Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 Prediction Review

In my season preview in March I made a few predictions for the season.  Lets see how I did.
  • We're not really a playoff threat this season but we improve from last year's disaster.
Well we certainly weren't a playoff threat.  Technically we improved by .15 pts/game so I guess I got this one right but certainly not the improvement I was hoping for.
  • The winless streak reaches 17 games before being broken on Jameson Night
Missed it by that much!  The streak went 18 games before the 4-0 win in Dallas.
  • Pablo makes it through 2015 as coach and is not immediately fired after the season
Sadly I nailed this one.
  • We do win back the Rocky Mountain Cup in an upset, its a large part of why Pablo keeps his job
Not sure it was an upset and I don't think it made that much a difference in Pablo's job but we did win the Cup!
  • We host a USOC game but we still go losing a game we were favored in
We hosted the Switchbacks but I don't think we were favored in Houston, half right,
  • Doyle joins in July and proves to be a great, but too late, signing
May actually and I'm not sure he was great, but he was good.  He was also too late.  I'll take half credit.
  • Torres wins the team Golden Boot
Tied for second, one goal behind Doyle.  Close but no cigar.
  • Irwin or MacMath leaves at the end of the year if not before
I hope MacMath is out at this point  but its still an open question for now.
  • Ramirez turns out to be worth the young DP slot, but Pittinari returns to Argentina after his loan
Pittinari does need to go home but I'm not sure Ramirez proved he earned the DP slot.  He's worth more time though.
  • We go most of the season without a jersey sponsor, again
Missed on this one, I did not see Transamerica coming.  Kudos to the FO on that one.

Out of 10 predictions I think I got more than half right.  Not too bad overall.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015 Player Of The Year

Lets start by looking back at my Man of the Match awards:

1 award - Badji, Burling, Eloundou, Harrington, LaBrocca, Pittinari, Sarvas, Sjoberg, Solignac, Torres

2 awards - Sanchez, Serna

3 awards - Ramirez

4 awards - Doyle, Powers

9 awards - Irwin

Well, that makes this easy.  My player of the year is Clint Irwin

This is really a no-brainer.  Irwin was the most consistent and best player on the team this season.  He single-handedly kept us in several games.  He was also a leader off the field (mainly through Twitter) acknowledging to the fans that things weren't good and tanking them for their support.

I'd have to say the runner-up is a tie between Sanchez and Doyle.  Both were the only thing close to a consistent offense this team had but both also had their weaknesses.  Doyle isn't the type of player that can create on his own, while Sanchez tried to do too much at times this year.  Doyle led the team in goals with 5 while only playing less than 50% of the season,  4 of his goals were game-winners.  Sanchez had 9 total goals and assists, tied with Powers for the team lead.

Monday, October 26, 2015

It Ends As It Began

Honestly I don't even have the enthusiasm to do an animated recap at this point.  I just wanted to mention that the most interesting thing about yesterday's 4-1 loss is that the last Rapids goal of the season was scored by the same player who scored the first goal of the season, Dominique Badji.

Later this week we'll have my normal year end wrap ups (player o the year, keep/cut lists, etc.) and I'll have a post about why I haven't bought season tickets for 2016 yet and where my current thinking is on that.

After that I'm probably going to take a long break from Rapids commentary.  The burn-out level is high at this point and I need a break from the frustration of this team.  I'll continue to update the blog with any news and should there be "big" news (leadership changes, major player movement, etc.) I'll be back with full coverage.  Given the track record of this FO though my bet is that we get a few cuts, maybe an official statement of Pablo's return, and then quiet until after the holidays.

Man of the Match: Dominique Badji.  Why not?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Colorado Ends Season In Portland

That's All Folks!

One game left this season as the Rapids are in the Pacific NW to face the Timbers.  Colorado has nothing other than whatever pride they might have left to play for while Portland has everything on the line.  A win or a tie clinches a playoff spot (as does any lack of win by Seattle, San Jose, or KC) and with a win and some help they could move as high as the 2 seed in the West.  Game time tomorrow is 5pm (as is all the Western Conference games as part of MLS's Decision Day) and 'Celo and Fleming will have the call on Altitude.

