Thanks go to UZ over at Burgundy Wave for taking the time to trade questions with me leading up to this weekend's season opening match.
Oscar Pareja has learned quite a bit since he joined the Rapids just prior to the 2012 draft, specifically in the coaching department. His tactics have evolved and he has put together a squad that can play the type of football he's looking for now, something we couldn't say for sure last year. Quite frankly, I don't know anyone who was all that torn up that we lost the majority of the veterans, since other than Casey and Cummings most of them really weren't all that great. (Scott Palguta, please stand up!) If nothing else, the new faces bring a bit of excitement to this season and for the next several years even if this one doesn't quite work out, which is welcome.
That was more Oscar Pareja's fault than anything. He came in telling everyone that he wanted to 'win every game', which meant no sitting back on a lead. It was no coincidence that the Rapids dropped a ton of games that they had led 1-0 at one point last season, very often in the last several minutes of the game. Paul Bravo said that he talked with Oscar about it and he should be more open to turtling if need be, which should add four or more draws to the group this time around all on its own. A defense that should be improved this year should also help things out.
Watch out for Kevin Harbottle. The young Chilean came in without much fanfare, but has already put in some solid work, including a brilliant assist against the LA Galaxy, in preseason. He's also been known to score an occasional golazo when he was playing in Chile, the kind of 'big play' guy that teams love to have. You should probably keep your eye on second-year player Tony Cascio as well, he had a quietly impressive rookie season and could have won RoY with a touch more luck -- Matt Doyle said that he had the most 'very nearly awesome' moments in the league last season, and has looked great through the preseason.
Be sure to head on over to the Burgundy Wave to read my answers.
What are your thoughts leading up to FCD's match with the Rapids?
Thanks for reading!