Colorado Rapids

2019 Rest of Season (July-October) Preview

Now that the midpoint of the MLS season has come and gone, it’s time to look at how the rest of the season will pan out for the Colorado Rapids. I wrote my 2019 Season Preview up to 17 games into the season. Upon reflection, I was excited and hopeful that this team had what it took to be a mid-table MLS side. I’ll admit, I was so optimistic that I was convinced Anthony Hudson was the right man to lead the Rapids to a playoff berth.  Instead, Colorado went on to have two months without winning and averaged one point a month for a total of two points after 13 games.

The biggest turning point of the season came when the Rapids Front Office dismissed head coach Anthony Hudson on May 1st 2019. He had only won a total of 8 league games since being hired in November of 2017. After the firing of Hudson, Conor Casey was tasked with  the position of interim head coach to right the course of what had been a terrible start to the season. Under Anthony Hudson, the Colorado Rapids went 0-7-2 and under Conor Casey they went 5-2-2 for a combined total of 5-9-4.

The Rapids find themselves in 11th place just 6 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. My season preview had dubbed 2019 as a throwaway season and to some extent it still is. It’s hard to find it in myself to believe that the Rapids could possibly turn it around and become a playoff contender. However, they probably can. This weird balance of skepticism and optimism has overall clouded any clear prediction as to whether or not the Rapids can actually make a playoff appearance this year. So, this Rest of Season preview will attempt to see both sides and make the case for the optimists and the skeptics: How the Rapids could still make the playoffs and why they ultimately won’t.

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Colorado Rapids, In-Depth

2019 Season Preview: Rapids Positional Power Rankings

The long preseason grind for the Colorado Rapids has reached its inevitable conclusion: the start of the regular season. The objective for the organization? To return to the promised land of MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2016.

After a flurry of offseason activity, a noticeable level of hype is slowly starting to build around the Rocky Mountain side. Some of the league’s own media outlets are actually acknowledging Colorado’s existence for once and preseason results have led to a measured sense of optimism emanating from the coaching staff.

The Rapids’ roster has gone through its fair share of reconstruction over the past two years, leaving Colorado with only four players who were part of the team’s mythical Supporter’s Shield run in 2016 and quite a few unknowns to boot. Suffice to say, there are a lot of new faces in Burgundy for 2019 – here is how they stack up against one another in every position of Anthony Hudson’s 4-4-2-Diamond.

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Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

Colorado solidifies first team depth during draft weekend

The Colorado Rapids traded away a fan favorite, but made some valuable acquisitions to strengthen their squad squad depth during the MLS SuperDraft. The weekend’s moves were the latest in a whirlwind of activity orchestrated by the Rapids front office ahead of the 2019 season.

Colorado Friday by announcing the successful signing of veteran midfielder, Benny Feilhaber. Half an hour later, the Rapids traded up to the fifth overall pick of the SuperDraft to select standout University of Denver striker, Andre Shinyashiki. Colorado finished the afternoon by drafting Marcello Borges (University of Michigan) and Jacob Hauser-Ramsey (University of Connecticut), but not before winger-turned-fullback Marlon Hairston was sent to the Houston Dynamo in exchange for $175,000 General Allocation Money.

Anthony Hudson expressed relief and pleasure after the completion of the second round of the draft, noting that the new additions “complement” the work done by General Manager Pádraig Smith, who has spearheaded Colorado’s activity in the MLS Primary Transfer Window.

“At the end of last season, we had so many scouting meetings, and we went through all the targets that we wanted,” Hudson explained, “Pádraig and our scouts have delivered.”

Colorado followed up Friday’s acquisitions by drafting Robbie Mertz with their seventy-sixth overall selection during the fourth round on Monday’s supplementary, conference-call draft.

In advance of Tuesday’s special announcement, it is necessary to critically evaluate the impact of these moves on Colorado’s ongoing roster rebuild and understand what role each player can serve in the first team.

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Colorado Rapids, In-Depth, Roster Updates

Another Year, Another Rapids Rebuild

To say the 2018 MLS Regular Season was a disappointment for the Colorado Rapids would be quite the understatement. Colorado endured two seven-game losing streaks, scored a league-low thirty-six goals, and finished third-to-last in the overall table with a measly thirty-one points. Despite brief glimpses of the “attacking football” pledged by the club’s front office, it was clear from two month into the season that the Rapids did not have the quality to compete on the same level as the top sides in Major League Soccer.

Throughout Colorado’s failure to make the playoffs in two consecutive seasons, General Manager Pádraig Smith has reiterated his promise of making Colorado a perennial postseason contender – an ideal initially manifested in his infamous 2017 editorial in the Denver Post. Now, one full year into the thus-far underwhelming Anthony Hudson project, there appears to be a glimmer of hope for the Rapids faithful.

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Colorado Rapids, Game Recaps

Colorado fights back twice to draw with L.A.

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Colorado extended their undefeated streak to three games as the Rapids fought back from two deficits to secure a vital road draw against the L.A. Galaxy Tuesday night.

“I’m just incredibly proud of how the team has been working over the last five-six games,” manager Anthony Hudson said of the 2-2 result, “from start to finish really I think we were the better team, I think we controlled the game, so I’m pleased for the players because they needed that.”

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Colorado Rapids, Game Recaps

Howard, Boateng shine in another late Rapids win

2018-08-12 11_26_35-Colorado Rapids vs San Jose Earthquakes _ Photos _ August 11, 2018 _ Colorado Ra

Colorado secured consecutive victories for the first time in 2018 and Bismarck ‘Nana’ Adjei-Boateng scored his first goal in burgundy as the Rapids defeated San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 on a beautiful summer Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

The Rapids needed yet another stoppage time effort to defeat their fellow Western Conference bottom-dwellers, a result which finds Colorado eleven points below the red line with eleven games left in the regular season.

“I wish it wasn’t another late one,” Manager Anthony Hudson lamented post-match, “the game should’ve been put away in the first half.”

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Colorado Rapids, In-Depth

Earthquakes match a “must-win” for Colorado

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Fresh off a last-minute 2-1 victory over the L.A. Galaxy, the Colorado Rapids find themselves in unfamiliar territory ahead of what striker Jack McBean called a “must-win game” against the San Jose Earthquakes.

For the first time all season, the Rapids have demonstrated progress. Ever since Anthony Hudson oversaw a formation shift to the 4-4-2-Diamond, Colorado has shown glimpses – if brief – of Pádraig Smith’s “attacking soccer” vision for the Burgundy Boys.

The glimpses first came in Salt Lake, where the Rapids exhibited strength and resilience in responding to an early setback by earning a much-deserved draw. While Colorado ultimately failed to garner a result the following week in the District of Columbia, new signing Kellyn Acosta provided a needed spark to what was previously an overrun and uncreative midfield. Then, against the Galaxy, all the pieces came together: the Rapids dominated possession, looked dangerous on the attack, and created consistent chances. The match was perhaps Colorado’s most complete showing of the year.

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