Friday, October 30, 2015

Season in Review: Colorado Rapids

Record: 9-15-10, 37 pts, 10th Place Western Conference
Goals For: 33
Goals Against: 43

Team Leaders

Goals: Kevin Doyle - 5
Assists: Dillon Powers - 6
Shutouts: Clint Irwin - 8
All-Stars: Drew Moor, Sam Cronin, Clint Irwin

Year in Review

No team scored fewer goals than the Rapids in 2015 and ultimately their attack would be their undoing as they missed the playoffs for the third time in four years. Struggling to find a lineup that could bring results, the Rapids did not have a single field player with more than 25 starts. Youngster Shane O'Neill, who represented the U.S. during the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, only made four appearances before being transferred to Apollon Limassol in Cyprus. Dillon Serna was on the U.S. U-23 squad that finished third in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying this month, but only made eight starts for the Rapids this year. Jamaican striker Deshorn Brown scored 10 goals for the Rapids in both 2013 and 2014, but was sold to Vålerenga (Norway) in March, and the Rapids never did figure out a way to replace him. Irish International Kevin Doyle failed to duplicate Robbie Keane's MLS success scoring just five goals in 20 appearances, but that was still enough to lead the team. In total the Rapids were shutout 11 times in 2015 and scored just one goal in 16 other matches. Still, Colorado offered glimpses of promise with a pair of three game winning streaks before going 1-6-1 over their final eight games. SuperDraftees Dominique Badji, Joseph Greenspan, and Axel Sjöberg all stuck around over the course of the season, and the Rapids brought in some young talent in Lucas Pittinari (23) and designated player Juan Ramírez (22) this year. Ultimately though, if not for Clint Irwin's heroics in net, the season could have played out substantially worse.

What's Next?

The Rapids have an open Designated Player spot on their roster so I would expect them to go after someone, either a striker or central midfielder, who could dramatically boost their attack. As the lowest scoring team in the league, they need to do something to generate more chances. The other thing they need to figure out is if they can contend right now, or if they're building for a year or two from now. The Rapids boast a number of players on the wrong side of 30 on their roster: Marc Burch (31), Bobby Burling (31), Kevin Doyle (32), Maynor Figueroa (32), Nick LaBrocca (30), Drew Moor (31), James Riley (33), Vicente Sánchez (35), Marcelo Sarvas (34) and Sean St. Ledger (30). While there is certainly value in having veteran leadership and experience on your roster, I think the Rapids went too far in that direction and have somewhat stifled the development of some of their younger talent. I would expect a lot of the older guys to be gone next year, and see Colorado embrace the youth movement while building for a big-time run in 2017.

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