeSerna after Kip Colvey started in front of the homegrown again on the road. Here are my personal questions:

  1. How much transparency should a coach have in regards to a situation like this? Whether we like it or not, we are not entitled to any more than Hudson has already given to us when it comes to potential personal issues.
  2. When does this apparent (again, we don’t know) drama begin to be a distraction? A case could be made it already is a distraction. When you have a player of the caliber of Aigner who could clearly provide a midfield boost for the Rapids, but is not playing and not even on the bench, being a distraction is the least of the Rapids issues as it stands. He is on the Rapids books for $1.175 million and was considered “a steal” by the Denver Post.
  3. Is Hudson being named on the Sunderland shortlist another distraction? I wonder. One could not blame Hudson for wanting to end up in England or Europe eventually, but is this premature?
  4. What has the defensive backline shown Coach Hudson that keeps Axel Sjoberg from seeing the pitch? Is there a concern that he is too slow for the three-man backline Hudson implements?

Granted, no Rapids supporter is a coach. Very few see practices, and if some do it’s for a limited amount of time. But for many Rapids supporters, a profusion of confusion remains with some of the decisions Coach Hudson and his staff make in lineup selection—who he includes, whom he leaves off.

Rapids supporters have seen an unfortunate pattern repeat year after year. The year 2018, however, has left supporters more confused than ever.