As strange as it sounds, Friday night’s match between the Vancouver Whitecaps (1-5-3) and the Colorado Rapids (0-7-2) could very will be a measuring stick to see who’s season will be the most tumultuous.
These squads are sitting at 11th and 12th place in the Western Conference, with the Whitecaps’ 6 points to the Rapids’ 2. Sure, Colorado has outscored Vancouver so far, seven to five, but our hosts for Friday have also conceded a league-leading 24 goals so far.
And through it all, Colorado has had its own off-field drama too, in the form of Anthony Hudson. Winning 8 matches out of 46 would certainly have any coach on a hot seat. Trudging through three separate losing streaks of at least six games (one of which still on-going) will unquestionably fan the flames.
But culminating it all with last week’s comments on how the club is up against “big money players and (a) massive, massive gap in class,” while also, “fighting at the bottom with a bottom group of players,” essentially blaming the roster and the management team who built it? Well, I’m no expert in self-immolation, but I’m of the mind that pouring gas on a fire will only ever help the fire.
Suffice to say, Hudson was given the heave-ho only yesterday, with former TFC/Rapids/Union/Crew striker Conor Casey coming in as caretaker only two days before his first managerial assignment.
Like I said: tumultuous. And to help us ‘Caps fans understand the other side a little bit better, we reached out to Abbie Lang at Burgundy Wave for this week’s Know The Enemy!
Given the nature of Anthony Hudson’s comments last week, were the Rapids right in firing their coach nine games into the season?
“When we talk about Anthony Hudson getting fired, it’s helpful to look at the whole picture— it’s not that the team was winless nine games into the season, but that last year was awful, too.
The Rapids had just eight wins last year and the least amount of points in club history (since they started playing 34 games in a season). So cumulatively, things were rough under Hudson. Then they brought in a bunch of players who have proven themselves in MLS and wouldn’t have the adjustment period that many of the international players Hudson brought in last year would have. Everyone (including Hudson) was excited about the group and what they could do, and then the season started going down in flames.
Padraig Smith and the Front Office believe that there’s still time to salvage things, so they (and many of us) agreed that firing him was the best option. The interim is fan favorite and Colorado legend Conor Casey and we are hopeful that he can at least start getting things back on track starting Friday night.”
What do the Rapids need to do to get out of the six-game slide they’re currently mired in and keep it from getting closer to the lengthy ones they suffered last year?
“I think that firing Hudson was a step in the right direction.
The club needed new leadership and someone who was going to learn from their mistakes. So we’ll see if the issues in the backline are/were tactical or we just don’t have the right players back there. But either way, the backline is definitely the focus, as they’ve been pretty terrible this year. The Rapids have let in 24 goals over nine games, which is 2.67 goals per game on average.
They’re scoring more goals, which is great, but you can’t win games if you’re letting that many in on the other end.”
The 2019 Whitecaps and Rapids share a kinship both in their respective inauspicious starts, as well as the Rapids’ inclusion of three former ‘Caps on the roster: Nico Mezquida, Kei Kamara, and Deklan Wynne. How have the three fared so far?
“Kei Kamara has been fantastic. He’s a leader on the pitch, he has five goals, and he’s just been an all-around bright spot so far this season.
Nicolas Mezquida has played in every game so far (including seven starts) and has been hit-or-miss at times, but has mostly had a positive impact when he’s been on the pitch.
And Deklan Wynne made a lot of mistakes last year, but has improved quite a bit and is probably our best CB right now.”
Abbie - thanks again for taking part in our Know The Enemy!