Hello, Rapids faithful (and bystanders watching the Pids like a horrific accident you just can’t look away from)! Greetings from the bottom of the table! It feels about as good down here as you’d think it would. For those of you that missed the most recent step in our plunge to the very bottom, I’ll recap it for you: we lost to Portland.
I had joked all week long about how terrible it would be to lose to just-below-us-in-very-last-place Portland, and knew on some level that it was a possibility, but then it actually happened. I thought the Rapids looked pretty good for most of the first half; not just “playing a team of similar ability” good, but actually decent. They had some good moments in the second half, but for the most part, it was much of the same play we’ve seen from the Rapids for most of the season.
Statistically, all signs point to an evenly matched game, or even one in which the Rapids had a slight advantage, but, in what is an increasingly predictable story, the Rapids failed to capitalize on the chances they had. Portland had 11 attempts on goal and sunk one. That’s all they needed because although the Rapids had 12 attempts (only four on target), they managed to sink zero of them.
Despite the score, the Rapid’s spot at the bottom of the Western Conference table, and my increasingly broken heart, there are some high points to be pulled from this week’s match.
Although things felt less cohesive in the second half, I felt like the Rapids played like a team in the first half, especially across the back line; players seemed to be where they needed to be, plays were created, and Matt Pickens wasn’t left to do ALL the work (just most of it).
While we’re on the topic of Pickens, Rapids fans are used to him coming up big to save us from costly defensive errors, but one (pretty awesome) save against Portland is up for Save of the Week.
Although having been reported as only being at 70% match fitness, new signing Hendry Thomas made his Rapids debut against Portland, and I liked what I saw. His passing game was on and he did well creating space for himself and maintaining possession in the mid; if this is less than perfect match fitness, I’m excited to see him at 100%. Even if the result wasn’t there, I was impressed with his debut.
Finally, I’d like to give some props to Brian Mullan. While he didn’t do anything that sticks out as spectacular this game, Brian Mullan has undoubtedly been a consistent bright spot in the Rapids’ season. He works hard and he’s pretty much always where he needs to be. Add to that the fact that he’s been playing through knee pain for much of the season, and it becomes even more impressive. On a team where most of the consistency lies in an inability to perform, I feel like acknowledging Mullan’s reliability is important.
In what might be considered good news, the Rapids have a quick turnaround in their quest for redemption: they host Timbers tonight at DSGP, just five days after their last meeting. I would expect to see a similar lineup in action tonight, with the exception of Omar Cummings, who is on international duty for Jamaica (but it’s not like Omar is doing much for the Pids anyway…). If we can build on the tighter defense and more cohesive play we saw from the Rapids last weekend, and of course, if someone in Burgundy can just hit the back of the net, our tenure in last place may be short lived.
In terms of performance, yes, things can get worse; in terms the table, we have nowhere to go but up. Keep the faith.
(image courtesy of Getty Images)