Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Colorado Proves CCL Game Is Meaningless

Colorado faces Isidro Metapan tonight in El Salavador at 8pm MDT. The game is delayed until 10:30pm on FOX Soccer Channel but can be watched live on the CONCACAF Champions League site. The supporters groups are gathering at the British Bulldog for this one, presumably to watch the live stream on big screens.

The Rapids sent a mostly reserve squad to Metapan, with Cummings, Thompson, and Marshall as the only players who get regular playing time. Apparently the game is so unimportant that Gary Smith can't be bothered to travel, sending assistant coach Steve Guppy with the team to coach the game.

I actually agree that this game should have a lower priority. Our playoff chances are teetering on the edge while our odds of advancement in the CCL are very low. A loss in either of our next two games eliminates us, and even a draw makes it difficult. Getting wins in El Salvador and Mexico would be a long shot for a fully healthy Rapids squad, with the injuries and the importance of our remaining league games its time to punt. Had we started full lineups in either (or both) of the Real Espana games and gotten the wins that were there for the taking we'd be in a different situation, but since we didn't we need to move on from the CCL.

That said, its ridiculous that Gary Smith isn't with the team. He's the head coach and this is a first-team game. Unlike the players, the only physical exertion he has to perform at a game is to get off the bench to pass instructions once in a while. A flight to El Salvador and back shouldn't cause any problems with that. Its less than 200 miles further to Metapan from Denver than to Boston. If the Rapids had a midweek road match in New England, would he skip that as well?

Sending Omar Cummings, and to a lesser extent Wells Thompson, is also an odd choice. Cummings is our best healthy striker with more goals+assists than anyone on the team. Thompson is a backup, but with Jamie Smith having a history of pre-game injuries Wells has been pressed into service on a moments notice more than once. Now, with a critical league game on Saturday, he sends them both with the reserves to Metapan and says anyone on the trip won't play more than a substitute role on Saturday. So we can expect to see Folan and Nyassi up top and we have to hope Jamie Smith stays healthy.

Clearly this is a game Gary Smith has written off. If he can't be bothered to show up and support his team, why should I bother even watching it?

Prediction: 2-0 Rapids loss. A reserves team couldn't get it done against a weaker Real Espana team at home, there's no reason to think they can get it done in El Salvador.


Schmicker said...

not gonna lie. after reading your game preview, i knew the rapids were gonna win tonight.

i just assumed the reserve team would be fired up and get the job done.

Jester said...

So tell us Jason, how do you prefer your crow? ;)

Jason Maxwell said...

Oi! At least let me get the game-review up with the picture of my crow on a plate before you start in! ;)