Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gary Smith Speaks English Football

Some crackers from Gary Smith in true English footballing terminology ahead of this weekend's huge game against New England. These quotes are taken from a letter he addressed to players with the Colorado Fusion soccer club which signed an agreement this week to be part of an adidas alliance with the Rapids.
I, for one, will be hoping for a massive crowd. This will be one of the biggest games for the club in the past few years and the team will need the boost from a packed stadium.

"We want New England to be absolutely gobsmacked when they arrive at our ground Saturday in front of a sea of burgundy, with a full stadium of Colorado fans giving them some serious grief."
Explanation: gobsmacked - to be heavily shocked as you would be in taking a smack in the gob (mouth).
serious grief - putting the opposition under significant pressure.

"Football is a game of two halves, and we’ll do our part on the pitch. But I am calling upon you to help propel this club into the play-offs by packing the ground and giving your all from the stands this Saturday."
Explanation - ok, not too confusing but football managers in England often describe games as being ones of two halves. i.e played well first half, disastrously in the second.

"I can promise you a bloody exciting match Saturday night. This will be the biggest match of the year so far; all the lads know it, and they are determined and ready."
Explanation - would Americans ever say "bloody"? No, I didn't think so.

Have to add here that Pablo Mastroeni referred to Gary Smith after the San Jose home game as "the gaffer." Fantastic.
Love it. Will love it even more if the Rapids win and there's an appropriate crowd to cheer them on. Not just over 6,000 as there was for the last home game against San Jose.
One last question: Can we get the horrendous Denver Dream lines off the field in time?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rapids Pick Up Valuable Point in Kansas

I have to declare an interest here. I wasn't able to see this game. All I have are the postmatch comments of both the team and friends who called me after the game to fill me in.
What I can say is that a point in Kansas is a very valuable one at this stage of the season. I know the Rapids are not picking up three points on anything like a consistent basis but we cannot underestimate the injuries that have befallen them. To lose the whole squad's only three out and out wingers is kind of freaky and leaves the team so short of options. Steve Guppy told me after the San Jose game the other night that he got one injury in his whole career. Wingers don't get injured, he said. Of course, they can, but to have all three of Jamie Smith, Colin Clark and Jacob Peterson out at the same time is very bad luck. And it means, as Gary Smith as pointed out, more pressure on the back line not to concede because so few attacking opportunities may be created.
There is still some danger this team will not make the playoffs. Next week's final home game of the season is now a must win and would take them to the "magic number" of 42 points. I think the team should get to the postseason from here but it will be one mighy uphill stuggle given the attacking deficiencies caused by all these injuries. Let's be realistic given what has happened. To get into the playoffs can be the only target for now. The team will have done very well to get there. Any more than that is probably a few steps too far.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rapids Lose Peterson and Smith For Season

Press release today from the Colorado Rapids:
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Friday, September 25, 2009) – Colorado Rapids midfielders Jacob Peterson and Jamie Smith have been ruled out for the remainder of the 2009 season, the club announced today.
Peterson has been diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee after injuring himself in Wednesday night’s match against San Jose. Surgery to repair the injury is scheduled to take place early next week.
Smith suffered a left knee injury on August 30 in the first half against the Houston Dynamo. He completed posterior lateral stabilization surgery and is currently going through rehabilitation with the Rapids’ training staff. Smith’s progress is on schedule, but the determination was made at this time that his return to the pitch this season would not be possible.
Peterson’s season concludes after appearing in 23 games with 12 starts and scoring two goals, while adding two assists in 1,131 minutes.
Smith appeared in four games with three starts for the Rapids this season. In his 216 minutes of action, he recorded one assist coming at Chicago on August 23. Smith made his MLS debut on August 1 against Columbus after signing with Colorado on July 28.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Post Match Quotes

Quotes from last night's 1-1 tie with San Jose Earthquakes:
Pablo Mastroeni:
"It would have been nice to get three points, obviously. We can't sit and sulk and feel sorry for ourselves. We just have to show up and be the team we are capable of."
Conor Casey:
"It was a good point given the circumstances but it was a terrible game from us. Just got to be a lot better going forward. To come out with a point is fortuitous. A little sloppy finishing, a bit off today. Unfortunately, it happens. When that's the case, it's hard to win games."
On reaching the season goalscoring record:
"It feels good but it will feel a lot better when we are in the playoffs. This is crunch time and we have to get in the playoffs."
Nick LaBrocca:
"It's huge (to get the point). We just need to keep picking up the points right now and, with our schedule, if we can keep picking them up, we can make our way into the playoffs."
Gary Smith:
"Disappointing to lose Jake so early. All of our wide players are lost now. I would think it's too quick a turnaround (for the weekend) for Jake given how he hobbled off."

