Friday, September 22, 2017

Wet Night Tomorrow

Colorado is in Vancouver tomorrow night.  Not only is this the wettest fixture in MLS (Rapids and Whitecaps both being water features) but I'll be missing it as I sit int he forecast rain at Folsom Field as I watch my Washington Huskies hopefully repeat their performance against CU in the Pac-12 Championship Game last season.  Either way, its going to be wet.  Kickoff tomorrow (for both games) is at 8pm and the Rapids game is on Altitude (UW-CU is on FS1).

Kevin Doyle is out for this one due to his ongoing concussion symptoms.  Otherwise the Rapids are at full strength.  Of course that doesn't mean our best XI will start as Smith and Cooke try to figure out who's going to be around next season.  The turf at BC Place may also throw a wrench into who starts.  Vancouver has two players out injured, one questionable, and one player suspended.

If you remember, Vancouver was the site of Gashi's Goal of the Year last season.  Axel Sjoberg has also scored twice against Vancouver (once with a broken wrist), so we tend to have some luck against them.

Prediction: 2-1 loss, goal by Aigner.  Vancouver has a much better offense but a pretty similar defense to us.  I think both team can score but Vancouver will control the game and with the home field advantage, get the win.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Coaching Update

We got our first coaching news today from a variety of sources.  I think this MLSSoccer.com article covers it all.  4 people have been talked to about the job but likely they aren't the short list of candidates.  This is a good thing because 3 of the 4 names make me sign and think "same old Rapids" and the fourth, while interesting, doesn't seem like a home run hire.  Lets go through these names:

Cesar Farias - The most interesting name of the bunch.  He was the Venezuela National Team coach for 6 years and got them to the Copa America semifinals for the first and only time.  He also coached in Mexico and most recently in Bolivia.  He's certainly got a wide range of experience and is used to "punching above his weight" like he would need to do here.

Henning Berg - No.  Just no.  As a Blackburn fan I watched him come in and take the team from a playoff position to 17th place in the Championship in 10 games, winning once and losing six.  He hasn't made it through 2 full seasons at any of his last 3 jobs (including Rovers where he lasted a team-record low 57 days) before being sacked.

Josh Wolff and Jeremy Gunn - I grouped these two together because they have the same issue.  They would be getting their first professional managerial experience if the team hired them.  After three straight coaches getting their first pro experience (Pablo, Pareja, Smith) the last thing we need is another "learning on the job" manager.

The good news from the article is that the team has a goal of hiring a manager by November 1st.  That's a big change from last time where Pablo was signed on the opening day of the season.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Rapids Continue Non-Losing Ways

My Friday prediction:
1-1 draw, goal by Badji.  The altitude and missing players will weaken NYCFC just enough for us to snag a point but it won't be pretty.
And that's exactly what happened.  NYCFC went up early after Watts fell and Ford and Azira didn't close in on McNamara which let him get a long-distance strike off.  Howard got a hand to it but could only push it into the bottom of the crossbar where it bounced in.  After that it was pretty bleh soccer, though surprisingly at half the Rapids had to shots on target to NYCFC's 1 (I'm not sure when the last time the Rapids had more shots on goal at half than the opponent).  The second half was more of the same until very late when Badji got behind the defense on a long run and slotted it him home for his team-leading 8th goal of the season.  Credit to Dom, in past years he would have screwed the chance up and its another example of his improvement this season.

The game really changed for the Rapids around the 65th minute when Gashi and Aigner were both subbed in.  Aigner has yet to start and Gashi has not been starting much lately.  I realize that the focus in these last 6 games will be on evaluating players for next season but we shouldn't completely throw away results (especially since the fans are still paying for the tickets) so seeing our best players start more often than not should be the expectation.

The rapids now need 6 points in the last 6 games to avoid their worst ever pts/game total.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Tonight's Rapids Game A New First For Me

Tonight the Rapids host the second best team in the league, NYCFC.  Last time we saw them was in Yankee stadium last year where they put a 5-1 beat down on us.  That was almost a sixth of all the goal we allowed last season and by far our worst performance.  NYCFC is right where they were last year, 2nd place in the East, while the Rapids are on the other end of the table.  Tonight's game is at 7pm with the call on Altitude.

I'll be watching on Altitude, not at the game.  For the first time since 2008 (before I first got season tickets) the Rapids are playing at home, I don't have plans, and I'm not going.  This season has beaten my interest out of me.  Some friends will also not be there tonight and I had a choice between staying home and listening to Bob Rondeau's final season calling the Washington Huskies as they host Fresno State or watching the Rapids play ineffective soccer against a good team and hoping to eek out a draw.  I'm going with the former and I'll multi-task to watch both the Huskies and Rapids at the same time.

Bobby Burling is questionable for the Rapids but everyone else is available.  The big question is will Aigner finally start a game?  NYCFC is down 7 players, including David Villa, with an 8th questionable.  If we're going to take on a good team, now's the time to take them on.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Badji.  The altitude and missing players will weaken NYCFCc just enough for us to snag a point but it won't be pretty.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Rapids Snap Winless Streak With Surprise Win

The Rapids last road win?  Houston (last year).  The Rapids last home win? Houston (in July).  So of course we should have seen this surprise win coming.  Colorado seems to have Houston's number but it wasn't exactly exciting soccer.  We saw our first real glimpse of what Aigner can bring to this team, his perfect cross to Badji to set up the winning (and only) goal is a pass we haven't seen often as Rapids fans.  That was only the 3rd shot on goal of the night though and Houston also only had 3.  Kortne Ford had a good game on defense.

While the win is always welcome and needed, the main difference between this game and the last couple is that Houston played no better than us, which at least kept it competitive.  Offensively there was no difference this week, other than Aignr's pass, to what we've been seeing.

The Rapids now need 7 points in the last 7 games to avoid their worst pts/game ever.