Injury Report:
OUT: D Michael Harrington (foot surgery, out for season)
QUESTIONABLE: D Drew Moor (foot); D Jared Watts (toe); M Dillon Serna (left hamstring)

SUSPENDED: M Sam Cronin (through 1st game of 2016, red & yellow card accumulation)

Portland has Valeri suspended and Johnson is questionable.  We'll see how much experimenting Pablo does on short rest for this one, though I'm sure MacMath will start.  Despite what some fans seem to think that's not an insult to Irwin, this is the time we should be seeing what MacMath has now that we've been eliminated.

Prediction: 2-0 loss.  Portland is going to go all out to get the win and move up in their seeding.  We're on short rest with 2 road games in 4 days (thanks KC) and I don't see us putting up much of a fight to end this season.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Rapids Play Spoiler In KC

Next to last game of the season:

5' in, Solignac skies an easy shot over the bar:

Rest of the half:

Second half starts:

Powers gets behind the D and sweetly chips the keeper:

Cronin picks up a second stupid yellow in the game:

Sarvas scores!
Peter Parker playing the role of KC

Rapids win!

Man of the Match: Juan Ramirez.  It should really go to KC for wimping out of the replay and rescheduling the game at a time we were prepared to beat them.  Or maybe Dillon Powers for scoring on Back to the Future day so I could use that "unless you've got POWER(S)" clip.  In the end though Ramirez' two cross-field assists gets him the award.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Makeup Game In KC

Thunderstorm in KC

The Rapids are back in KC tomorrow night making up the game that was cancelled by lightning.  You remember that, when KC wimped out of playing the next day and then playing in any of the bye weeks since then just to make us come back on the Wednesday before the end of the season before we have to fly to Portland?  And how the Rapids just accepted it without any public hint of complaint?  Yeah, that game.  I'm really hoping that the Rapids punk Sporting tomorrow just to mess with their playoff seeding after that bush league move.  Game time tomorrow night is 6:30pm and thee game is on Altitude 2 due to Avs coverage on Altitude.

Injury Report:
OUT: D Michael Harrington (foot surgery, out for season); D Jared Watts (toe); M Dillon Serna (left hamstring)

ONE YELLOW FROM SUSPENSION: D James Riley; D Jared Watts; M Sam Cronin; M Lucas Pittinari; M Marcelo Sarvas

KC has 6 players questionable but has to be all in for playoff seeding.  The Rapids, of course, have nothing to play for.  Because of that I expect experimental Pablo tomorrow and I'm not going to try to predict the lineup.

Prediction: 1-0 loss.  KC is at home with something to play for.  They will have to save something for Sunday but they'll do enough to get a lead and hold it.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Home Season Ends Not With A Bang But A Whimper

Going back to the old new format:

Looking at a starting roster with some new faces:
Experimenting with the lineup is good at this point, usually

11' Drogba hits a beauty of a free kick
Even being the opposition I had to applaud the quality

The next 74 minutes, which consisted of a total of 4 shots on goal (2 for each team)

85' Pablo subs in a defender (Greenspan) for a midfielder down 1-0

Somebody needed to death stare Pablo before that sub

92', Pittinari gets our only good look at goal

Home season ends

Man of the Match: Lucas Pittinari.  He came the closest to scoring in a game where nobody stood out.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Home Season Finally Ending

Drogba tomorrow

One last home game in 2015 tomorrow and Montreal and Didier Drogba are in town for it.  With official elimination happening last week we've got 3 games to either play out the string or experiment.  What Pablo will do is the big mystery.  Game time tomorrow is 4pm so the tailgate starts at 1pm.  Baked potato bar and the annual chili cookoff tomorrow.  C38 wasn't expecting 83 degrees in mid-october!  For those  of you who can't make it Flaming and Crookham will have the call on Altitude ('Celo is in LA for USA-Mexico  think).  After the game fans can stay around for the season awards, then watch USA-Mexico on the big screen or in Eighteen76.

Injury Report:
OUT: D Michael Harrington (foot surgery, out for season)
QUESTIONABLE: D Axel Sjoberg (abductor injury)

ONE YELLOW FROM SUSPENSION: D James Riley; D Jared Watts; M Sam Cronin; M Lucas Pittinari
TWO YELLOWS FROM SUSPENSION: D Marc Burch; M Marcelo Sarvas; F Kevin Doyle

International Absences:
HONDURAS: D Maynor Figueroa
IRELAND: F Kevin Doyle
PANAMA: F Gabriel Torres
US U-23s: M Dillon Serna

Montreal has a bunch f players missing on international duty.  Given our situation with being eliminated I'm not going to guess at our starting XI for this one.  We'll have to see  if Pablo is going ot take the  next 3 games to experiment and play young guys or stick with what he's been doing.

