Friday, July 31, 2015

Will The Stars Be Out Under The Blue Moon?

Technically the blue moon is tonight but close enough

The Galaxy is in town tomorrow night but the question is, are their stars with them?  dos Santos won't be announced until next week and Keane and Gerrard both had to back out of the All-Star Game earlier in the week with injuries.  There was talk in the last couple of days that they may not be ready for tomorrow night but they don't appear on the injury report.  LA got in trouble a few years ago pulling the same trick during a Colorado road trip, leaving Beckham at home while never confirming his status, we'll see if they're trying the same thing again.  Game time tomorrow is at 7 so tailgate is at 4.  Those who can't make it can watch 'Celo and Fleming call the game on Altitude.

Injury Report:
OUT: M Lucas Pittinari
QUESTIONABLE: D Axel Sjoberg (knee); M Dillon Serna (back); F Luis Solignac (hamstring)

ONE YELLOW FROM SUSPENSION: D Jared Watts (1 game left for good behavior reduction); M Lucas Pittinari (3 games left for good behavior reduction)
TWO YELLOWS FROM SUSPENSION: D Drew Moor; D James Riley; D Axel Sjoberg; M Sam Cronin; 

LA has one player out and 5 questionable (including as mentioned Keane and Gerrard).  Reports from training say that Serna and Solignac are ready to go, less information about Sjoberg.  My guess at the XI:

More of the "If it ain't broke..." mentality.  now that's not what I want to see, but its what I expect.  I'm afraid a Watts-Burling pairing is going to get shredded by Gerrard and Keane if they play.

Strategic Consideration: Take them out of the game early.  The Galaxy are a Jekyll and Hyde team between home and road.  If we can get it in their heads that they're struggling on the road again maybe we can keep them from ever getting started.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Doyle if Keane and Gerrard don't play, 2-1 loss if they do.  LA is a good team when they're firing but a point is there for the taking if they fizzle out.  Their backups are a better chance for than then their stars.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Clint Irwin, All-Star!

One final roster addition for tonight's All-Star Game, Clint Irwin has been added to the gameday roster as the 3rd GK.  He is the most deserving Rapid of being an All-Star but plays at the hardest position to make it (because of limited selection) so this is well deserved.

Also I made it to the Grand Hyatt at lunch today to snag some ASG gear:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cronin An All-Star, Moor A LEGO Clone

Due to injury Pablo had to name five replacements to tomorrow night's gameday roster.  One of the players he picked was Sam Cronin.  I'm not sure Cornin is the player that comes to mind from the Rapids that deserves to be the next All-Star, but I suppose it had to be somebody available and rested.  My choices would have been Powers or Torres.

Also today I found out that OYO Sports.makers of LEGO-like figures for all the pro leagues, has finally gotten around to making MLS player figures.  Earlier in the year they started by making MLS fans figures but they've now moved on to players.  I found out due to somebody tweeting a picture of a Drew Moor All-Star figure.  That one isn't available on-line but I hope to find one tomorrow at the ASG HQ downtown.  They do have the following Rapids players though, Irwin, Moor, Doyle, Cronin, Powers, Sarvas, and O'Neill.  They also have the Rapids fan and Edson the Eagle.

Monday, July 27, 2015

All-Star Game(s) Preview

Just a few notes as we go into the All-Star Game festivities at DSG Park.

  • As expected Dillon Serna and Shane O'Neill were selected to play in the Chipotle Homegrown Game tomorrow night.
  • Coached by Landon Donovan I'd expect O'Neill to start but maybe not Serna.  I'm sure he'll get in the game though.
  • I haven't decided if I'm going but tickets are $10.  Kickoff is 7pm tomorrow.
  • The All-Star Game is at 7pm on Wednesday.
  • Drew Moor almost cetainly won't start but I'm sure Pablo will get him into the game in the second half.
  • Given prices I decided to save my money for the Olympic Qualifiers in October and skip this one.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Perfect For July!!!

It took a dozen tries but the Rapids have finally won a game in my hometown!!!  In the process they finished their first full month of perfect games since July of 2003.  Its also the team's first 3 game win streak since 2011.

