Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Moving On From Minnesota To Salaries

And that's really all we need to say about that game.  It was that bad.  At this point other than Howard, MacMath (who was MOTM), and Sjoberg the Rapids look like a team of replacement-level players with a replacement-level coach.

So we'll move on to something a bit more interesting.  The annual salary release.  Here are the Rapids salaries.  The first number is the base salary, the second number is the 2017 guaranteed compensation.  Neither one are the true "salary cap" number but that number is usually somewhere in-between the two.

Adjei-Boateng Bismark M $300,000.00 $341,246.00
Azira Michael M $110,000.00 $116,625.00
Badji Dominique F $65,000.00 $65,000.00
Berner John GK $66,150.00 $66,150.00
Burling Bobby D $120,000.00 $126,000.00
Calvert Caleb F $100,000.00 $107,500.00
Castillo Dennis D $54,075.00 $54,075.00
Da Fonte Mike D $65,004.00 $65,004.00
Doyle Kevin F $1,000,000.00 $1,045,000.00
Ford Kortne D $69,996.00 $76,996.00
Gashi Shkelzen F $1,575,000.00 $1,668,750.00
Gatt Joshua M $175,008.00 $193,508.00
Gordon Alan F $180,000.00 $180,000.00
Hairston Marlon D-M $110,004.00 $110,004.00
Hamilton Sam M $65,004.00 $65,004.00
Howard Tim GK $2,000,000.00 $2,475,000.00
MacMath Zac GK $150,000.00 $150,000.00
Miller Eric D $75,553.75 $86,553.75
Perez Ricardo M $53,004.00 $54,254.00
Powers Dillon M $295,000.00 $325,000.00
Ramirez Juan Edgardo M $100,000.00 $100,000.00
Saeid Mohammed M $160,000.00 $170,000.00
Serna Dillon M $72,600.00 $85,600.00
Sjoberg Axel D $108,350.00 $123,350.00
Watts Jared D-M $75,000.00 $75,000.00
Williams Mekeil D $110,000.00 $115,000.00

Howard, Gashi, and Doyle only hit the cap at $380K, the rest being covered by TAM and DP money.  There are (at least) two caveats.  One, we know Minnesota is picking up part of Gatt's salary, reportedly a large part.  Second, TAM was used to purchase Boateng so we don't know how much of the $300K plus transfer fee is really hitting the cap.

Assuming Minnesota's contribution cancels out whatever additional Boateng is costing we're at about $3.6M against the salary cap of $3.85M.  So we have a bit of wiggle room after the trade with Minnesota.  All combined the Rapids have the 9th biggest salary total in the league, which is surprising, especially for the (lack of) quality w'ere getting.  Boateng's $300K is higher than I expected, I figured he'd be closer to $200K.  Azira got a deserved bump to 6 figures this year.  No real surprises anywhere else on the roster.

Some notes from the rest of the league.  Burch is making $135K and Cronin $300K this year which makes the trade $100K in our favor plus whatever Minnesota is paying of Gatt's salary.  So it did free up cap room, though we have not used it yet.  Also Jermaine Jones has the same base salary as last year but LA are giving him and addition $75K guaranteed over last year so somehow after only playing 8 games he got a raise.  Its hard to argue with the Rapids not re-signing him given that.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Rapids Face Old Friends

Looney Tunes' Shirley "the Loon" McLoon

Back at it on Sunday with our first ever trip to the state of Minnesota to take on one of the expansion Uniteds.  The news this week was not good with the report that Boateng will miss 8-10 weeks minimum with a back fracture.  Combined with our other injuries and suspensions we'll see a very different lineup this weekend.  Of course, on the other side, we'll see Cronin and Burch again.  Two players we could realy use now.  Kickoff is Sunday at 4 and the game is on Altitude.

Player Availability:
Injury Report:
OUT: GK John Berner (wrist); D Axel Sjoberg (hamstring surgery); M Nana Boateng (back)
DOUBTFUL: M Dillon Serna (calf); F Alan Gordon (hamstring)

Suspensions: GK Tim Howard (2 more games); D Jared Watts (1 game)

This week on the ever changing injury reports shows either 2, 3, or 5 Rapids listed depending on which one you read.  None are a surprise at this point.  Minnesota is missing 4 players it appears.  My guess at the XI:

To be honest though there are very few names on the roster I couldn't create a scenario for Pablo starting.  This seems the most likely but nothing really would surprise me Sunday.  Well, a non 4-2-3-1 formation would surprise me.