"We've relied heavily on those guys (Casey and Cummings) all season. Goals around the team have been very hard to come by and those two have borne the brunt of pretty much everything we have created and scored from and, tonight, we fell just a little bit short. The front two are just not quite clicking as they did early on and when you are reliant on a pair as we are and they don't click, it's a big loss."

"In the end, we are fortunate to get a point again after a lot of possession and disappointed we didn't get all three."

"The reality is we are getting down to the nitty gritty of the season and our own game is obviously the most opportunistic to get three points and we have failed to do that. The balance is not good on the schedule but it's still four points from 12."

"I think we are now putting a lot more pressure on to not concede because the creativity in the group is slowly but surely starting to wane."

"If any of them are feeling a little bit sorry for themselves, then they need to quickly snap that and get themselves together for the weekend."

"If anybody was expecting a rest, they ain't going to get one. If they're fit, they're playing."

"With the lack of pace and cutting edge out wide, we're not quite getting what we want out of the team. So, it's not going to be easy. I'll make no bones about that. We've lost three important wide players who give us something different. They can turn a mediocre attack into something special. We've got to look to other areas to produce that and only time will tell if we can."

"They'll work it through to the final breath of the game. We've got two points out of six but we could have had zero and, maybe, in other years, we might have had zero and those two points could be very important."

On Mastroeni's return:
"He was great on the ball. On a night where two or three of our midfield players just fell short. Nick being shuffled to the right, he was out of the game a bit. Mehdi found if difficult. Kosuke has been a livewire and I felt his service fell short from where it was before. Pablo was one of maybe two or three players who really tried to make something happen, to light a fuse, create a spark. He did his utmost to keep the ball moving quickly, find a little angle, get it into feet a little bit sharper and just drive the lads on quicker. It was great to have him back."

"Drew was terrific again at center back and also, Julien, in the first half, defensively. The pair of them did very well."

On Facundo Diz:
"He will certainly benefit from wide service because he's a big strong guy, he attacks crosses. The fact is, we don't have the right personnel to really bring him out of his shell but he's a very genuine and game individual and we will see a lot more of him. At some point,we may have to call on him to come up trumps for us. This may be the time."

"Our conversion rate has to be clinical because we are not going to be as freely getting sights of goal as we were because we have lost some very influential players. What we need are some cool heads, we need some confidence and some real edge in front of goal. That will be the difference and every team will be asking for that. The teams that can produce that will be in the last eight, no doubt about it."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rapids Draw Again With Late Penalty

Conor Casey stood up tall again tonight as he netted an injury time penalty to allow the Colorado Rapids to pick up another point. A 67th minute penalty from Chris Wondolowski gave the San Jose Earthquakes the lead before Casey's late penalty.
The Rapids could simply not break down a stubborn San Jose defense for most of the game and failed to create many chances on the night. The Rapids travel to Kansas City this weekend for another vital game. They could be without Jacob Peterson, the club's only previously healthy winger before tonight. Peterson hobbled off in the 9th minute with a serious looking injury.

