Friday, September 18, 2020

Galaxy Tomorrow

With the news tonight I don't have it in me to do a normal game preview.  Kickoff is at 8:30pm in LA and TV is still screwed.  Oh, and we're going to lose.

Vote.  Vote like your life depends on it.  Because even if yours doesn't, odds are a family member's, friend's, coworker's, or employee's does.

Rapids In, Rapids Out

A couple of reported but not announced roster moves by the Rapids today.  The big one is that we've sent Kamara to Minnesota for a reported $150K in allocation money and United's 2nd round pick in 2022.

Obviously trading the best scorer in the last decade is a big move for the Rapids, but the comments Robun Fraser made after the trade suggests something was not right between Kamara and the locker room and/or coaches.  Fraser said "it was evident that it was time for a move" and some rumors suggest that Kamara was demanding to start the rest of the season post-MLS Is Back tournament.  Now both the Rapids and Kamara have histories of problems in the player/club relationship.  The list of players the Rapids have left go that later came out were unhappy is long, and Kamara has played for 10 teams before today and only once has he made it past 2 years with a team.  I doubt we'll ever get a real good feel for what happened here, but suffice it to say its quite likely that things weren't good and a change needed to be made.

The other piece of this puzzle is that Kamara's contract is expiring and only has 12 games left on it.  If he wasn't likely to start as the rumors suggest and recent games have shown, how much playing time was Kamara going to get in those 12 games?  Would that playing time have made the difference in this season being successful?  It seems unlikely.  He isn't even making a strong case to start, while his numbers are better than Shinyashiki the rest of the attacking players are all putting up numbers similar to his.

So we have a possibly unhappy player that isn't likely to turn this season around and isn't an obvious starter.  Trading him is a logical step then.  Of course all those things also impact what we can get for him, driving down his price.  Despite that I would have liked to see us do a bit better than $125K in allocation money and a draft pick that we're likely to get no value out of.  Kamara is the 5th leading goal scorer in MLS history and has been successful wherever he's gone, at least in the first season.  I was really hoping to see us hit 200K at least.  In the end this is a pretty meh trade where we dump salary and potentially a problem player and get some value out of him, but doesn't help us greatly short or long term.

The other reported news just broke but the team has apparently signed 33 year old free agent fullback Steven Beitashour.  He's spent the last 10 years playing for San Jose, Toronto (where he was coached by Fraser), Vancouver, and LAFC and represented Iran at the 2014 World Cup, though didn't get any playing time.  This is a solid backup signing, giving some experience to the outside of the defense and somebody reliable when Rosenberry or (more likely) Vines needs a night off.  But that's all it is.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

I Think We've Been Here Before Too...

Well, any hope we had turned a corner in Sandy over the weekend were dismissed by the Rapids play last night.  A 4-1 loss and a second half where the team was just run over means that we failed in reaching the bare minimum of 7 points in the 6 Phase 1 games and we're currently no longer in a playoff position.  We now need 5 points in the upcoming 3 games to get back above the Bodmer Line.

The first half had some similarities to the Houston game, as a fan in the Facebook discussion pointed out.  Colorado had good control of the match, made some chances, but couldn't finish.  And much like the Houston game Dallas got a goal against the run of play to take a lead into the locker room.

The second half was a lot like the first FSL game, where we just folded.  Dallas got two goals in the first 15 minutes of the half and that was the game.  Shinyashiki got one back for the Rapids, giving fans slight hope, but Dallas closed that door with another goal about 15 minutes after it.  Colorad outshot Dallas 22-15, but Dallas had the edge in shots on target 7-5.

This game featured a new core in defense. with Trusty and Moor starting in front of Irwin in net.  It didn't work.  A number of fans have suggested Trusty should be starting over Wilson and/or Irwin should be seeing more time.  Last night t hey showed why they weren't getting much playing time.  Irwin was slow to react and had questionable positioning, while Trusty didn't add much either on defense or going forward.

Not that they were only to blame.  They didn't get much help from the midfield in front of them.  Somehow Jack Price, who carries a reputation for a bit of a harsh tackle, didn't get called for a single foul all night.  I don't remember the ref swallowing his whistle either.  For whatever reason Price was standing off far too much last night, and Acosta wasn't doing much better.  Meanwhile in the attack Namli had the quietest night we've seen so far and Lewis was ineffectual as a starter.  He is much better as a super sub off the bench where he can use all his energy in a limited time than trying to pace himself for 90 minutes.

