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#CHIvCOL Rapid Fire: Those who bleed burgundy are being drained dry

Something has make the bleeding stop for Colorado Rapids and their supporters. But how?

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Chicago Fire Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

And so Rapids supporters once again sit on a Monday morning discouraged, once again in the wake of a loss—this time to the Chicago Fire, to the tune of 4-1. Yes, the weather was windy. Yes, the pitch was dry and unpredictable. And yes, Rapids supporters find their club in the midst of a third significant losing streak in less than a year-and-a-half.

It is possible to love a club, but still question the direction of the club; to bleed burgundy, but feel drained dry. We know that ups and downs come. We also are aware that the supporters are not the ones on the pitch, but the players and coaches who prepare and play. We get that.

But our heads are not in the clouds. The support, in my opinion, works both ways. Fans come to cheer on their club, and out of gratitude those fans, the ownership and coaches and front office and players play not simply for the paycheck and the tax write-off, but out of gratitude to the fans.

In a rare show of frustration, I posted a thread about my beloved club, as a call for someone to do something. Granted, rants usually only make the one ranting feel better, but the ones on the receiving end or caught in the crossfire rarely benefit. But allow me to interact with, well, myself, in regards to a couple of tweets.

Sadly, it’s more of the same. I’m ready to write an article dissecting a win—but that’s something that hasn’t happened since the last game of last season.

Yes, Anthony Hudson has now managed over three significant losing streaks, along with the abysmal winning percentage. And, thanks to the Portland Timbers beating the Columbus Crew 3-1 on Saturday, the Colorado Rapids are now padding the basement of the Western Conference. Two points in eight games. After NYCFC beat D.C. United yesterday, the Rapids are officially the only team in MLS without a win.

Would they (we!) know what would happen if the purse strings were truly opened by ownership to find an MLS-experienced, MLS-successful coach who knew the league and had a strategy to succeed?

Tomorrow, we will read about each of the goals. And as you watch the highlights, notice how often Tommy Smith came up. But he did have company. The Rapids have given up 23 goals in eight games—23!! They are on pace to give up 97 goals this year. While it’s doubtful that they will stay on track for this amount (right?), the leaking of goals does not bode well.

Having said that, Sammy Vines’ energy at left back gives them hope. While time will tell if he is an improvement long term over Dillon Serna, his ability to stay with his man one-on-one is an improvement, even as he works on his backline positioning that has cost the Rapids.

The Chicago Cubs went a loooong time between winning the World Series (108 years), but the fanbase stayed with them for all through these lean years. A few National League Central division titles here and there gave them just enough hope to keep them hooked. One wonders how many years they would have stayed if they had dwelt on the bottom for years on end.

Yet, the piece that’s a part of this is the community the supporters have in the ups and downs. But are we really willing to lean into languishing in the lower levels of the league? That’s a hard sell.

Kroenke Sports Entertainment (KSE) gush over the Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Arsenal (EPL), and the Los Angeles Rams (NFL). Every time Rapids supporters seem Stan or Josh present at a match of any of these other teams is another stick-in-the-eye reminder that, as my friend Chip Thomas noted, the Rapids come off as a tax write-off for KSE.

Seriously, would fellow Rapids supporters ever expect an ownership so engaged that they are true supporters of the club?

See? I told you. More of the same. Coaching, backline issues, lack of engagement by the ownership.

I’ll leave with this:

This is our club, yes! We care! But there is a legacy in professional sports of ownership neglecting the teams they own, or of not being aware of the situation of the club. This is the lot of the Rapids right now. In the meantime, finding a coach willing to come to the Rapids to take on the project of rebuilding this team in such a climate and culture would be a great challenge.

And I will tell you this: if this club invested in coaching, fan experience, and involvement from ownership, this would be met with such joy and gratitude from the fans, that the ownership and front office would see a supporters group even stronger and more robust!

The supporters are here! What’s next?