Rapids Seek 40 Points Against Familiar Opponents

Same opponents, different day. The Colorado Rapids face another vital game tonight against the San Jose Earthquakes, a team they played in California only this past Friday, somehow escaping with a crucial point thanks to Conor Casey's 95th minute penalty.
That vital point after such a tough game will no doubt boost the Rapids as they seek to secure three points against the basement team in the Western Conference and reach the long-discussed 40 point watershed. Kansas on Saturday will look a much nicer place to travel to if the Rapids do get to the 40 point mark tonight.
The Quakes are also without a long list of first-choice players, particularly offensively.
But, home advantage and current league positions notwithstanding, this will be no pushover. Gary Smith was highly respectful of the performance of the San Jose team on Friday, describing the game as a very tough physical battle that was largely won by San Jose, particularly in the opening phase of the game. The Quakes should still be smarting from the result, viewing it as a game that should have been won, and they will have a lot of pride to fight for. Let us also remember that San Jose, in one of their first games last season as a new team, came to DSG Park and won 2-0.
It's also going to be a cold one (will Omar be wearing his gloves?). Autumn chill has set in in Denver these past few days. It will also be wet, making life difficult with regard to the fast-flowing football the Rapids would like to play tonight.
However, let's not forget the record of San Jose away from home. No wins and only two draws on the road all season. Most importantly, the Rapids are a better team this season than last, not least in their perseverance. Gary Smith may have been praising San Jose for last weekend but he didn't forget to praise his team. "To come out of there with a point was testament to a lot of determination and energy," he said at training Monday.
The Rapids will be fielding the strongest team they can tonight. There is no question of resting any tired bodies at this stage of the season. Very importantly, they will welcome back Pablo Mastroeni after his suspension. I would see Mehdi Ballouchy partnering Mastroeni in the center of midfield with the excellent Nick LaBrocca moving out wide and Jacob Peterson on the right hand side. The striking duo picks itself and the back four is likely to see Kimura coming back into right back with Moor and Baudet in the center and Harvey on the left. Preston Burpo will continue in goal as Matt Pickens continues rehab on his knee.
It won't be easy but I do see the Rapids carrying this one off and carrying that momentum into Kansas at the weekend. But, then again, I never make predictions. Kick off is at 7.30pm MT.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rapids Escape With Point From Cow Patch

Well, that was pretty scrappy and crappy. But the Rapids escaped with a point. Conor Casey continued his amazing run of goalscoring with a penalty kick in almost the fifth minute of injury time to get the equalizer after San Jose had scored one of the softer goals the Rapids have conceded this season in the 8th minute.
The game suited the pitch. How can MLS players really be expected to play beautiful free-flowing soccer on a cow patch like that? I've seen better pitches in Denver rec leagues. There really wasn't much to notice in either half and the Rapids really didn't create too many chances in the whole game. The highly debatable penalty (aren't most MLS penalties that way?) gave the team their only realistic chance all night and Casey took it, albeit Joe Cannon got a hand to the shot.
There isn't all that much to say about this game. It was generally poor. The best thing to say is that the Rapids got the point and can now come home and play some soccer on a decent pitch and get three points Wednesday against the same opposition.
I thought Gary Smith would start with Scott Palguta and push Jordan Harvey up more as he had done in the second half against Toronto. I was right about Palguta but Smith pushed Kosuke Kimura up on the right rather than Harvey on the left. And I liked the experiment. Kimura combined well all night with Omar Cummings down that right hand side and it was there that most of the few attacking chances did come.
Nick LaBrocca deserves an honorable mention for running a marathon last night. He was everywhere on the field, particularly in the first half. Somewhat surprising not to see Greg Dalby get any playing time after Smith spoke highly of his performance in Canada last week. But it was good to see Facundo Diz get some more playing time, especially as he came on as a third forward for the last 25 minutes or so. Gary Smith could sense that San Jose were there for the taking but, in the end, it was down to the solitary penalty kick to get the point the team needed.
Thank God for DSG Park on Wednesday night.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Do We Know The Way to (Beat) San Jose?

