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#COLvSEA Takeaway (7.4.2018): Attacking Lacking Up the Middle for the Colorado Rapids

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The Rapids have the wings covered—but an attacking option is needing in the middle.

While Dick’s Sporting Goods Park provided some fantastic fireworks after the game, the Seattle Sounders provided more fireworks than our Colorado Rapids (4-10-3, 11th place in the West) did in a 2-1 loss on Wednesday. Here are some takeaways from the match:

  1. Seattle capitalized on their only two shots on target (twelve shots in total). The Rapids had ten shots total, with five on target.
  2. Those watching the game may be surprised that the Rapids had 45% of the possession. For the vast majority of the first half, Seattle had control of possession. It was only when Castillo’s pass found the head of Sam Nicholson did the Rapids come to life.
  3. We do not need heat maps to realize that the Rapids rely almost exclusively on their wing play. When the offense moves up the middle, they instinctively and immediately put the ball out to the wings and, thus, rely on the cross. The Rapids are most effective on a giveaway by the opponents that allows them to counter. Yet, does the offense have a ‘play’ in the run-of-play where they can attack up the middle?
  4. On the second goal by Will Bruin, Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard made a terrible error by sending the ball down the middle in traffic. Shkelzen Gashi had to make a perfect touch from a short, hot goal kick from Howard. As a result, this was a disaster and proved to be the difference. The way the Rapids are playing, there can be zero margin for error, but these lapses are adding logs to the fire that is the 2018 season.
  5. On a positive note, how good was it seeing Gashi running around the pitch with such energy! Yet, Rapids supporters would hope that Coach Hudson is not asking him to play so deep on offense. Yet on this play, we see that he was not far off from doing what he did in 2016 (and the shot was from distance in the middle). Hopefully this was just rust!
  6. Michael Azira stood in for Jack Price who missed the match due to yellow card accumulation. Azira did well, providing numerous clearances in the box (due to the Sounders setting up house in the 18 for the first forty minutes of the match).
  7. The Rapids accumulated 23 fouls and six yellow cards on the night, in comparison to 10 fouls and one yellow for the Sounders. Yannick Boli’s yellow was almost red, but VAR ruled against it—but that did not stop MLS from using Boli’s challenge in their recent installment of You Make the Call. The MLS Disciplinary Committee will likely review this. Stay tuned folks.
  8. The Rapids travel to Montreal to face the 7th place Eastern Conference foe Montreal Impact (7-11-0—that’s right, 18 games and no draws). The last time the Rapids ventured north of the border was this past Sunday, where they scraped out a 1-0 win in Vancouver—their first road win of the year.
  9. The Transfer Window opens July 10 and closes August 8. Rapids supporters hope that the front office brings in some help. If not, many of us would ask the Front Office to take on a new direction: play the kids. The U-23s are doing quite well. Let’s give them a chance with some MLS experience and see what the future holds, especially given the present run of form.

What were your takeaways?