Playing a match at 1:30 pm in Colorado on any day between the months of June and September will make a bake and beat on any supporter around (thanks so much, Univision Deportes). Such was the cast on a hot and miserable afternoon weather-wise, and a miserable afternoon on the pitch as the home team Colorado Rapids suffered a 3-0 defeat to Supporter Shield contender Atlanta United FC.
Just as everyone in Dick’s Sporting Goods Park looked to find some sort of shade, the Rapids are still looking to find some sort of offense. The seats were empty, and so were the nets (at least for our side). And so is the hope for any turnaround for the Rapids in 2018 and even 2019.
Here are some takeaways on and off the pitch. Sadly, it’s more of the same, so some of these will venture outside the pitch.
- In the last four games, opponents have outscored the Rapids by a touchdown and two field goals, 13-0. The Rapids outshot Atlanta 18-8, yet, Atlanta’s efficiency won the day with six on target (and again, three in the back of the net), compared to three on target for the Rapids.
- Supporters (and specifically, season ticket holders) have observed that the Rapids have not only not won a game but haven’t scored since the season ticket renewal date passed. And now the club is advertising for season tickets, urging folks to sign up before the price rises. This has to be a frustrating exercise for all, given that the window for selling these products comes at a monumental slide of the team—especially given the numerous 2018 season ticket holders that decided not to renew for 2019.
- It was also frustrating to have a nationally televised game that not only saw the home team soundly defeated but the stands empty (see above). Being at the game and that this was a record-setting temperature for Denver, folks were scooting to find some shade to get away from the oppression—us included. But it sure added to the ridicule that comes the Rapids’ way from friend and foe alike.
- San Jose fired Head Coach Mikael Stahre yesterday and Assistant Coach Alex de Crook. With Sigi Schmid also leaving the LA Galaxy, many Rapids supporters are surprised that Anthony Hudson is still the manager here in Colorado. In a recent article in ProSoccerUSA, he noted: “I sort of feel uncomfortable in these interviews because I’m probably not the most liked person in the place right now, and I understand why; it’s been a frustrating season.” He continues to laud the team in practice, but obviously whatever Hudson is seeing (or thinks he’s seeing) is not translating to the pitch. “I know it’s not always visible externally, but one thing I can say for certain is we are building the team the right way,” Hudson said. “We’re only a few players away from being a really strong team. One thing I do know is the way we’re setting our stall out in terms of how we want to play, in terms of the style, I know it’s going to bring us a lot of success.”
- Hudson could be right about this, but his glaring lack of coaching on a club level seems is significant right now and one wonders if he really knows what winning is like. We hear how hard the club is working to set a good direction for the club, and this may be the best club he’s ever coached, but even his winning percentage with the New Zealand National Team was low and suspect. Padraig Smith plucked him like he has other men on the roster with a hope that they are ‘diamonds in the rough.’
- The Rapids need to spend the money to buy proven players who know how to win (and score). The key player that the Rapids brought in in 2016, besides Tim Howard (although Zac MacMath was playing quite well in goal) was Jermaine Jones. Yes, his tweet 40 seconds after the loss to Seattle in the Western Conference finals left a bad taste in many supporters’ mouths, but he did bring leadership, grit, expertise, and a proven winning track record. This has not happened in 2017 or 2018.
- It feels like the supporter base is broken into little pieces. Even those who work to support and defend the team are basement level low. And now, looking at the remaining schedule, where will the points come from? Next week, the Rapids travel to Columbus to take on the Crew, then across country to Seattle to face the Sounders, then back home to host Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). Then off to Minnesota, then to San Jose, then closing out the season at home against FC Dallas at home. Even the most optimistic supporter will struggle to see more than a handful of points coming. And even if they get five points, that leaves the Rapids at the end of the year with record-low 29 points.
Questions for readers:
- What proven player would you like to see join the Rapids from the free agency heap?
- Those of you who renewed your season tickets, why did you do so? (And I did renew, so I’ll put my answer later on in the comments section.)