Unfamiliar Depth for the Rapids

Colorado has found itself in a situation that they haven’t found themselves in for some time: 18 starters, but only 11 can play
by Greg Moss   |   Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mile High Club – column on Colorado Rapids & the Denver area and Colorado soccer scenes.

Many would describe unfamiliarity as a risk that needs a lot of luck to liberate positivity from the otherwise common outcome of failure. It’s a feeling that sits in the back of the mind, festering, creating an uncomfortable feeling within the hearts and souls of those that are plagued with the idea of change. The need to shift, the eyes twitch, and it becomes a prevalent and obvious sign of that discomfort.

But sometimes, once in a while, the risk succeeds and that lump in the back of the throat caused by anxiety, or something of the sort, is relieved. Mantra sets in, and both the conscious and unconscious minds fall into line, and find peace.

Adjustments Made

The epic story of Gabriel Torres’ journey to Colorado is one that we all know. His travel to Europe to visit teams in France, and his last minute flight before the trade deadline to Colorado only to sign minutes before the final hour to become the Rapids’ 1st ever designated player would change the team for the final part of the season.

Vicente Sanchez, the 33-year-old striker from Uruguay, was a question in the minds of some as to how he would perform, but those thoughts of negativity were dashed when he did everything right in a must win game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park versus the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Martin Rivero has finally made a full recovery to return to the pitch as the creative player that the Rapids had missed all season, who had been forced to use sheer strength and size with the likes of Dillon Powers and Edson Buddle to win matches.

These 3 players have changed the way the Colorado Rapids will play for the rest of the 2013 season, and possibly beyond building a team of legacy. Others find themselves in a place they are unfamiliar with, either coming off of the bench, or playing in a position they aren’t normally attuned to.

Buddle is one of those players. He had been called to Colorado to score goals, to be the center bully on the top of the lineup. Buddle’s record with the Rapids is astonishing only losing 2 games when he sets foot on the pitch. But yet he finds himself playing a different role than he had become accustomed to with both the Columbus Crew and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

He had begun to be the man to take on traffic leaving room for Deshorn Brown, Atiba Harris and Dillon Powers to strike at net. He admits in a previous interview that he’s the veteran and will play however he is needed.

In the match against the Caps, he was relegated to the bench only to come on in the 2nd half to score the goal that put the game away. Whether or not that was out of his need to prove he still has the ability to score goals with the threat of Sanchez and Torres taking his place, the player that once was still displays the ability to score. But the adjustments were made to make way for those that are more promising to solve the Rapids finishing problem. After the match, we were able to talk to him and he was all smiles regardless of his future role with the Colorado Rapids.

But that is one of a few new adjustments being made. Rivero, the Rapids “set-in-stone” starter from 2012, also finds himself playing off of the bench. Much of that could be still recouping from injury, but with a midfield that has found success with players like Thomas, Sturgis, and Powers, it may be difficult for him to break back into the 3. A personal need to see him play on the same field with Torres and Sanchez plagues me as I watch the team continue its July win streak through August. A bye week will show what the young player can do, and whether or not we see him play with the 2 highly sought after players, he is always a threat to be accounted for either off of the bench or starting.

What to Expect

The Rapids moved to number No. 2 in the MLS power rankings, and rightfully so. With their recent acquisitions, they have become one of the biggest threats in the league. The backline has finally found some consistency with Wynne and Klute on the wings, and O’Neill and team captain Drew Moor shoring up the center in front of rookie sensation, Clint Irwin. The entire team is finally poised for a deep run into the playoffs.

The feeling of unfamiliarity has evolved from the feeling of uneasiness to that of excitement and high expectations. Many fans and analysts look at the Rapids in a new light. A view of not just possible success, but a step away from assured success. Whether Colorado makes the playoffs as a fifth seed or a first, expect them to be trouble for teams the rest of the season, and deep into the playoffs.

NEXT UP: August 31 – Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting KC, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colo. 9:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live.

MHC PODCAST: Be sure to listen & subscribe to Greg and Bryan’s new SN podcast Mile High Club, every week!


Concordia College
Club Domestic:
Colorado Rapids
Club Foreign:
Producer of "From the Pitch" with Marcelo Balboa and a personal Rapids podcast. All personality with a face for radio and profile pictures. Born a midwesterner, thankfully transformed into a Rocky Mtn dweller. Covering Colorado Rapids with words and voice