From Gary Smith quotes to comments from soccer scribes, the idea that the Colorado Rapids are a different proposition this season compared to the last few, notably on the road, is picking up traction. The overriding feeling after Saturday's 1-1 draw with New England was disappointment that the Rapids had not picked up all three points. While the Rapids did manage a 1-0 victory on the road against the Revolution last year, I think we can all safely say that was a bit of a shock and not part of a pattern that emerged. This year, against an admittedly injury-ravaged side that saw one of the best MLS defensive midfielders in Shalrie Joseph bizarrely playing up front, the Rapids clearly believed they could win and were frustrated they didn't. Here is an article from www.goal.com with some thoughts on that.
The Rapids really took the game to New England in those opening ten minutes which saw the Colorado goal from Conor Casey, a tremendous header from quite a long way out with the ball behind him. Unfortunately, the dynamics changed after New England scored from a penalty after 17 minutes. Although the Rapids apparently outshot their opponents for the rest of the game, it wasn't really until the final ten minutes or so that Colorado really dominated again. If, as a good friend of mine said, we could have bottled up those bookends of the game and played like that for the rest of the 90 minutes, there is no doubt that the Rapids would have come away victorious. It's very hard to do that, though, when the penalty came after that opening spell when the Rapids threw everything at New England.
I know all games are important but this weekend's homer against Seattle is shaping up to be a cracker and perhaps somewhat of a watershed for the season. Clearly, if we look at the Western Conference, Chivas are playing the most consistent soccer. Houston will always be in the mix, leaving Seattle and the Rapids to battle for the bronze. The only other team that has shown glimpses of being with these two is Real Salt Lake but they have apparently dropped off a cliff with coach, Jason Kreis, saying this week that he might have to look at himself after what he described as the team's worst ever perfomance at home last weekend. San Jose and Dallas look the weakest teams and LA just cannot win and probably won't be victorious too often this season even with Mr. Beckham returning.
That makes this weekend's game extremely intruiging. I personally cannot wait to see Ljungberg on the field - a great midfielder at his peak with Arsenal. The only thing I will miss is the phenomenal home support for the Sounders though they will probably have a very good and noisy sample of fans making the trip. When I watched their game against LA the other weekend, it felt like I was watching a Premiership game in terms of the atmosphere. Now, if we could bottle some of that up and transport it to DSG Park.