Monday, August 4, 2014

Quite A 48 Hours

I'm going to dispense with the actual game review as A. the game stunk and that's all that really needs to be said and B. the aftermath says more about what's going on with the Rapids than the game itself.

In his post game interview Pablo Mastroeni had a number of alarming comments.  Two in particular that stood out:
“I'm not worried about the trophy, the Rocky Mountain Cup,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said after the loss. “I'm worried about building something that's sustainable. Then all the hardware and all that other stuff will be a byproduct of that. Can't put the cart before the horse.”
“Minus the better part of the first 15 minutes, we handled ourselves real well, created some great opportunities, had a lot of great chances in the first half to do something with it, just that final touch, that final pass wasn't there tonight,” Mastroeni said.
Both from the Denver Post recap of the game.

Apparently the interview was part of the post-game show on Altitude (which, being at the stadium, I didn't see) and reportedly Pablo was offered multiple chances to clarify his statements that he did not take.

Rapids supporters, including myself, were livid about these quotes.  This led to a Saturday evening and Sunday full of heated discussions in online forums.  Some supporters went so far as to call for Pablo's job, either immediately or at the end of the season should we fail to make the playoffs (not I in either case).  Letters were sent to Tim Hinchey and the Rapids FO about the disapproval of Mastroeni's comments and questioning why supporters should care for something Pablo does not.

Apparently the Front Office and Pablo got the message as this afternoon Mastroeni released a letter to the supporters clarifying his comments.  Some excerpts:
Some of my comments from immediately following Saturday night’s game require clarification, and I’m glad to be able to do so here and now. I care deeply about this club, winning games, and taking home trophies, especially the Rocky Mountain Cup, and I want this passion to be as clear now that I’m a coach as it was when I was playing.
My comments were inelegant and did not convey my passion for this Cup, which I hold dear to my heart, as I feel that the passion I displayed in every Rocky Mountain Cup match I participated in (as a player) has been a major catalyst in making the rivalry what it is today. It hurt to see RSL walk away with that trophy. I never want it to happen again. Now we have to turn that pain into motivation for tough road games in Dallas and D.C., followed by a difficult home match against the Galaxy. We don’t just want to make the playoffs, but to host a playoff game if we can.
Pablo also said he'll speak more to this issue on the Rapids podcast later this week.

From my point of view Mastroeni learned a lesson about being a head coach this weekend.  His statement today reads more like the Pablo we watched for 11+ seasons than his statements on Saturday did.  I appreciate his desire to not linger on failures and immediately refocus on the next game and the long-term plan but he expressed it in a very poor way.  Being a coach at this level isn't only about leading the players, its also about being a face of the team to the supporters and his comments on Saturday appeared to brush aside the supporter's passion for this rivalry.  I do think that today's clarification reflects his true beliefs on the subject though I'm sure the actual language was massaged by the Rapids Media Relations department. ;)

Its also a positive sign that the fans reacted how they did and made their concerns known to the team, and that the team immediately responded by giving Pablo a chance to clarify his comments.  That shows the passion from the supporters is there and recognized by the team.

All that said, we still lost a game we had no business losing, and the Rocky Mountain Cup along with it.  The was a pitiful performance on Saturday night and combined with Wednesday's miserable loss it has greatly reduced our playoff chances.  With four of the next five on the road against tough opponents (Dallas, DC, LA, and Seattle) and our one home game being against LA we've wasted a lot of easier points to pick up.  We are now behind last year's pace in both the league standings and obviously the Rocky Mountain Cup standings.  This while arguably having a better teams.  Things need to improve and improve quickly.

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