Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rapids "Seriously" Bow Out of the Cup, Again

The Rapids lost 1-0 to the Sounders last night, knocking them out of the U.S. Open Cup for the 14th straight year, and for the second straight year we fail to even make the USOC proper. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, even including qualifiers the Rapids have only made it past the second game twice. Once in their run to the Cup Final in 1999 and in 2007 when they beat FSL in a qualifier, beat the California Victory in the last USOC game we hosted, then lost that wonderful 5-0 game in Seattle.

I'm not going to say much about the match. With an audiocast you can't really tell much about how the game went. What I will say is this, Gary Smith, Paul bravo, and Jeff Plush all talked about how Smith was going to take this competition "seriously" this year and how the chance to win any Cup was important to the new coaching staff. When push came to shove though the Rapids rolled out a lineup of young guys while Seattle put out Kasey Keller in net and 3 other starters from the Saturday match. Then when the team was down 1-0 in the 70th minute Smith pulled attacking midfielder Ciaran O'Brien and forward Ross Schunk and replaced them with defenders Scott Palguta and Jordan Harvey. Meanwhile he dragged Omar Cummings and Colin Clark to Seattle, dressed them for the game, but apparently figured a 1-0 deficit with 20 minutes left wasn't the time to use them.

Somehow I don't see this as evidence that they took the USOC "seriously". If the Rapids don't want to focus on the USOC that's fine, but don't tell us you're going to take it "seriously". I had high hopes for the Rapids to go deep in the competition this year. I figured a coaching staff like Gary Smith and Steve Guppy saw the value in our version of the FA Cup. They said all the right things about wanting to focus on any chance of winning a competition. Turns out its the same old same old from the Rapids in the USOC. Next time Rapids, if you think the league is more important just say so. We may not agree with you, but at least we won't get our hopes up.


B! said...

It is a complete joke. Those were egregious and unacceptable substitutions. If they are so interested in getting their backups some minutes wouldn't it be worthwhile to get into the tournament and make a run for it?

If they are worried about a completely empty stadium, why not hold the game at DU or something similar to the Sounders.

Just when I feel the organization is turning a corner, something like this happens. As a fan, I feel completely screwed over. Stan Kroenke doesn't deserve any success with the Nuggets or Arsenal until the Rapids are run like a team that cares about winning, everything.

Prost Amerika said...

I was at the game covering it and I have to say I was both relieved and surprised when the third substitute wasn't Omar Cummmings.

By the last 10 minutes, my overriding feeling is just that neither side wanted extra time. Gregory Richardson caused us some problems and one or two of the offside calls that reined him in looked close.

That also said, Sounders only played the starters they did because they had to, with a couple of guys unfit fir action suited up on the bench just to make the numbers look good.

Sounders were probably just worth their narrow victory but the whole evening merely served to underline that this competition needs a shake-up.

Perhaps selling TV rights very cheaply to a cable channel might help. Visiting managers will at least know that their selections will be seen by their fan base, and progress in the competition will bring a small financial dividend.