Friday, November 7, 2008

The Rapids: Where Do We Go From Here?

It's been two weeks now for the tears to dry and the hearts to heal. It's Real Salt Lake who play Chivas tomorrow for a place in the conference final and not the Colorado Rapids. The season is over for the boys from Commerce City, I am back from my UK trip and it feels like a good time to try and figure out what happens to the team from here.
What is clear is that nothing can really be decided until the Rapids get a permanent coach in place. The team is in a position to re-sign any player but this will be hard to do while the uncertainty over who will coach the team remains. Interim head coach, Gary Smith, looks like the frontrunner for the position and his chances of being hired on a permanent basis look higher given the presence of good friend, Steve Guppy, at team practices in the final weeks of the season as well as recent developments this week. Guppy, a former England international who played with Leicester City among others, has been coaching with USL team, Rochester Rhinos, but it has been reported this week that he has left that position to take up an assistant coaching spot with the Rapids. I'll try and get some clarification on that. It is interesting also to note that Watford in the English Championship sacked their coach last week. Gary Smith worked with former coach, Aidy Boothroyd, at Vicarage Road and comes from that part of the world. I can't help but think he may be interested in that position but that is pure speculation on my part.
The team continues to train about three times a week and will do so for the next several weeks. The Rapids will have to name 11 players they want to protect from the Seattle expansion draft later this month. Sources at the Rapids say we should know who would be available to Seattle by about November 24.
Much speculation surrounds the futures of some notable players at the Rapids, particularly the likes of Christian Gomez who was starved of opportunities under Smith. Mike Petke has perhaps intimated he may retire. What will happen with Bouna Coundoul who, despite playing the last two games of the season, found himself out of favor for some time? I will try and get some answers on these questions over the next few weeks. I can tell you a little about club captain, Pablo Mastroeni. Pablo, who has been selected to play for the US against Guatemala at DSG Park November 19, told me this morning that he is talking with club bosses Jeff Plush and Charlie Wright about his future. Everyone knows he would like to go and play in Europe next season and he continues to weigh his options. "I'm kind of waiting at this point," he said. "I have time on my side as the European clubs won't be making any decisions until later in December." Mastroeni revealed that his European agent will be in town for the US game to monitor the situation.
It's good to be back. I'll continue to go to training once a week so keep checking in and I'll hopefully have the news you can use.


Scott said...

Good to have you back. Did you get a chance to watch any UCL games? Are there any guesses as to who the 11 protected players will be? Are there any other good possibilities for the coaching position at this point, just in case Smith does get and take that offer over on the other side of the pond?

Nick Thomas said...

Scott, there is no offer for Smith, it's just speculation on my part about Watford. I think he will be appointed at the Rapids but that's just a guess at this stage. I did see Chelsea dismantle Sunderland 5-0 which made up a little for the Rapids not making it, but not much.

George said...

nice to hear from you, nick!