Returning to the Rookies

The importance of the Colorado rookies has never been more evident after the Rapids’ last two matches against Seattle and San Jose
by Greg Moss   |   Friday, October 11, 2013

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

Writing in monotonous ways can be effective, and yet sometimes, rather annoying. Some points require a repetitive preaching technique to understand the magnitude of the argument.

I have, over and over again, written about the new youth movement, which created an all together new identity for the Colorado Rapids. I am returning to this point which is now backed by new, factual evidence over the last 2 matches the Rapids played against Seattle at Dick’s Sporting Good Park, followed by Wednesday night’s match at Buck Shaw Stadium against San Jose.

2 different lineups in 2 different matches displayed 2 very different results. Seattle’s match was only the 3rd time in Rapids 18-year history that Colorado has scored 5 goals in 1 match, humiliating Seattle in a landslide of 5-1. The following match lacked many of the players that made that victory so decisive losing 1-0 to San Jose.

Colorado’s Blowout of Seattle

Seattle marched into Commerce City, Colo., with an unbeatable mind-set ready to squash the Rapids sitting atop the table tied with Real Salt Lake in 1st. They were not prepared for what was to come. Rookie striker Deshorn Brown made a mockery of rookie of the year candidate DeAndre Yedlin, not once, but twice scoring goals on both occasions, and scoring the 2nd fastest goal in MLS history in 13 seconds only behind DC United’s Dwayne De Rosario.

Rookie midfielder Dillon Powers got his two cents in scoring a goal off a quick Vicente Sanchez corner. Newely-acquired designated player, who, I might mention, is new to the MLS as well, Gabriel Torres capped off the evening with his first goal in a Rapids jersey in stoppage time.

The point is, the young player of Colorado have found a niche, if you will, proving themselves to be just as, if not more of an important part of a professional organization. Powers, as a rookie mind you, has controlled the midfield like Pablo Mastroeni did in his peak years, if not better. We haven’t seen that kind of control since Mr. “Crazy Hair” Carlos Valderrama did in the 90‘s. The attack-minded, control freak of a team gave fans a show as they made Seattle look like little leaguers playing “bumble-bee” soccer on a practice field in the Midwest.

The Rapids Fall at Buck Shaw

The team that destroyed Seattle in Colorado quickly travelled to San Jose to take on a team that trailed the Rapids in the standings in an important match that could have made it a safe bet that they would have clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference. It was not the same team that played the Sounders only days before. Brown was absent getting his first call to the Jamaican National Team, and Powers was out with a head injury. Gabriel Torres had rejoined his country of Panama in international play. Atiba Harris and Martin Rivero took the places of the missing stars.

After a 5-1 win over a top tier team, no one expected that the Rapids would lose in San Jose. The creativity of Rivero and Sanchez clashed as each tried to play off each other often turning the ball over. They played like 2 powerful magnets with their “unlike poles” facing one another. There was no threat at the top of the lineup to pull traffic, and Chris Klute’s side of the field was shut down, preventing him from driving the ball forward. Colorado easily lost the midfield battle with 2 attack-minded players trying to drive the ball toward goal, leaving a gap between attackers and defenders. The box to box play of Powers was gone opening opportunities for San Jose to counter and freely drive down the field leading to a 1-0 loss.

The Importance of the Young Guns

The moral of the story? Powers and Brown have proven themselves to be more than a commodity amongst the Rapids starters. Colorado cannot be consistently successful without these two players in the 18-yard box. Powers has clearly separated himself from the other players as the man who controls the midfield. His style of play is a necessity in Colorado’s success in the 2013 playoffs, and something no other Rapids has the ability to do.

The threat of Brown is something every opponent has to account for. Whether he scores or not, he is a threat in and around the box. The speed of play that he brings to the field keeps a defender deep in their own territory waiting for Brown to strike at any moment, and leaving the opponent pushing the ball forward with less players than they normally would.

The 2 back-to-back games the Rapids played shows us all how important these 2 rookies are to the success of the team, and also proving that this may be the best draft class that the Rapids have seen in a very long time, if not ever. If Colorado expects to make any sort of playoff push, these rookies must be apart of the equation that would equal any sort of playoff run. 

NEXT UP: October 9 – Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Buck Shaw Stadium, San Jose, Calif. 10:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live. 

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Concordia College
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Colorado Rapids
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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