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

Coach Conor Casey – May 2019 Review

The first day of May brought about the firing of coach Anthony Hudson and with it came the appointment of Rapids legend Conor Casey as interim head coach. Now a month later, and the Rapids are a fun team to watch, 9 points behind 7th place, and have some players with a lot of upside and excitement. The addition of centerback Lalas Abubakar, on loan, and winger Jonathan Lewis have also seem to ignite a new spark in this team that was missing in the beginning of the season. Could Hudson have gotten these results with them in place? Most likely not. This mid season Renaissance for the Rapids probably won’t result in much in terms of playoff soccer, but at the very least, this is a team that I don’t mind going to see even if we are out of the playoff hunt come September.

In the five games Casey has managed as interim head coach, the Rapids have a record of two wins, two losses, and a draw resulting in a total of 7 points which still leaves them in last place in the Western Conference, but better last place in the Western Conference with 9 points rather than a mere 2.

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Colorado Rapids, Game Recaps

Rapids give up six goals and two men in Rocky Mountain Cup finale

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The Colorado Rapids delivered an embarrassing performance Saturday night that saw two players get sent off for violent and reckless play amid a six-goal rout by Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Real Salt Lake. Colorado was utterly dominated by Salt Lake across the entire match and the 6-0 result was the most-lopsided victory in the rivalry’s history.

Minutes into the first half, Damir Kreilach drifted away from his marker (Tommy Smith) in the box and was wide open for a cross from Joao Plata. Kreilach buried his chance and Salt Lake took an early lead. Four minutes later, Niki Jackson appeared to head-but Albert Rusnák in the box. Referee Ted Unkel did not hesitate to produce a red card, and the Video Assistant would confirm the call.

The Rapids – now down to ten men – continued without making any changes for twenty minutes, with Jack McBean taking charge of the attack up front. Twenty minutes after the red card was given, Jefferson Savarino doubled RSL’s lead after Dillon Serna failed to clear a loose ball out of the Colorado’s box.

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Colorado Rapids, In-Depth

Anthony Hudson’s tactical shift raises more questions than answers

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When Anthony Hudson was brought on as the new head coach of the Colorado Rapids, the club’s supporters quickly learned that the Englishman had a penchant for three-at-the-back.

Throughout the first half of the 2018 MLS Season, Hudson cobbled together a wide variety of lineups that fit this mold. The manager alternated between his primary tactic of placing two out-and-out-strikers ahead of three central midfielders (5-3-2) and a secondary strategy that dropped a striker in exchange for additional help in the attacking midfield (5-2-2-1).

Hudson’s three-at-the-back formation was a staple during his tenure at the head of New Zealand’s national team. When faced with elimination against Peru in the 2018 World Cup Qualifying playoff round, Hudson held firm and lined-up his side in the same 5-3-2 he utilized a year before during the Confederations Cup.

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Colorado Rapids, Game Recaps

Hudson credits weather delay for comeback in Salt Lake

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A Colorado Rapids squad missing its primary scoring threat fought back from two goals down to salvage a draw against Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Real Salt Lake on a blustery night in Sandy, Utah.

The Rapids were forced to field an attack without several prominent members of the senior squad, as Jack McBean, Yannick Boli, and Sam Nicholson started up front. Rapids’ top goalscorer Dominique Badji (Finalizing Green Card), playmaker Shkëlzen Gashi (Family Emergency), and new signing Giles Barnes (Injury) were all absent.

Everything went wrong in the first twenty minutes for Colorado, as RSL powered ahead to an early two-goal lead, with goals from Damir Kreilach and Joao Plata. Then, the storm bearing over Salt Lake City drifted towards Rio Tinto Stadium and Referee Baldomero Toledo interrupted play.

The weather delay offered the Rapids a lifeline.

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Colorado Rapids

‘Revenge’ motivates Rapids ahead of Rocky Mountain Cup clash

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Three months ago, the Rapids traveled to Salt Lake City to take on their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals in a match that saw goalkeeper Tim Howard get sent off in the twentieth minute for handling the ball outside the box. The defensive struggle that ensued ultimately gave way to three Real Salt Lake goals in the game’s final ten minutes.

This week, the Rapids have a thirst for vengeance against their cross-state competition as the side returns to Salt Lake.

“There was a horrible feeling after the first game because we absolutely controlled the game [before Howard was sent off],” Colorado Manager Anthony Hudson explained to media on Tuesday. He went on to say the first result “has given everyone a lot more focus and energy,” in advance of Saturday’s match.

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