First, Bravo discussed possible upcoming roster moves with MLSSoccer.com. He says O'Neill is still on the roster and Roger Johnson isn't really on trail, more they're just taking a look. nothing else on any possible newcomers. The window for adding players closes tomorrow so if they're going to do anything (and they need to do something) they have about 24 hours to do it. The windows in most European countries go until the end of the month so if the rumors of O'Neill going to Cyprus or Belgium are accurate they have some more time to announce it.
Now lets talk about what Bravo said about O'Neill's lack of playing time:
“We’ve chosen to give Shane some down time to recharge his battery,” Bravo said. “Over the last 18 months, he’s had a lot of soccer. Despite the fact that he’s not played with us on a regular basis, he’s still played as many games, if not more with international call-ups, with Open Cup, with league and he had an early start to preseason. With a young man like that, we have to continue to monitor his progress both mentally and physically.”What?!?! That makes no sense. I added up O'Neill's playing time since the start of the season. U-23s, league, USOC, and Homegrown Game play add up to 1168 minutes in 14 matches. For comparison the 9 years older Bobby Burling (30) has played 1145 minutes in 13 league matches. How does a guy only 21 years old need "recharging" but a 30 year old with the same amount of minutes in the last 5 months can start every game? Yes, Bravo said "over the last 18 months" but over the last 5 minutes Shane is averaging 50 minutes of competitive play a week. Somehow I think he's recharged enough even if the 12 months prior to that was tough for him.
If Pablo has decided that O'Neill isn't in his plans fine (well not fine, but that's a debate for another time). If O'Neill is in the process of being sold and the team doesn't want to risk injury, fine. If Pablo thinks O'Neill isn't the best starter, fine (again not really but another conversation). But don't insult the fans by saying he needs "recharging". Either O'Neill has developed a serious fatigue issue (unlikely) or Bravo is trying to cover for something else going on. If you can't or won't talk about what's going on then just deny the transfer rumor and move on, don't make up something so obviously transparent.
Second, and along these lines, the Rapids have announced another fan forum. Well "fan forum" is probably too generous. This is a one hour teleconference held in the middle of the work day for anyone who can call in. How questions will be submitted is unclear but I can't imagine they'll just have an open mic, I'm sure they'll have to be submitted ahead of time.
So what we've probably got is a phone call in the middle of a work day with pre-selected questions where Tim Hinchey, Paul Bravo, and Pablo Mastroeni can respond in a completely controlled environment without having to worry about getting into discussions about awkward things like how bad the team has been in the last 12 months and the disappearance of Shane O'Neill. This for the first real response from the FO in 2015 to the disaster of a season we've been having. I'm sure the timing has nothing to do with the fact that season ticket renewal information is about to go out.
If it works out I'll try to call in and take notes for posting here next Tuesday night, though I'm not expecting anything of note. Get back to me when they hold a real open fan forum, or at least repeat the dog and pony show at the Celtic last October.
Last, one bit of good news (for me at least) is that I found these at the Rapids game on Saturday:
They go into my collection of (now) 7 OyoSports figures:
- University of Washington end zone set including
- QB Keith Price
- RB Chris Polk
- WR Jermaine Kearse
- Super Bowl XLVIII Seattle Seahawks CB Byron Maxwell
- 2015 MLS All-Star Game Drew Moor
- Colorado Rapids Drew Moor
- Colorado Rapids Clint Irwin
They're $13 each (C38 season ticket holder discount did apply though) and the team store had all 7 players plus Edson and the Rapids fan figures.