Prediction: 2-1 loss, goal by Badji.  Minnesota's defense is awful so we should be able to score, but our defense is a shell of what it was so I doubt our ability to stop much of anything.  Add in travel and the turf field and I don't see any points in this one.

Monday, April 17, 2017

And before you know it, we're flying backwards

Bonus points to anyone who can name the series above (which this post's title comes from)

Yep, another game, another defensive meltdown, another loss.  We've gone from a historic home defense (7 goals allowed in 34 games, a league record) to one that's allowed over half of that in just 3 games.  Meanwhile the defense averages almost a shot on goal per game less than any other team and half of the best team (approx. 2.5 to 5).  This is a team that's gone backwards on defense and offense from last season, which has lead to the worst start of Pablo's tenure with the most goals allowed in the first 5 games since 2007.

This game encapsulated the issues we're seeing this season.  Once again we had multiple chances and couldn't finish more than one of them. Full credit to Doyle for a great header for the goal off of some nice work by Boateng and Hairston.  The lack of an attack allowed FSL to push further and further forward in the last minutes of the game and our weakened defense broke.  A clear handball lead to a PK and red card for Jared Watts, followed by slopping defending from the defensive midfield and FSL waked out as the first regular season road winners at the Dick in about 18 months.

The worst part about it is that this wasn't a poor performance by the team as a whole.  The team played fairly close to their abilities.  They got sloppy late but generally this team isn't built to win in MLS this year, especially after the trade.  Pablo's coaching isn't helping but at this point we just need to accept that's not going to change.  In fact nothing is going to change until the Front Office does.  This team is suffering from the FO's decision to sit on their hands in the offseason, then dismantle the defense just a few games into the season.  Until the FO can come up with a stable long-term plan they are capable of executing this team is going to need moments of fluke runs to have any chance of being anything more than a "squeak into the playoffs" team. 

Man of the Match: Centennial 38.  The fans deserved better in a home Rocky Mountain Cup match than they got.

Friday, April 14, 2017

First Round Of The 2017 Rocky Mountain Cup

FSL, I hate these guys

Well the Howard news certainly puts a damper on this game.  Its pretty much a must win game for the hopes of this season though.  A flat game like we saw in KC and you have to start questioning what our chances really are this season.  At home against our rival I expect to see fire and better play.  Kickoff tomorrow is at 7pm so the tailgate starts at 4.  If you can't make it the game is on Altitude.

Player Availability:
Injury Report:
OUT: GK John Berner (wrist); D Axel Sjoberg (hamstring surgery)
DOUBTFUL: M Dillon Serna (calf); F Alan Gordon (hamstring)

Suspensions: GK Tim Howard (3 games)

The injury report continues to be a joke.  Gordon is on the Rapids report but not MLS's, erner is on MLS's report but not the Rapids.  One uses questionable, one uses doubtful.  Needles to say, I don't think we'll see any of those 4.  I wonder if Mizell is getting an emergency callup for 3 games.  FSL has 8 players questionable or worse.  My guess at the XI:

The only real change I could see would be if Ford gets the start again but after last week I think Pablo will go back to Burling.

Prediction: 1-0 win, goal  by Hairston.  This seems really optimistic but FSL might be worse than us and their banged up and on the road.  Regardless I'm not expecting stunning soccer tomorrow.  This could be very ugly regardless of the score.

Howard Suspended 3 Games

MLS has just announced that Tim Howard has been suspended for 3 games.  The Rapids have issued a statement accepting the decision.  I won't link the video here, but there is footage from the supporters section behind Howard's goal in KC of him telling a fan he had...relations...with the fan's mother.

3 games is in line with MLS's actions in the past around incidents like this.  Colin Clark, while in Houston, got 3 games for swearing at a ball boy.  Alan Gordon, while in LA, got 3 games for a homophobic slur.  I'm sure a number of fans are upset with the league for this but really the only one at fault, and the only one to be upset with, is Howard.  It was unprofessional and stupid and he's cost his team dearly.

UPDATE: Apparently MLS has unreleased footage of Tim getting into a physical altercation with a fan in the tunnel after the game.  So, yeah, really nobody to blame on this except Tim.