Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Action Off the Field Than On

With all the shenanigans going on at the troubled LA Galaxy organization, there have also been stirrings this week surrounding the Colorado Rapids. Rumors of coaching changes at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, new players coming in, supporters clubs airing their grievances with the organization. Added to the mix today is news of a family emergency for head coach, Fernando Clavijo, who has had to rush off to his native Uruguay to attend to an unspecified crisis. We can only wish him well.
In the meantime, the Rapids have signed US international defender, Cory Gibbs. The Florida native, who has had experience playing in Germany, Holland and England, has a strong pedigree as a central or left-sided defender. He may have to be called into action immediately as Ugo Ihemelu looks to be suffering from a concussion sustained in the Toronto game. However, there are questions about Gibbs and his recent injuries. The guy has barely played in two years and hardly appears ready for the game against Kansas. I was going to say must-win but every game has to be won now, it seems. It could be that Mike Petke finally makes his MLS debut this season in central defense.
Who knows what assistant coach, Gary Smith, now in charge because of Clavijo's misfortune, will do with the line-up? As well as the defensive issue, he will be without the suspended Colin Clark. It will be very interesting to see if he sticks with the status quo or whether he will make some surprising call-ups to the team. Watch this space. I am supposed to be playing soccer with him tomorrow night so I'll try and get a handle on that one.


johncos said...

Last season we were losing AND playing some really boring soccer. This year we are losing but at least it hasn't been boring! I guess I would rather be frustrated than bored.

All the best to FC and his family but I'm interested to see what sort of urgency the team comes out with on Saturday.

I'm not sure why I've seen so much bashing of the defense lately. Yes, some bonehead mistakes are being made in the back, but if blame is to be had it sure seems to me like it should be ALL on the forwards. The finishing has been dreadful! Casey scored two goals in a row with his head and now that is all he seems to attempt. Balls played to his feet ricochet in all directions and Omar can look great on the run and then shoots high or trickles a harmless shot to the keeper. Why is everyone ripping on Ugo and Erpen when the forwards are missing so many open nets and squandering chance after chance?

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree with Johncos. Erpen has made a couple of glaring mistakes this year, but if I had to bring in another player for the Rapids it would certainly not be a new defender. This club already has Kimura, Keel, Burciaga, et al, and it certainly doesn't need the hassle of figuring out how to slot in a new defensive player (especially one whose career has been derailed by injuries).

Even with the defensive mistakes this club has committed it should still have been able to win some games with a competent offensive showing. There is no excuse for getting shut out 1-0 at home. They can't even score a single goal at home?! Pathetic.

I'm not going to blame Cummings, because I see him as one of the only bright spots up front. I would be fine with parting ways with Peterson, Casey, and Herc and actually finding a consistent forward who can finish to pair with the speed of Cummings.

Best wishes to FC and his family, but I hope to see the Rapids move in a different direction (please don't hire Alexi Lalas).

Scott said...

I have to agree with the Alexi Lalas comment. That would be a horrible decision.

I still do not think that Clavijo is getting the boot but I think that he needs time to think about a move the the front office. I do not think that is where his heart is but I think that is where he can best serve the team as he can clearly find young talent and develop it but has trouble getting the performances that he needs.

Yes the offense is very much to blame for what is going on and it seems that this has almost always been the case for Colorado, even since the begining. What frustrates me is allowing goals on glaring mistakes. I have no problem allowing goals if we at least make the other team work for it. If Gibbs is healthy or if we put Petke in their instead, I think the defense will make a marked improvement this week. I honestly think just having an experienced player back there to help organize the defense is what they need.

As far as the forward situation is concerned, I have honestly never been a fan of Casey though he has had good stints, especially earlier this season. I still think Herc is getting the short end of the shaft. If he is healthy I would rather see him than Cummings who still shows inexperience on a consistent basis. I think he was in the lineup earlier this season to correct that problem but I still do not think that it has happened. I like McManus as he has shown bits of greatness like John Spencer did when he was playing for the team. I honestly think that bringing Spencer back to the team would be a good move, but unfortunately that would have to happen as a coach. So to solve the forward problem, I think we need to trade a few people away and look for something else and honestly I think Casey would be my first choice becasue of the cap room that he would open up to go out and get someone.

I hope all is well with Clavijo and that this trip down there gives him the break that he needs to get his players inspired. I pray all is well with his family situation.

Nick Thomas said...

Thanks for all your comments guys, tremendous contributions. All the strikers, bar McManus, appear to have problems making penetrating runs behind the defense. I also think we could be more creative in midfield given we have Ballouchy and Chistian Gomez, two very talented players. I think the Gibbs move is largely a short-term one although, if he can stay fit, he certainly has good pedigree. It clearly does not solve the main offensive problems.

Scott said...

Hey Nick,

I was reading or listening to something today, maybe the podcast of this weeks from the pitch today and heard that Gomez and Ballouchy have been frustrated by a lack of runs from thier supporting players. How much of the problem reall is in the center of the midfield then? Just curious to get your opinion. By the way, nice job on the show this week. They should always have you on there.

Nick Thomas said...

Scott, I think that Christian Gomez and Mehdi Ballouchy are a bit frustrated by the lack of runs into space by the strikers. However, I don't think they can blame the strikers completely. These two are very creative players and perhaps they are still figuring out how to pay with each other. It is frustrating that we are this far into the season and we are still not settled on a line-up. The problems are running right through the team. Thanks for listening into the show on Tuesday.