Prediction: 1-0 loss.  Montreal has something to play for and Drogba.  We have nothing to play for and are missing our only two decent strikers.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Rapids Lose Game, Win Cup!

We lost the game, we're officially out of the playoff hunt, and I don't care.  WE WON THE CUP!!!  Yeah it was ugly and yeah, a result would have been better but the Cup is back where it belongs.

From Friday:
2-1 loss. goal by Powers.  Rapids lose the game but win the Cup.  Powers makes up for his penalty kick shank in Sandy by scoring what turns out to be the Cup winning goal.  Colorado is also officially eliminated from the playoffs making the rest of the season absolutely meaningless.
Ok I had the goal-scorer wrong but other than that pretty dead on accurate.  After a great start the Rapids once again faded and allowed the opposition to come back.  Three pretty goals in this game but not much else from the good guys.

General Impressions:
  • Seriously, the Doyle goal was our only shot on target all game, just not good enough.
  • As we've seen far too often this year, the Rapids took their foot off the pedal after scoring.  They let FSL have control for the rest of the half and FSL made them pay.
  • I'm amazed Burling made it through that game.  A different ref could have shown him more than one red card.
  • The second half was a FSL team that would ahve been happy to take the Cup if we gave it to them (and we tried) but wasn't going to press for it and risk losing their 3 points.
  • Meanwhile the Rapids wanted the draw and didn't care much if it cost them the Cup.
  • Pittinari, ugh.  Let's not buy out his loan as he is not worth it.
  • Disappointed in the players after the game, especially guys like Moor and Irwin.  I know they were disappointed with losing and being eliminated from the playoffs but not taking any effort to acknowledge the fans or do a lap with the Cup is really not good enough.  Especially after it was something that was brought up multiple times in the town hall teleconference and Sam Cronin specifically said it was something he would work on both himself and with the other players as captain of the team.
  • The FSL fans broke the Cup during the game BTW.  Snapped one of the handles off of it (as you can see in my pic above).  So if you don't see it for a little while its because its getting fixed.
  • 270 minutes left before this season is finally, thankfully, over.
Man of the Match: Clint Irwin.  For that late save that preserved the Cup, duh.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Only Meaningful Game Since July

Still better than these guys

Up a win and two goals all the Rapids have to do tomorrow is not lose by more than 1 to claim the Rocky Mountain Cup.  They have to win though to stave off elimination from the playoffs (and that only if either SJ doesn't win or KC-Portland ends in a draw tonight).  Still with the RMC in play this game at least means something, which is more than any other game since we last played FSL in July.  Game time tomorrow is 5pm on FOX Sports 1.  Tailgate starts at 2 and its our annual pig roast so get their early!

Injury Report:
OUT: D Michael Harrington (season-ending foot surgery)
QUESTIONABLE: D Axel Sjoberg; F Dominique Badji; F Keven Doyle

ONE YELLOW FROM SUSPENSION: D James Riley (3 games for good behavior reduction); D Jared Watts; M Sam Cronin; M Lucas Pittinari

International Abasences:
Ireland: F Kevin Doyle
Panama: F Gabriel Torres (may not leave until tomorrow)
U.S.A. U-23s: M Dillon Serna

FSL has one player our injured and one big player questionable, Javi Morales.  Morales is FSL's offense this season so it would be great for us if he's unable to play.  My guess at the XI: 

If either Doyle or Torres are available tomorrow they'll start over Solignac.  Of course this is Pablo and off the horrible defensive outing last week we could see Watts or Greenspan in the back line for no good reason.

Strategic Consideration: Do not, Do Not, DO NOT try to park the bus for 90 minutes and defend the 2 goal RMC lead.  I think our prior attempts have proven that's a bad idea.  Go out and attack, get at least one goal, and I think the RMC is ours as I can't see FSL scoring 3.

Prediction: 2-1 loss. goal by Powers.  Rapids lose the game but win the Cup.  Powers makes up for his penalty kick shank in Sandy by scoring what turns out to be the Cup winning goal.  Colorado is also officially eliminated from the playoffs making the rest of the season absolutely meaningless.