The Colorado Rapids traveled to California yesterday to prepare for tonight's game against San Jose before, bizarrely, playing the same team again next Wednesday at DSG Park. What an important game tonight's game is. After losing at Toronto to record their fourth straight away defeat, the Rapids know that a point tonight against a struggling team will be the least they can come away with before, hopefully, picking up three points at home next week. If they can manage all three tonight plus a win next week, that would take them to 42 points, a figure that Gary Smith thinks now is the benchmark for reaching the playoffs.
If, if, if. The trouble with the MLS is that you can never tell what the results are going to be. If a contending team in the Premier League played a basement team, you are pretty much going to know the result, Burnley v Man U gloriously excepted. In the MLS, who knows? Yes, San Jose may be poor but they did beat Seattle 4-0 at home this season and I seem to remember the Rapids losing 2-0 to them at DSG Park last year. A point would be good, a win even better and a loss very disappointing. Point to me for stating the bleeding obvious.
My best guess on the line-up would be pretty similar to how the second half against Toronto started. Scott Palguta, who came on for a poor Pat Noonan after 45 minutes last week, is fully recovered from injury and illness and looks likely to start at left back. That would mean Jordan Harvey moving up more to left midfield as he did in the second half in Canada. Mehdi Ballouchy is back and will take a central midfield role with Greg Dalby whom Smith has praised on for last week's performance. I think Noonan will pay the price for his form last week and drop to the bench. That's my guess, anyway. All I know is that Smith wasn't happy with Noonan's form and he doesn't have all that much patience with poor performances. Matt Pickens and Cory Gibbs continue to rehab from their injuries and will be out for at least the next two weeks.
The key to tonight may be how clinical the strike pairing is upfront. Conor Casey has been incredibly consistent all season and, if he can be at his bullish best, he could give a fragile San Jose back four all sorts of problems. So could speedster, Omar Cummings. We just need Omar to be on the type of finishing form he showed in Chicago rather than last week. I don't know how Omar gets into some positions to score. He is one of the best in the league at doing that. The downside is that he can still miss seemingly certain goals once he gets in those positions. He is so close to being a complete player. Let's hope he bangs them in tonight if he gets himself into scoring positions.
Kickoff is at 9pm Mountain Time with the official viewing party at Fado's.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rapids Rely on What They Have as Window Closes

Gary Smith and the Colorado Rapids coaching staff don't look to have been able to snatch an extra player to add to their decimated ranks in time to beat the September 15th transfer deadline. It did seem a little bit of a stretch for the team to be able to secure a midfielder that would fit both short and long-term needs. Smith did say recently that he had narrowed it down to one or two MLS players but it doesn't look at this late stage that anything will come of it.
So, the Rapids will enter the final hurdles of the season relying on what they have. No Colin Clark and no Jamie Smith to help from the flanks. Pablo Mastroeni has to sit out one more game of suspension and so will miss this Friday's game in San Jose. Mehdi Ballouchy only has to travel to California this time so he will be available for San Jose after missing out on the Canada trip. From the looks of the Rapids' website, it will be Greg Dalby who makes way for Ballouchy in an otherwise unchanged side from the Toronto game. Pat Noonan was substituted at halftime in that game, presumably because of the danger Dwayne De Rosario was offering. Scott Palguta beefed up the defensive side of things in that game in tandem with a moved-up Jordan Harvey.
The Rapids play San Jose at 9pm Mountain Time Friday and will host the same team at DSG Park the following Wednesday. Gary Smith said before the Toronto game he wanted four points from the next three games. After the disappointment of the Toronto loss, a draw in California and a win at home with Pablo back in the line-up would be just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rapids Give It Their All But Fall Short In Canada

Well, they tried. A banged up Colorado Rapids gave it all they got against a Dwayne De Rosario-inspired Toronto and almost came up with the goods in Canada. Instead, they return home defeated for a few days to regroup before a vital home and away series against San Jose.
Conor Casey, with his 13th goal of the season, equalized early in the second half after some rubbish defending from Toronto made Kosuke Kimura's floating cross much more dangerous than it should have been and Mike Holody, in only his second MLS game, notched a crucial goal very late on to give the Rapids some hope but it wasn't to be. De Rosario had scored a beauty in the first half to give Toronto the first half lead and it was also his bit of sublime skill that led to the second Toronto goal as he chipped a great pass into the penalty area for substitute, O'Brian White, to run onto and score with a neat lob. A third goal soon after appeared to have ended the game before Holody's very skilful late strike. If only Nick LaBrocca had put that one in from point blank range just minutes before Holody took his chance, the Rapids might have escaped with a point.
In truth, it was hard to expect the Rapids to get anything out of this game given injuries, suspension and other absences. The midfield was depleted with Mastroeni out through suspension, Jamie Smith and Colin Clark out for the rest of the season injured and Mehdi Ballouchy unable to travel because of immigration issues. Such absences meant a rare start for Greg Dalby as a defensive midfielder. The Rapids were also without Matt Pickens who is out injured for at least two weeks. Preston Burpo got his chance in goal and could not be faulted for any of the three Toronto goals.
Bright spots? Many, to be honest. LaBrocca had a powerful game in central midfield and it would only have been fair for him to have scored on that late opportunity. Omar Cummings was his usual menacing self and he will be disappointed at scuffing a golden opportunity in the second half when he carved an opening out of nothing. Jacob Peterson, quiet in the second half, had a good first 45 minutes and almost scored after creating an opening with Cummings and taking the Jamaican's return pass. It was good, too, to see Facundo Diz get a chance in the last ten minutes or so. He pushed himself around powerfully and wasn't afraid to get in the mix.
Gary Smith said he wanted four points from the next three games including today's. The home and away series against San Jose looks increasingly important to reach the 40 point nirvana.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Don't Forget Your Passport; Rapids Head North

