top of page

Rapids Update

Houston Dynamo Post-Mortem

The moment this Rapids squad was formed, commentators started calling them Something to Prove FC. Hey, at least it's no longer Distressed Assets FC! It's honestly pretty fitting considering the players and the head coach at the club. Especially so after the rough start to the season, most recently highlighted by the brutal loss to the Houston Dynamo last week.


Unfortunately, the Burgundy Boys continued their subpar performances this season in their outing last Saturday. The attack remained abysmal and lacked any real threat. Unable to score in the match, they were extremely unlucky in the final moments of the match. On an attacking corner kick, centerback Andreas Maxsø was elbowed in the face and immediately fell to the ground. We later found out he broke his nose (and that he'll be wearing one of those Zorro masks from now on) in the incident. Watching on television, the big Dane looked like he narrowly escaped a nasty bar fight; bloody and bruised face, he plead his case to the ref to no avail. The referee failed to stop play despite the obvious head injury. On the ensuing play, Houston counter attacked and scored the winner in the 96th minute. It doesn't matter that Colorado didn't play the ball out of bounds; it was 100% on the referee to stop play with a head injury. Full stop. You can't say in good conscious that the Rapids deserved a win, but they certainly didn't deserve to lose in that manner either.


Speaking of referees, the scab refs are being replaced by our usual referees after reaching an agreement to return to action this weekend. Rejoice!!! The month-long lockout is finally over. As many complaints as fans have about referees, the strike from PRO refs (Professional Referee Organization) demonstrated one thing very clearly. MLS owners are greedy as hell. Shocker, I know. The ask from the union was minimal in the grand scheme of things, the equivalent to $95,000 per team in 2024 including travel and accommodating increases. Regardless, the quality of refereeing will elevate significantly starting this weekend.

(Image: Colorado Rapids)

LAFC Matinee

It can be deceiving when LAFC visits Colorado. The Black & Gold are a legitimate powerhouse in MLS soccer. They spend big, they play attacking soccer, and they win trophies. However, they have struggled a bit this season and have not fared that well at altitude. The Rapids have won three, lost once and tied once when LAFC comes to town. Not too shabby.


As usual, LAFC once again boast one of the deepest and most talented rosters in MLS. After reaching the MLS Cup Final in the past two seasons, there's something of a rebuild going on in their ranks. This is inherently one of the problems with MLS roster restrictions and a topic for another time. For now, Carlos Vela is no longer with the club (technically a free agent but they haven't cleared out his locked yet in LA... just in case). Kellyn Acosta is no longer with the club while Eduard Atuesta has returned and even scored last weekend. World Cup winner and one of the best of his generation, Hugo Lloris, now wears the keeper gloves for the visitors after an 11-year stint with Tottenham Hotspur. Olivier Giroud is rumored to be on the cusp of signing for LAFC as well although you don't have to worry about seeing his handsome mug in Colorado this weekend. Expect their squad to look stronger as the Primary Transfer Window closes on April 23 and perhaps even stronger once the Secondary Transfer Window closes (opens July 18 and closes Aug 14).


They had a slow start to the season, but LAFC is coming off a crushing 5-0 victory over Nashville last weekend. Looking ahead, they have the El Traffico derby against LA Galaxy next weekend. Expect to see the same group of players in a 433-formation coming out attacking. Denis Bouanga continues to be one of, if not the most, feared players in the league. His speed, technique and intelligence are clearly evident on the field. Neutralizing his impact is a huge task which Keegan Rosenberry and co have been preparing for.


Rapids Personnel

Connor Ronan remains out with a knee injury while Jasper Löffelsend is out with a hamstring injury. It remains to be seen if the Senegalese signing, Lamine Diack, will earn his first start. A true destroyer in central midfield, he has experience in Turkey and France. In a recent interview with Brian Jennings of Burgundy Wave, he shared some great insight on his focus to contribute to the team (check out the full interview, great read!). I really enjoyed the interview, but the way Lamine closed it out was exactly the kind of thing Rapids fans wanted to hear; "Now, I can say I'm ready to play. Don't worry, the right time come, and you will see me".


Head Coach Chris Armas has been playing the Homegrown duo, Cole Bassett and Oliver Larraz, in the double pivot so far this season. If Diack gets the nod, expect Larraz to sit on the bench. This isn't to say Larraz has played poorly but rather that Diack offers something different. Bassett and Larraz are both more of the playmaker variety while Diack is more of a true defensive midfielder. A more balanced approach could be in store and is something to keep an eye on. Moise Bombito is expected to return to the starting XI after representing Canada on international duty recently. Perhaps some rotation in the wide midfielders, otherwise it's business as usual for the starting group of players in burgundy.


Tactics

A new season can bring fresh optimism, especially when your club spends more than they ever have in the off-season. For the Rapids to be consistently picked as having the best off-season in the league by national commentators is not something the fans are used to. This has made it all the more difficult with a slow start to the season 1-2-2 (W-L-D) but I'll give you glass half full version. As poorly as they've played at times, it's only 5 games in and the table is wide open. It's a new group of players and a new coach. It takes time to gel. Understandably, some fans might not have much patience right now. However, it's way too early to make any big judgement calls on this season's success. One bounce goes the right, one goal from the right guy and this train can get right back on track.


As we have seen early on, the Rapids are not actually playing the normal system you'd expect under Chris Armas. High pressing, New York Red Bulls style play. It's actually been a slower tempo, possession-based system which has surprised many folks including myself. Perhaps it fits the players better and keep some consistency with the way this squad played previously. Regardless, I wouldn't expect this to change, only for the squad to grow more comfortable and successful under this system/coaching. What will help, is not playing against a high press which very few teams do when they visit Colorado. I think we'll see a grind it out type of performance where the good guys steal all three points.


A rare, early kickoff on Saturday for the home side. High of 64 and sunny, it should be a beautiful day. If you're watching from the stands, at home or on the road, enjoy!

(Image: Colorado Rapids)


Colorado Rapids vs LAFC

Saturday March 30th at 2pm MST

DICK'S Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City Colorado

TV/Streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV


Comments


bottom of page