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Game 10: Vancouver - The Turning Point

Tonight is a big game for the Burgundy Boys.

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

This weekend, the Colorado Rapids will be playing their 10th game of the season. For me, the 10-game mark is when you can really start talking about teams in terms of the numbers. It’s when things get a little bit more statistically significant when you can stop talking about one-off games and focus more on trends.

Our ‘Pids have played to an 0-7-2 record, putting us on track for an utterly dismal season with fewer than eight points. Good god. Here I was, ready to already call this season a failure and talk about how we’re on track for being the worst in MLS in several categories, and then the Rapids went and fired coach Hudson, making all of those stats pretty meaningless.

What hasn’t changed recently is our opponent, the Vancouver Whitecaps, so let’s talk about them instead, shall we?

Vancouver currently sits just above us, both in the Western Conference for 11th place and the overall standings for 23rd. They have earned only one win over their nine games, but it’s one more than we currently have. Their road record hasn’t been that good either, with three losses and only one tie... but again, better than ours. So based on that, it looks like we might be able to get three points this game.

The Whitecaps started off 2019 with a massive change in their roster—a sensible reaction to missing the playoffs (though only by two points). Their changes include many notable names, chief among them is the departure of Alphonso Davies, the 18-year old Canadian national team player who was bought by Bayern Munich for $13.5 million, a then MLS record. The other two important names are Nicolas Mezquida and Kei Kamara, who are now starting players for our team.

Regardless, they had a jaw-dropping TWENTY-ONE players leave. That’s an insane amount of turnover. In their place, they brought in a lot of players from outside of the league along with a few homegrown talents, and Colorado’s own Zac MacMath. Long story short, they look almost nothing like they did in 2018.

Vancouver has been playing in a 4-3-3 formation, though also played a 5-3-2 in Orlando that saw MacMath get the start in goal. Chances are, we’ll see Maxime Crepeau in goal tonight, though. The back line of Jake Nerwinski, Erik Godoy, Doneil Henry, and Ali Adnan have let in 12 goals so far this season, which is around average for this league (but half of what we’ve let in so far). Their midfield includes Inbeom Hwang, a Young Designated Player from South Korea. Their attacking lineup has been a largely rotating series of players, but among them are DPs Fredy Montero and Joaquin Ardaiz. Whoever we’ll see, they’ve only let in seven goals so far, good for a “lowest in the Western Conference” award.

Truth is, I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this game. With Hudson getting shown the door, the team will have had less than a week to make adjustments under interim coach Conor Casey. While Casey’s time on the field was absolutely legendary for Rapids fans, will that success translate to his time as a head coach? I think that it would be absolutely huge for the Burgundy Boys to get a win out of this game, partly to show the fans that there still is something to see with this team in 2019, and partly to really highlight why it was a good decision to fire Hudson.