I tend to take longer than most Colorado Rapids fans to change my perspective from hopeful to doom and gloom, and while I’d love to hang on to a bit of optimism and say something like “they can still turn it around!” or “it’s not as bad as it might seem and here’s why,” the reality is we are sitting at the bottom of the league with EIGHT points and just got booted out of the US Open Cup tournament by a USL side. We are 13 games into the season and are on an 8-game regular season losing streak. We are 14 points behind the playoff line and have about a 3% chance of actually making the playoffs this year. The fanbase is wavering between angry and apathetic and it’s only June.
When former Burgundy Wave Managing Editor Chris White tweeted about how a game recap from a few years ago was just as applicable to a game in 2018, I started looking at more of his writing. Now, I knew that the Rapids have had many of the same problems year after year, but to look back and see that you could literally just change the names and it was just as applicable as this year really hits you in the gut.
Here’s one example from an article from August 9, 2015:
As for scoring goals of their own, it was a simple explanation of, “we weren’t clinical in front of goal”, as per usual.
The fact that press conferences continue to go in this direction is the final clue that, yes, the ‘Rapids Way’ is dead, probably forever.
And from the now-infamous piece from January 18, 2016:
That argument is past. The Rapids are long past mediocrity now. We are now into our third straight season of not mediocrity, but awful, putrid badness. The Rapids are not a team that can spring up to surprise people anymore, like they were in 2013. They are a team that was awful two years ago, worse last year and making moves to make themselves even worse for the future. They are tied to the worst head coach I have ever seen in my long years of watching soccer, and it’s a coach that they insist will be sticking around.
Need more examples? How about this one about how tactics aren’t improving?
Or take a look outside of Burgundy Wave:
- In 2016, World Soccer Talk published an article that titled Colorado’s on track to become the laughing stock of Major League Soccer and call them “Chivas USA-esque.” (If you want to catch up on the downfall of Chivas, you can find an excellent in-depth piece here.)
- Just a month ago, Bobby Warshaw wrote a piece on MLSSoccer.com called What’s the plan in Colorado? Rapids struggling to find way forward.
So here we are. Sitting on a ridiculous losing streak. The Rapids also just terminated Stefan Aigner’s contract, so you can add him to the list of guys that we might as well have just burned the money rather than spending it on.
Earlier this year, I made the argument time and time again that it’s not fair to hold the current Technical Staff and Front Office responsible for what has been done before their time. I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so I’ll say that the Front Office has created several positions in an effort to make the team better. Since Ryan Madden joined the club, he’s been incredibly transparent with both the media and fans. With the creation of the U-23 team and at least a little more focus on finding young talent, I think the academy is starting to develop a bit more. Considering that the Rapids started 2018 with a new head coach, a dozen new players, and some new faces in the FO, we all expected an adjustment period.
But I don’t think anyone (Rapids included) expected this. And at the end of the day, we want results on the pitch. We want people to take responsibility.
Instead, we hear the same things over and over again. We see that the Rapids are actually spending money but not well. We hear that it will take 3-4 more transfer windows to get the team where they want it to be. We have a non-existent owner whose son doesn’t even mention the Rapids in an article about the teams they own in Denver. Worst of all, we continue to see the same results on the pitch.
We just want someone—anyone—to say: “We messed up. We over-promised and under-delivered and here are the steps for how we plan to fix it.”
To some, it may sound like I’m just piling it on like everyone else, but we all want the same thing. We really do. Fans are desperate for a team we can be proud of, and I genuinely believe the players want to give us that. No one in the organization enjoys losing, but obviously there is something that is not working and quite frankly, it’s no wonder MLS pundits don’t take the Rapids seriously.
It’s embarrassing and infuriating that we have been in the same position year after year FOR YEARS.
Maybe at some point, Major League Soccer will say enough is enough and step in and do something about this. But until then, it’s hard to believe that anything will change anytime soon. And as a fan, that’s heartbreaking.