FRISCO, TX - APRIL 8: Daniel Hernandez #2 of FC Dallas slide tackles the ball away from Jami Smith #20 of the Colorado Rapids during the second half of a soccer game at Pizza Hut Park on April 8, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. FC Dallas won 3-0. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
A busy Saturday of content continues with my three questions for Colorado Rapids SBN blog Burgundy Wave...there is a game tonight you know...
1) Colorado has been almost as poor as Dallas lately, why has the team struggled so much?
Colorado has had a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde complex this season. Some games, everything clicks, the finishing is there and the team looks like a supporters shield candidate. Other times, everything just seems to fall apart and the team can't finish. Injuries, especially in the defense, haven't helped matters either. Probably the strangest thing about this Rapids team is that they don't seem to have a cohesive strategy for playing out of a draw or from behind.
They're 2-9-1 right now this year when their opponent scores even a single goal against them, regardless of when in the game it happens. Whenever the team is playing from behind or playing in a 1-1 draw or something, they just seem to get a bit of panic in their attack and their finishing goes out the window. It's really quite frustrating, and doubly confusing when you consider how great offensively the team has been at times while keeping a clean sheet.So essentially, the answer to your question is that the Rapids have just been allowing other teams to score on them in the past few games. If Dallas gets even a single goal against the Rapids, it's pretty likely that you'll be seeing three points unless they decide to be trend busters.
2) What does having Omar Cummings back mean to the Rapids attack?
Honestly, not much considering what we've seen so far this year. Conor Casey's return has sparked the offense quite a bit because of his trademark power and ability to open space for everyone, but Omar seems to be stuck in 2011. Everyone knows Omar from his 2010 season that saw him score 14 goals, that was the season that made everyone say 'this guy is going to be a star!'.
Last year he regressed back to his older form though, and hasn't shown much of that 2010 magic since. He does have a handful of goals this year and his speed is still dangerous, but he's always had a 'pass over shot' mentality and it's really hurt the team at times as he runs into the box, gets 10 yards out and tries to pass it inside rather than shoot it himself. If he solves that little mental issue he could have 10 goals by year's end, but I'm not putting any money on that happening.
3) I think I asked you this the first time the teams played, but how are the fans liking our old fan favorite Oscar Pareja?
You did indeed, but it's a question worth asking! We started off with a lot of patience toward Oscar and he had gotten some solid results out of his style of play, but lately more and more fans have started to lose that patience. He just seems to be trying a bit too hard to be a winner in his first season, especially on the road. Pareja has regularly put out confusing team combinations and even more confusing formations on the road in an attempt to outsmart the opposition, but usually it's just ended in failure by the team to keep up. (That's one of the many reasons the Rapids haven't shown too much on the road this year.) His managing still needs some work as wellMost fans realize that these are just some speed bumps and that Pareja will get better as time goes along and he gets more seasoned in the managerial game, but after some of the moves that have been made by his administration -- benching and then eventually trading fan favorite but ineffective Kosuke Kimura especially made for some absolutely embarrassing fan displays -- a lot of people are starting to demand he get it going sooner rather than later. Honestly, I think that most people are angry because he's dealt a lot of fan favorite type players out that didn't fit his new attacking style. (Kimura and Quincy Amarikwa specifically.)
On the bright side, most of his signings have looked very solid and he has rebuilt the team's depth wonderfully so far this year, though there still need to be a few more pick ups in the defense. Martin Rivero especially has looked like a diamond in the rough. If he picks up his managing skills a bit considering how good he is at team building, I think he'll eventually be a very good MLS manager. It's just a bit frustrating right now.
Bonus: Tell us about a Rapids player who may not be a household name but could have a big impact tonight?
We have a guy named Jaime Castrillon who you might not know too much about, despite him being the team's leading scorer. Back in his native Colombia, he was called 'The Ghost' and he's taken to that name quite nicely in MLS. He's often involved in plays, but you rarely see him actually touch the ball during them. Then, he appears out of nowhere, gets the ball on his foot and scores a goal. We like to call him The Invisible Man over at Burgundy Wave because of his ability to get through plays without being seen by anyone, score a goal and then stop being seen again. It's an interesting archetype of player that you don't often see in Major League Soccer.
Thanks to UZ and be sure to head over to Burgundy Wave this afternoon for my answers to his questions!