Jun 10, 2012; Vancouver, BC, CANADA; Vancouver Whitecaps forward Darren Mattocks (22) is flipped upside down after a trip by Houston Dynamo defenseman Warren Creavalle (not pictured) during the second half at BC Place Stadium. The Vancouver Whitecaps won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE
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Oh, the Colorado Rapids. What have I got to say about the Colorado Rapids? What has anybody got to say about the Colorado Rapids? They might just be the most astonishingly generic team in Major League Soccer. Just a can on the shelf with a blank purple sticker that says "SOCCER" in white letters.
Neither good enough to be intimidating nor bad enough to be doormats; no players of conspicuous individual skill, no real stardom as a team. They'll probably make the playoffs but are unlikely to do anything when they get there. I had to look up what their name was.
The Rockies are a pretty good team; three points behind the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Western Conference despite a superior goal differential because of a sociopathic aversion to drawing games. On the other hand, they're garbage on the road (a win early in the year at the former Piotr Nowak Suck Machine and all losses since). Leading scorer Jaime Castrillon is living up to the hype after a brilliant career in Colombia, but the rest of the team is a decidedly mixed bag: they put a lot of trust into what's left of veterans like Brian Mullan, Marvell Wynne, and Tyrone Marshall (who can't even be relied upon: Mullan is back from a nagging injury, Wynne is out, and Marshall is suspended after seeing yellow twice against Montreal).
Everybody has the Avalanche as slight dogs to the Whitecaps this week. Injuries to old men, lousy road form, Vancouver's improving play, and the possibility that Darren Mattocks might think exclusively in breakaways are all factors. So this the part where I say "not so fast, there's every reason to believe Colorado will win this game; don't take the Pioneers for granted!"
No. Screw that. We should win, and delightfully the Whitecaps are making a habit of beating teams they ought to beat. Of course nothing is certain but, really, Martin Rennie shouldn't be satisfied from any fewer than three points off the Denver Retirement Home.
In many ways, the Colorado Rapids are a lot like the Whitecaps. They're both six-win teams which should get into the playoffs but can't take anything for granted. They're both built for offense, although neither will be quite satisfied with their production so far in the season. And both teams play a disproportionate number of tight games, whether they win or lose.
The big difference is that, as alluded to, the Whitecaps have a succession of young players and guys in their primes. Only Young-Pyo Lee and Joe Cannon stand out as real veterans among the core players, and Lee is apparently made of a special metal. Meanwhile, the Rapids have a positive panoply of players in their thirties; I mean Omar Cummings still plays for them (although we apparently won't see him today). That doubtless explains part of their injury problems; when you bring in brittle players and old players it's hard to say what else you could expect.
The Whitecaps have more athleticism but less rest; still, a week after their last match Vancouver should be fine. In fact, I'd suggest the opposite: Vancouver is likely to be sharper than the Rapids thanks to their extra game during the international break. A week is plenty of rest between two home games and there's a certain rustiness that creeps in when you haven't kicked a ball in anger for over ten days.
So yes, Vancouver ought to be fine. Let's go get three points in our sharp brown duds and get this over with. Just trying to think about the Rapids for this long is already giving me a headache.