Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cory Gibbs Called Into Nats Camp

One last bit of Rapids news for 2008. The Rapids have just announced that Cory Gibbs has been called up for the U.S. National Team camp starting on Saturday at the HDC in Carson, CA. The camp is for preparation for the Nats first game of 2009, Jan 24th against Sweden on Fox Soccer Channel. The camp just includes players from MLS, European leagues on winter break, and out of contract players. I expect that we'll see a few European players who aren't on break added to the roster for the gamer, which means some of the players in camp won't make the game-day lineup.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekend Roundup 12/27 - 12/28

Queen of the South - A very poor match for QoS saw them lose 1-0 to Dundee at home. After the match the manager had the following to say.

"I thought we were absolutely terrible in the first half - I was embarrassed. We just didn't show any commitment, any willingness to work and they out-passed us. Second half we showed a bit more spirit but the quality was shocking! I know confidence is a big thing in football but I wouldn't make that an excuse today."

"There's no doubt [that some of the players aren't good enough]. Four or five boys out and I'll change it next week - it's just not acceptable. I'll try my damnedest to get boys in who will work and show better quality."

As you can see, things are a bit tense at Palmerston Park these days. With only 1 point int he last 8 league matches the Doonhamers have fallen to 8th in the table, just avoiding the relegation playoff spot on goal differential. Things are going to have to turn around quickly if Queens wants to return to its early season dreams of promotion.

Blackburn Rovers - The Rovers played two relegation rivals in just over 48 hours after Christmas, and gave away a point to each of them, costing themselves 4 points int he process. On Friday Blackburn traveled to Sunderland in a quiet affair where neither team really threatened. In the last minute of stoppage time Jason Roberts rounded the keeper and had an open goal to score the match winner, and he somehow missed. The game ended as a scoreless draw.

As painful as that was, Blackburn did worse on Sunday when they hosted Manchester City and former Rovers manager Mark Hughes. The Rovers defense kept City in check most of the game, and Benni McCarthy scored just before half to give Blackburn the lead. The lead was doubled in the 83rd minute on a Jason Roberts goal and it seemed that Rovers had claimed 7 points from Allardyce's first 3 matches in charge. Disaster struck though, with City scoring in the 88th minute, then after an unexpected 4 minutes of stoppage time Robinho scored with almost the last kick of the game to steal a draw from a game Rovers should have won. The two draws leave Blackburn in 19th place, 2 points from safety. Hat they claimed the additional 4 points that they should have gotten they would climb up to 15th place, 2 points above the relegation zone and past both Sunderland and Man City.

CD Tenerife - Off for winter break this week

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Last post of the week as I have family obligations. Happy Holidays everyone!

Weekend Roundup 12/20 - 12/21

Queen of the South - Over the last two weeks QoS has hosted second-placed Dunfermline and travelled to third-paced Livingston. Unfortunately for Queens they had similar results in each game, losing 2-1 at home and 2-0 on the road. This has left the Doonhamers gaining 1 point in their last 6 league games after having earned 21 points in their first 12 games. Now at the midpoint of the season QoS is in 7th place, just 1 point from the relegation playoff spot and 11 points behind the leaders.

This is quite a change from the quarter point where Queens was leading the division and everyone was talking about promotion. Maybe some of the bad Colorado Rapids mojo has rubbed off on Queen of the South. It was about the time that the group of Rapids fans started organizing to buy shares in QoS that the results went south.

Blackburn Rovers - Rovers played a pitiful game on the road at Wigan two weeks ago, falling 3-0 to a side that really didn't display anything special. This was the last straw for the Blackburn board as they fired manager Paul Ince and brought in Sam Alardyce to try to save the team from relegation. Hosting Stoke City on Saturday the move seemed to have worked, as Rovers stormed out to a 3-0 lead int he first 30 minutes. The team looked as good as it had all year, and while there were some questionable moments in the back the squad was composed and finished the job. One game short of the midway point Blackburn is 19th in the table, 3 points from safety.

CD Tenerife - Last week CDT hosted promotion rivals Hercules and managed a last second goal to claim the 3 points to close in on a promotion spot. This week it was relegation-fodder Alaves on the road and it was more of the same. This time though Tenerife scored eraly with two goals in the first 30 minutes, and held on after conceding a goal in the 87th minute to win 2-1. The win was CDT's 4th win on the road this season, which leads the league, after only managing 1 road win all of last season. CDT is now in 5th place, only 2 points from a promotion spot.