Players can be a little forgetful of the details and the Colorado Rapids are no different. On a whiteboard in the locker room, they are this week being urged not to forget their passports as they travel to Canada. More tellingly, there is also a note on that same board that reads "If you are healthy and not suspended, you are traveling." Just like Toronto last year on the road, the Rapids are down to bare bones in terms of bodies to put on the field.
Last year, a very inexperienced defense (Keel, Zambrano and others) were thrown into the fire that is BMO Field and did creditably enough but it was too much to ask and the Rapids lost easily. This year, thankfully, the defense for Toronto tomorrow looks a lot more solid. Expect an unchanged backline from last week. Minus the goalkeeper. Matt Pickens has injured his knee in practice and is out for at least two weeks. Preston Burpo, so patient all season long, will therefore get an opportunity tomorrow. The Rapids will also have the tandem of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings upfront. The availability problems are in midfield. Pablo Mastroeni will be curling up on the sofa at home watching the game because he is the suspended one. Gary Smith told me yesterday that Jamie Smith is out for the season to join Colin Clark on the dreaded season-ending DL. Take a look at the Rapids' website link on projected line-ups and you will see that Greg Dalby will get the start tomorrow. Mehdi Ballouchy is not listed as starting.
So, it may not be all that pretty tomorrow. Service will have to come from Jacob Peterson and assist king Cummings, it looks like. Maybe the big fella can get his pate on another couple of crosses and we could escape with something. Toronto will be a very different proposition at home tomorrow after being so poor last week. They will have internationals such as Guevara back after the World Cup qualifying schedule and they have a certain Canadian DP announced this week. Gary Smith has reiterated his desire to get to the magic 40 points and is looking at tomorrow's game plus the home and away series against San Jose to reach that. It would then leave four games to secure a playoff position.
Kick off tomorrow is at 2pm Mountain Time. The official viewing party is at GB Fish and Chips. See you there.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Denver's Miles Better But DMB Stays in Scotland

Yes, DaMarcus Beasley was spotted at DSG Park with Cory Gibbs at the weekend and, no, that doesn't mean he is set to leave Glasgow for Denver. Gary Smith, today discussing the likelihood of the Rapids picking up a midfielder before the September 15 deadline, dismissed speculation the Rangers player could be joining up with his good friend in Colorado. "There is no truth in that whatsoever," he said. Beasley could fit nicely into the left side of midfield but he would have to accept a big pay decrease to come here.
More likely is someone from the MLS rather than a player abroad because of seasons in Europe, for example, in full swing and players under contract. Getting a player from another MLS team fighting for playoff contention won't be easy either, the coach admitted.
My best educated guess will be that the Rapids won't bring anyone in before next week. Smith doesn't want to upset the chemistry in a team that is buoyant after two great wins and he doesn't want to rush into buying someone just for a short-term need. But what do I know? Gary Smith is always one to surprise so don't be too shocked if he does pull one out of the hat and there is a new Rapid filling in for the likes of Mastroeni (suspended), Jamie Smith (injured) or Colin Clark (injured) among others in the Colorado midfield.
There will be more on this story on tomorrow.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It Ain't Pretty But It's Got Heart

