Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Too Much Planning For 2015?

After many games this season, regardless of result, we've heard Pablo talk about how the play was more important than the score.  His apparent philosophy of building a good team over focusing on results has been surprising and sometimes a bit distressing to the fans (such as this past weekend).  In the end though I always assumed there was the goal of winning while improving and not sacrificing 2014 to a "rebuilding" year.  Certainly Bravo and Hinchey set expectations before the season that the Rapids would be competitive in 2014 and not be rebuilding.  For example, from the Denver Post's SuperDraft preview:
"All the things we've been through, we're still in a better place," Bravo said. "We'll be better than we were last year. We're in the right direction."
Yet right now we are 1 point behind last year's pace and we lost to FSL at home, something we didn't do last year.  So the quantifiable evidence says we're not better than last year.  This despite the team probably improving from last year.  Based on playing time there has been three significant changes to the roster:

  • Dillon Serna replaced Atiba Harris - Serna is raw and suffers a bit as a rookie, but he's not the hack Harris was.  Improvement IMO.
  • Nick LaBrocca replaced Nathan Sturgis - It has made the team a bit more defensive, I consider this largely a push.
  • Jose Mari/Jared Watts has replaced Hendry Thomas - Improvement when Jose Mari is playing, decline when Watts in playing.  Overall an improvement IMO.

That makes these comments that Chris Bianchi got about the transfer window closing tonight curious:

Just spoke with Paul Bravo- pretty clear nothing will happen today. "Nothing's imminent."
But Bravo also said Rapids will be very active in winter window. Looking for multiple "difference-makers" up front.
Based on these quotes Bravo seems to indicate the Rapids need "difference-makers" up front, and the performance so far this season would agree with him:

  • Deshorn Brown - 7 goals.  Very inconsistent.  He was hot around the World Cup break but had a hard time getting started this year.
  • Edson Buddle - 1 goal, 1 assist.  At current pace Brown is going to get his 100th goal before Buddle does.
  • Charles Eloundou - 0 goals.  Hasn't even made the 18 lately, though that's partially due to injury.
  • Kamani Hill - 2 goals.  Had a couple of good games and then drifted back to invisibility.
  • Danny Mwanga - 0 goals.  Um, yeah.  Lets just say "difference-maker" and "Mwanga" haven't gone together in a long time.
  • Vicente Sanchez - 6 goals.  5 of those are from the PK spot and oddly 0 assists.
  • Gabriel Torres - 1 goal, 1 assist.  His issues have been well publicized this year but you assume he has more in him.

That's a pretty ineffective group overall, with only Brown's ability to score or win PKs standing out.  Its pretty clear we need a "difference-maker" now, not going into 2015.  So why are we willing to wait?  We're facing the toughest run in our schedule, with road games in Dallas, DC, Seattle and a home-and-home with LA.  This coming off a pair of games where we were outscored 4-0 and seemed like we had no idea how to break down a defense.  We need a "difference-maker" now, not in 6 months.

Apparently the plan is to hope Torres rounds into form to partner with Brown and carry us to the playoffs because it doesn't seem like the team is real concerned about finding another option.  Not only that, but Pablo's comments about building for the future and Bravo's willingness to stand pat in this transfer window leads me to believe that the organization is satisfied with the current team not being successful in 2014 and focusing on 2015.  It makes me wonder what the point of the final 12 games is.  If the organization is more concerned with 2015 than 2014 as it appears, what should I be concerned with?

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