Kildare County - County is still in the offseason, but they announced that their youth/reserve team manager would be taking control of the first-team next season. That next season still looks to be in the "A" Championship as Meruve United has decided that they will take Kildare's spot in the first division. County's only hope at this point is that one of the other first division teams decides that they won't be able to handle another season int he first division and drops out, otherwise its relegation for Kildare.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Petke and Smith Interviews

In recent weeks we've seen interviews on From the Pitch with former Rapids defender Mike Petke and on WeWantRapidman with new Head Coach Gary Smith. Lots of interesting talk, so lets get to it!

I think the Petke interview was the first time a former player really opened up about the way the Rapids organization is run. We've heard some talk from other former player like Mark Chung, Robin Fraser, and kyle Beckerman about how Clavijo handled the team, but this was really the first time a player was talking about the rest of the organization.

You can tell that Petke is not impressed with how the Rapids do things. His comparisons between the win or die attitude in DC and an organization of people without soccer experience here in Colorado makes it clear that he thinks there are severe problems in the Front Office. Petke went out of his way to make it clear that he wasn't talking about Gary Smith and the other players, who he says are "what's right with this organization", but that the rest of the Rapids hierarchy needs to be improved.

A large part of his interview discussed how his injury was handled this past year. He was obviously not pleased with the way things went and said it "Left a disgusting taste in his mouth" and that "If he didn't have a contract he would have walked away". These are some pretty powerful statements from a guy who's been a team player for his whole career. Since we only have his side of the story its hard to make a true judgement on the Rapids, but assuming that Petke isn't just making things up the fact that he needed to get union lawyers involved and a memo from the league Front Office in order to get the Rapids to approve the surgery he needed does not reflect well on the Rapids.

Petke also had a number of things to say about the differences between Clavijo and Smith, statements that back up what we've heard from some of those other former players I mentioned. He mentioned that there was no accountability under Clavijo, that lineups were based on his whim and not who had played well or poorly. He also said that there was never a game plan or team identity under Clavijo, that there was never any idea of what they were trying to accomplish other than just winning the game. Under Gary Smith, according to Petke, this has all changed. Smith has very strong plans for each game, a sense of forming an identity for the team, and extreme accountability. According to Petke that was a "refreshing wake-up call" for him and other players.

The Mike Petke interview discussed the past, while the Gary Smith interview was more about the future. Given that its just as easy for you to read the original post on WeWantRapidman as it would be for me to recap it here (and Nick deserves the hits) I'll just give you my reactions to some of the information Nick got out of Smith.

Its interesting that Steve Guppy apparently jumped the gun on the job. I wonder if this were more "settled" until the early news was leaked and that has caused the Rapids to have Smith to look elsewhere, or if there was miscommunication between Smith, Guppy, and the Rapids.

I'm very happy to hear the Rapids are close to a deal with Bouna Coundoul and I hope they get him signed soon. Anyone who's been reading this blog for a while knows I'm a huge Bouna Time! fan and I really hope he comes back next season. (I'd love to be able to buy a Bouna jersey, but apparently MLS/Adidas doesn't see a market for replica GK jerseys so I might resort to a regular home jersey with 1 Coundoul on the back). It seems like Preston Burpo might be the odd man out on the back line, unless he takes a coaching position. Burpo's a decent backup, but better to go young with Hughes anyway.

I agree with Smith that we need another full-back to push Kimura and Harvey for another season. Jose Burciaga isn't the answer and the news he won't be re-signed is good to hear. I think Harvey and Kimura (particularly the latter) can get the job done, but giving them some pressure should help their game. I'm less pleased with the idea that Ihemelu and Erpen will be fighting for the open center-back spot now that Petke has left. I don't think either one of them has the mentality to play well at that position and I'd rather go shopping for a new center back. If I had to choose I think Ihemelu has a better upside.

Smith also talked about adding a 4th striker to the mix. I agree that we need somebody to partner with Casey, and neither Cummings or McManus locked down that position last season. it will be interesting to see what Gary Smith's scouting contacts find. GS talked about looking at players form Holland, South America, and Italy, which is already a wider net than the Rapids have thrown in the past.

As of today there are 91 days until the Rapids start the 2009 season in LA against Chivas. There seems to be lots of work for Smith to do on the field and some work for Plush to do off the field if the Rapids are going to end the 2009 season at MLS Cup.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Sorry things have been so quiet this week. I've put in a long week at work and combined with the holidays and a dentist appointment it hasn't left me much time for writing. I'm going to try to get a recap of some of the Rapids news (the Petke and Gary Smith interviews) up this weekend and a Weekend Roundup on Monday. Next week will be pretty quiet with the holiday as well. After that though you should see a more "normal" posting schedule.

