Monday, March 10, 2014

Questions As We Start The Season

Opening week (at least for the Rapids)!  I'll have a couple (2 or 3 including this one) of season preview-type posts this week before the game preview on Friday, assuming there isn't larger news to cover.  For this one I want to cover some of the bigger questions the club has going into the season.

1. For the 3rd time in 6 years the team will have a coach in his first season.  How will Pablo do?
  • I think we have to accept that, yet again, we're going to see a learning curve with our coaching staff.  There are some things that Mastroeni just isn't going to figure out until they happen in a game.  The key will be not to out-think himself.  Getting tricky with lineups and subs is a good example.  We can all point to games under Gary Smith and Oscar Pareja where its obvious the coach over thought things.
2. What are we doing with Matt Pickens?
  • We're not going to keep 4 goalkeepers on the roster.  Irwin is clearly the starter and Nasco and Berner were just signed.  So there's really not a spot for Pickens.  Unfortunately everyone else knows that, which puts the Rapids at a disadvantage when trying to trade or sell him.  What's the plan?
3. Who's playing right back, and where's the depth?
  • Last year right back was a combination of Wynne, Mullan, and stop gap measures.  This year early on it appears to be Wynne, O'Neill and stop gap measures.  I'm not sure Wynne is the answer, and I know O'Neill is better at CB, where he was playing during his Nats callup.  Will the Rapids need to make a move for a true right back at some point this season?
4. Can we get Sanchez and Powers on the field together?
  • In preseason both of these guys seemed to be the midfield general when they played, and both played well.  Assuming they stay healthy, is there a successful way to have both of them on the field?
5. How fit is Buddle?
  • Last year Buddle, due to his knee injury (generously) or lack of discipline (not generously), took almost half the season to get fit and his play (and Rapids results) suffered for it.  Reports from preseason are that he looks much better than this time last season, so is he really ready to go?  As the only real target striker on the roster we're going to need him at 100% from the start.
6. Will Gaby Torres live up to his DP status?
  • Making only 7 appearances last season really didn't let Torres get into the groove with the team.  Even so he put up 3 goals and an assist.  As the DP though, he's going to be expected to be the scoring engine for the team, can he do it?
There are plenty of other questions (less than 1 full MLS season combined at GK, was Eloundou worth the wait, Samuel Galindo) but these seem like the big ones. 

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