The Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapids are certainly trending in different directions. The Whitecaps are riding a three match win streak, on the road no less, and are atop the Western Conference Standings with 32 points. The Rapids occupy the bottom spot in the west, winners of just two matches all season long.
As John Rosch, Managing Editor of fellow SBNation site Burgundy Wave tells us, it's a trend he doesn't expect the club to snap out of any time soon.
86Forever: Is it possible to salvage the season?
John Rosch: In a word: no.
The Rapids are on 15 points at the halfway point of the season and the sixth place team in the Western Conference will (probably) need a minimum of 51 points to make the playoffs. For the Rapids, that means averaging 2.1 points per game here on out to make that a reality.
They do have three games in July against the West, so there is a small glimmer of hope if they can win all three, but the reality is that the form is so poor right now that most hope for a playoff run has vanished (sadly) this year.
86F: Gabriel Torres has been a bright spot, with a career high 4 goals already. How is he playing this season?
JR: Torres has been one of the few bright spots this year without a doubt. He has had a career resurgence after a terrible 2014 and is leading the club in goals and is second in assists. His play has been much, much better this year, and for a team that has only scored 12 goals, Torres has been crucial.
That being said, Torres has not scored in two months (last one was against the Galaxy on May 2) and in that period the Rapids have gone 1-4-3. He is a streaky player and when he is on, he is on. But the last two months have been tough for Torres and the Rapids and it does not take much to realize that the two are interconnected
86F: What needs to change to make this club competitive?
JR: 3) That is the million dollar question. The general feeling is that this team has talent--at least far more talent than the record would reflect. Playoffs were the expectation this year and the Rapids will fall far short of it and the question is how far will that be? If you agree that the players are talented enough to compete for the playoffs, and it is not happening, the most obvious place to find blame is in the coaching staff. Pablo Mastroeni is completely out of his element as a coach, and it is demonstrated week in and week out.
The Rapids are in a bit of a pickle with it. There is history in Major League Soccer that says players who become coaches can be successful after a few rocky years, but truth is that the Rapids have won 10 of 51 games with PM in charge and have won twice since July 2014 and one of those was very controversial (the free kick goal for Vancouver that was not in May of this year). Also, Mastroeni is a club legend and was inducted into the gallery of honor last year so the Rapids have to be careful how this is all dealt with.
(SIDE NOTE: If your readers want to read this, here is a good look from our contributors on the Pablo issue: http://www.burgundywave.com/
Starting XI: Clint Irwin, Marc Burch, Drew Moor, Shane O'Neill, Michael Harrington, Marcelo Sarvas, Sam Cronin, Dillon Serna, Dillon Powers, Luis Solignac, Kevin Doyle
Predicted Score: Colorado Rapids 0:2 Vancouver Whitecaps