Stumbling, bumbling Rapids fall again
The Rapids have started a tradition of getting into hot water and putting playoff hopes in jeopardy during the month of July. After the weekend’s results, Colorado has no where to go but up.
The Rapids followed a tepid 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps at home on July 4 with a dismal 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders late Saturday.
The results were particulary damaging to a team that appeared to have found a winning script in a 3-0 dismantling of the Portland Timbers on June 30. Two games later, the Rapids are 7-10-1 (22 points) and watching their playoff hopes evaporate.
The latest losses are particularly telling because of the MLS schedule. The Rapids face their Western Conference foes three times this season while they only see the Eastern Conference teams once. Against the East, Colorado is a respectable 4-3-1. Against the West, the Rapids have three wins in 10 matches.
The Rapids have proven particularly vulnerable to the Pacific Northwest teams. Colorado is 0-2 against the Sounders and 0-2 against the Whitecapes, both teams they trail in the playoff race. The team’s lone win came against a Timbers side that seems to be regressing in its second season in the league.
Saturday’s Shortage: Colorado’s chance to get some points on the road after losing at home never looked better than Saturday. The Sounders had been reeling, mired in a nine-game winless streak.
However, reclamation project Eddie Johnson and Alvaro Fernandez each took Mauro Rosales assists en route to building a 2-0 lead in the second half. Omar Cummings cut the lead in half in the 79th minute with his fourth goal of the season. Cummings netted again six minutes later but was called offsides.
Perhaps the only triumphant moment of the evening was when Steve Zakuani and Brian Mullan embraced and exchanged jerseys at the end of the match. Zakuani came on in the 86th minute for his first game time since Mullan broke his leg in a tackle on April 22, 2011.
Any Hopes: While the loss leaves the Rapids in sixth place in the West, the team is not without hope. Colorado faces a Dallas side on Saturday that has won three times in 19 games this season before meeting a Toronto FC squad with two wins in 17 matches.
Those games, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City on Saturday and in Toronto on July 18, should add six points to Colorado’s spot in the standing.
If the Rapids do pick up six points, with three coming against coach Oscar Pareja’s old side, then the future starts to look brighter. If Colorado drops points against the league’s two cellar dwellers, the playoff window starts to gets a lot tighter to fit through.