Less than 100 days until kickoff of the 2009 season!

Friday, December 12, 2008

WeWantRapidman has Gary Smith

I was planning to put up an entry about Petke's interview on From the Pitch last week, and I will get to that later this weekend or next week. Right now though I want to highlight an interview that Nick Thomas of WeWantRapidman had with Gary Smith this week. Some good info in there and a good idea of what we can expect next season.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Queen of the South

The group who invested in Queen of the South under the name Colorado Rapids Supporters go our stock certificate recently. I thought some readers might be interested in the scan I took of it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend Roundup 12/6 - 12/7

Queen of the South - QoS travelled to St. Johnstone for this week's game hoping to turn around their recent run of bad form.

A historical aside. Queen of the South is located in Dumfries, the nearest significant town to Caerlaverock Castle, the former seat of the Maxwell family. The Maxwell family had a long standing feud with the Johnstone family, which erupted into a full scale war in the 1590's and 1600's. More information on the feud can be found here.

Queens had the better of the play through most of the game, but could not find the back of the net. St. Johnstone started taking control of the match late though, and a questionable call in Queens favor is the only thing that kept them from taking the lead. In the end the Doonhamers had to be satisfied with a scoreless draw. Less than they were hoping for, but a solid result in a place where they've had problems in the past. It stopped a run of 4 straight defeats and left QoS 5th in the table, 7 points off the lead as we near the midway point of the season.

Blackburn Rovers - Blackburn hosted the Reds this week, hoping to stop their free fall down the table. The first half ended scoreless, with neither team having really threatened. The best chance was a Roque Santa Cruz shot that was tipped into the crossbar. As the second half started Rovers controlled the play early, but got nothing for the effort. Liverpool took control for the last 30 minutes and made Blackburn regret missing their early opportunities. The Reds scored twice in ten minutes to put Blackburn under pressure. The Rovers scored in the 86th minute to give the home fans a glimmer of hope, but Liverpool snuffed that out with a 3rd goal before the final whistle. Its now 11 straight league games without a win, leaving Blackburn 19th, 3 points from safety.

CD Tenerife - CDT continued to try to improve on its road record from last season. This week they travelled to Murcia only to go down 2 goals by the 60th minute. At that point the offense had decided it had handicapped itself enough and came storming back with 2 goals in the next 15 minutes to tie the game. Neither side could find the elusive winning goal, and Tenerife had to be pretty satisfied with the point on the road after such a poor game early, even if it was against a bottom of the table team. The draw caused CDT to slip down to 10th in the table, 7 points behind the leaders as they enter the middle third of the season.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Weekend Roundup 11/29-11/30

Sorry, a dentist appointment and work kept me from getting to this until now

Kildare County drops out of the listings for now, we'll see if they return.

Queen of the South - Off while early round FA Cup games were played.

Blackburn Rovers - The Rovers started the week by losing by one goal at Portsmouth in league action, then lost by tow goals on the road at ManU in the Carling Cup Quarterfinals. The Portsmouth game saved all its action for the second half. Portsmouth grabbed two quick goals, but Rovers came straight back to tie it up. Then Portsmouth got the winning goal late. It was much the same in the Carling Cup match except that the two early goals from the opposition came in the first half. Rovers got back to within 1 before falling to a two goal defeat. With the losses Blackburn is out of the Carling Cup and in 19th place, 3 points from safety.

CD Tenerife - Tenerife hosted promotion rivals Zaragoza on Sunday. A win would put CDT on the right track towards promotion, but a loss would undo much of the benefit for the previous week's win over rival Las Palmas. Unfortunately CDT gave up a late penalty kick in the 88th minute to fall 2-1 at home. While Tenerife has improved their road record it has come at the cost of their strong play at home. With the loss CDT falls to 9th, 7 points behind the leaders.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rapids sign GK Chris Sharpe - UPDATE

I've just been informed by the Rapids PR department that Chris Sharpe was re-signed as a MLS pool keeper. He will train with the Rapids if not needed by another team, but he will be available to all 15 MLS teams if they need an emergency keeper.

Opening Games Announced

MLS just announced the opening games for every team.
  • March 21st, 8:30pm Mountain, Colorado @ Chivas USA - Fox Soccer Channel
  • March 28th, 7:30pm Mountain, Kansas City @ Colorado