This week is the Colorado Rapids’ most popular match of the year—the tradition of the July 4th home game followed by the state’s largest public fireworks show. With the stadium nearly guaranteed to be sold out, we’ll have more eyes on the team than ever before this year. But who are they facing on the field? Let’s take a look at the New England Revolution.
The Revs have made real headlines exactly once this year. On May 9th, after 14 games and only two wins, their head coach Brad Friedel was “relieved of his duties”. Shortly after, they signed arguably the biggest coaching name in American soccer—Bruce Arena. If that name brings the taste of bile to mind, he was the head coach for the USMNT during their disastrous failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Since then, he’s been mostly laying low and presumably trying to avoid most of the anger and frustration for the soccer community after the T&T game.
I understand it isn’t exactly fair to compare them to us right now since both teams are looking a lot better recently than historically, but I’m going to do it anyway. When Friedel left, the team was 3-8-2. Since then, they’ve risen to the comparably lofty heights of 2-0-3. Far from the epic tear we have been on and with a far more experienced coach. They’ve scored 20 goals this year while allowing 35. The ‘Pids have scored 28 goals while allowing 36. Not exactly a terribly impressive offense, putting them only ahead of Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati for most goals scored.
In his brief tenure with the team, Arena has been largely experimenting with the lineup. They have been mostly playing in a 4-1-4-1 formation, but the last two games have seen them trot out two slightly different 4-4-2 formations. The backline might see beloved former Rapids left back Edgar Castillo, but he has been noticeably absent from a few of the starting lineups the last several games. Their star player is currently their lone DP, Spanish striker Carles Gil who has scored four goals this year along with five assists. Good enough to put him as their Golden Boot winner currently, but nothing close to Kei Kamara’s eight goals.
I see a lot of similarities between us at this point in the season. Both teams are shaking off the last coach, both had incredibly poor defenses, both are now starting to come into their own. But right now? I have no doubt in my mind that we can end up with three points after the game. We have been playing like a brand new team, and we just beat the best team in the league by scoring on the best defense in the league while keeping the best offense in the league to a shutout. If that isn’t a confidence booster, I don’t know what is.
So let’s all enjoy a wonderful Independence Day and celebrate by handing the Revs a decisive loss.