The Colorado Rapids played their prettiest soccer in the 2-2 home draw against Seattle earlier this season. They have played their most professional soccer in the last two home victories which included a tight 1-0 win over Toronto last night.
Sometimes, it’s about digging deep and finding ways to win. The victories against Houston and Toronto are a far cry from the horrors of Bridgeview when the Rapids blew a 2-0 lead with less than 20 minutes to go against Chicago. Surely, now, the Rapids are in the playoffs. Thoughts may even be turning to what ifs? Can the Rapids go all the way a la Gary Smith pre-match big screen video?
Toronto may not have been all that much of a threat offensively, De Rosario excepted, and they may have finished with just nine men, but let’s think of what the Rapids were missing. No Mastroeni, no Gibbs, no Palguta and no Jamie Smith, on crutches last night and out until the postseason. No Clark, obviously. He told me last night that he was making a good recovery but we won’t see him on the field until April 2010.
This was a time when the irregulars and the newbies as well as the more seasoned players had to step up and they did, big time. Drew Moor, signed from Dallas only on Monday, was almost flawless in defense apart from one near-fatal error in the first half when he almost gifted the ball to Toronto in front of goal. Other than that, this was a hugely promising debut. It was also good to see Mike Holody get his MLS debut. Gary Smith said afterwards that the rookie has been very impressive since returning from loan and has edged himself up the defensive pecking order.
Props to the big players too. Conor Casey may have missed the penalty but his header was all Casey. Brutal. There was so much power in that header. Strike partner, Omar Cummings, may have been shut down rather well by Toronto’s impressive center back, Gomez, in the first half but he was always a threat. When was the last time the Jamaican had a bad game for the Rapids?
"We've been talking about it all week, of how difficult it was going to be and how we needed the right attitude," Julien Baudet told me after the game. "This showed how we can graft results. From back to front, it was a very professional performance."
Yes, indeed. This was all about heart and graft and finding a way to win in trying circumstances. The Rapids may be depleted in many areas of the field, particularly in midfield, and there are moves afoot to strengthen that area. Yesterday, there were reports of DaMarcus Beasley walking around the stadium with Cory Gibbs. Maybe they are just good friends or maybe Gibbs is trying to persuade him that Denver’s a nicer place to live than Glasgow? Who knows? Let’s think about the difference in money between the MLS and the Scottish Premier though. He would have to take a mighty step down in wages. I’ll try and get something up after Labor Day on the transfer and injury list dilemma.
For now, Rapids fans should be proud of the squad they have and how they are toughing things out to help bring this team into the playoffs.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Banged Up and Desperate to Win

Big game today but then, at this stage of the season, they all are. The Colorado Rapids enter a home and away series against Toronto tonight in Commerce City. That will be followed by a home and away series with San Jose. Very bizarre. Gary Smith is not all that happy about the way the fixtures have been arranged but he can't do anything about it and his prime concern is getting a decent eleven on the field for tonight. No Pablo, no Cory Gibbs, no Jamie Smith, no Scott Palguta. Omar Cummings contines to struggle with a hip injury and hasn't been training much this week. Strike partner, Conor Casey, has been called up to the national team. The US Soccer Federation reported yesterday that he will not join the squad for tonight's World Cup qualifier because of wisdom teeth surgery.
Gary Smith said yesterday that he wants two wins and two draws in the next eight games to secure a playoff position. A win tonight would do very nicely and would help going into Toronto where the team will still be very short of many first team players. Toronto doesn't look a huge challenge at home with some inexperienced defenders and some trouble scoring but they will be a different beast in Canada. "They are good at home, they have great home support and a plastic pitch," Smith said. "These will be two very tough games."
You can expect a start for new boy, Drew Moor, in central defense. Increasingly, that deal to swap Ugo Ihemelu is looking at least as motivated by financial reasons as skill reasons, a bit of both anyway. Pat Noonan, who played pretty well when he came on last week against Houston, looks likely to step in because of injuries and suspensions in the midfield and I think we will see some game time for Facundo Diz. The big Argentinian striker has not had much opportunity to shine yet but has been scoring regularly in squad games and will seek to impose himself tonight should such an opportunity arise.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rapids Looking For More Bodies as Absences Rise

Gary Smith is a very patient and a very open and friendly guy who also has the ruthlessness in him that is needed to succeed in professional sport. He has shown that time and again in molding this team how he wants it. Witness the controversial decison to waive fan favorite Terry Cooke among other moves. Now, he has made a surprising move to trade Ugo Ihemelu who had played in every game he was available for so far this season up until his shock exit Monday.
Take a look at this story on and you will see that there could be another surprising move too before the transfer deadline of September 15.
There is no doubt that the Rapids are looking painfully thin for this weekend's game against Toronto, and perhaps beyond. No Conor Casey, away on US duty, no Pablo Mastroeni (suspension), no Jamie Smith and no Cory Gibbs (both injured and very unlikely to play). From a relatively strong situation with no long-term injuries apart from Colin Clark, the Rapids are facing a squad depth crisis. Watch this space for any developments on that front.