Its off to LA to face the Galaxy on Saturday, then home to see KC and SJ.  We need a win and two draws or two wins to stay in the playoff hunt.  We need to win all three if we're going to live up to the "Rapids Way" mentality we were promised in 2020, but at this point, at the middle of the rearranged season of 23 games, its pretty clear we're not getting that.

Man of the Match: Andre Shinyahiki.  Yeah, I took the easy route on this one and picked the goal scorer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

I Think We've Been Here Before....

In Dallas on a Wednesday night after a blowout game against FSL.  Wait, this seems familiar.  It was three weeks ago that the Rapids had gone to Dallas after getting blown out by FSL on the weekend.  The players refused to play that game to support the protests in Kenosha and the greater movement for racial justice.  Tomorrow night they're back in Dallas but this time they're coming off blowing out FSL on the weekend.  Needless to say the whole tone around the game feels better.  Kickoff tomorrow is at 6:30pm and you know the deal with TV.

Even though this is the middle of our 7 games in just over 3 weeks I think Fraser is going to want to keep things a similar as he can given the success on Saturday.  Lewis for Shinyashiki might be the only change, though I expect liberal subbing in the second half like we saw on Saturday.  Otherwise I think we'll ride the success as long as we can.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Kamara.  Dallas has a good defense but a meh offense.  Outside of Saturday our offense is pretty similar to theirs.  We've got tome confidence now, so I think we can score one, but not more than that.  It will be late and probably off of Kei's head.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Do You Believe In Miracles? Yes!


Yeah, I never saw that coming.  In one of the great Rapids regular season games of all-time the burgundy boys went into Sandy, Utah and ran the locals out of town.  Then they took our Cup back and came home.  Just a few of the historic stats from Saturday night:

  • Biggest win in team history
  • Sixth time the Rapids scored 5 goals in a match (plus the Montreal game last year where we scored 6)
  • Second time the Rapids scored 5 goals on the road (5-4 win at RBNY in 2008)
  • First time we ever led FSL by more than 2 at any point in a game
  • First time we ever scored more than 3 against FSL
  • First win at Rio Tinto Stadium
  • First time two homegrown players scored in the same game (Vines and Bassett)
It was also FSL's worst home loss in its history.  Interestingly, both teams are now responsible for the other's worst home loss.  Along with the 3 points the 5 goals meant that the Rapids outscored FSL 6-4 over the two games and won the Rocky Mountain Cup.  Colorado also jumped up to a playoff spot on PPG.  I said that to maintain a playoff spot we needed 7 points out of the 6 Phase 1 games, and we currently have 6 with one game remaining.  So we're meeting the minimum expectation at this point and are now undefeated in the last 4 games.

Clearly with a win this big everyone did a great job so its hard to call out any one thing, but there are a few moments to highlight.  Sam Vines got his first career goal after Namli once again broke some ankles for his second assist of the night.  Jeremy Kelly slalomed through the FSL defense to set up Bassett's goal.  Braian Galvan had his first MLS goal and somehow didn't have a second, hitting the post from 5 feet when the goal was wide open.  Honestly when that happened I thought our RMC curse had gotten us again and we were going to give up a Cup winning goal in another heartbreaker instead of salting it away by going up an extra goal.  A really important note, the ages of the players that appeared on the scoresheet (goals or assists) were 19, 19, 21, 22, 26,  and 27.  Collen Warner's 13 minutes at age 32 was the only player over the age of 28 to see the field.  The kids are all right.

I wanted to give Lalas Abubakar a shout-out after being on him for some poor performances.  He was everywhere on defense on Saturday night, and more than once threw himself in front of shots to keep the shutout.  Because of his work, and the rest of the defense, Yarbrough only faced two shots on target, both easy saves.

Man of the Match:  Diego Rubio, obviously.  He became the first Rapid to score two goals in one game against FSL.  Doing it inside the first 10 minutes of the match was just the cherry on top.  But even after the second goal I don't think anyone really believed we were going to find the two more we needed to get the Cup, much less 3.