General impressions:
  • My question in my game preview was who had the worse surface, Microsoft or CenturyLink.  After seeing this game its CLink by a mile.  That surface was an abomination.  The league needs to prohibit grass-on-turf surfaces for league games.  If a team wants to play on it for an optional friendly fine, but no team should be required to play on a surface that bad.
  • Big save from Clint Irwin in the first minute.  Seattle scoring there could have sent the Rapids into a tailspin.
  • My key to this game was limiting the Seattle forwards.  They had 2 shots on target and 2 blocked shots total between the three of them.  Sanchez alone had 4 shots and combined the three starting Rapids forwards had 9 shots plus the goal.  Well done.
  • Speaking of Sanchez he's a big mystery to me right now.  He seems to be trying to do it all, always going to goal, and trying to carry the team.  And he's not succeeding.  Looking at the Opta stats seems to back this up, not too many successful passes, etc..  Yet the team has been successful with him in the starting lineup.  What I think is going on is that while Sanchez isn't doing a whole lot to directly help the team, his presence is forcing defenses to adjust and is opening space for the rest  of the team to be successful.  So good, I guess? ;)
  • I'm very excited with what I've seen from Eloundou the last two games.  He clearly wasn't 90 minutes ready as I expected but he did better than expected as a starter.
  • I think we found out why Drew has been playing LB.  Harrington was...not good.  Hopefully that's just rust because youza!
  • How do you solve a problem like Watts?  He's gotten better but then he didn't have anywhere to go but up.  He's still not good and is regularly out of position or beat.  Anyone seen Shane O'Neill?
  • Fleming said "James Riley got sucked inside from the right back position and Neagle was left unmarked".  That seems to describe Riley's play far too often.
  • Amazing that with three below-average, IMO, defenders we put up a shutout and Irwin only had to make two big saves.  Are Seattle's attackers that bad or am I being harsh on our defenders?
  • Doyle had an elbow to the face of Pineda that's drawing a lot of discussion.  While watching the game I thought no card.  Watching the replay after the game I thought that the DisCo would be calling Doyle.  Coming back a day later I think Toledo missed a yellow card but it wasn't a red card.  Doyle didn't seeing the elbow as a weapon, he was using it as a tool for balance (tool vs. weapon is specifically called out in the ATR as one of the distinguishing characteristics between yellow and red).  Toledo could have justified a red and ti would be hard to argue but general feeling from unbiased fans and refs seems to be yellow.  Toledo, of course, didn't even call a foul while looking right at it.
  • I'm surprised LaBrocca wasn't used as our third sub.  Seemed like a perfect game for him to be used in.
  • The Bodmer Line is now at 1.57 pts/game.  The West is looking above average though so I'm going to start giving a range between the average 6th placed finish (46 points) and the projected 6th placed finish in the West this year (this week 48 points according to SportsClubStats).  That makes the Bodmer Line range from 1.57-1.71 pts/game.
  • The only MLS cities we haven't won in now are NYC which we haven't played in yet (all games against Metros/Red Bulls have been in Jersey and Orlando where we're 0-0-2 after losing there last month and losing a USOC match there in 2013.
Man of the Match: Kevin Doyle.  Winning goal in a place we've  never won?  Easy choice.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Drew Moor, All-Star!

At halftime of the beatdown the putting on Cuba Pablo's selections for the All-Star Game roster were announced.  As expected there was 1 and only 1 Rapid on it, (former) captain Drew Moor.

Lets be honest, with our play this year we probably didn't deserve to have anyone on the All-Star roster.  The only exception would be Clint Irwin but since there's only 2 GKs on the ASG roster its hard to justify picking him over FSL's Rimando or Vancouver's Ousted.   I'm sure though that both Mastroeni and the league wanted to put a Rapid on the roster to give us local fans somebody to root for.  Drew is a great choice if Irwin is not eligible and I have no problem with his selection.

This is the first Rapid All-Star since Omar Cummings in 2011.  Prior to that the only years we didn't have an All-Star were 1996 and 2003.

"Big" Move Coming?

This is third-hand information (Bravo to sales rep to contact to me) but I got word of a rumor.  On Thursday Paul Bravo was talking to the sales and marketing meeting and said that they "have a pretty big move for a great player" planned while the window is open.  Apparently Bravo wouldn't say who, just that he "was very excited and proud of finalizing a deal they've been working a very, very long time on".

I put "Big" in quotes in the title for two reasons.  One, this is a "fool me once" situation.  I could fill up multiple blog entries on the various "big signing" rumors over the years that either "fell through" (Julio Dely Valdes, Jared Borghetti) or weren't particularly "big" relative to the rest of the league (Edu).  Second, as we saw in yesterday's salary release, the Rapids are maxed out on roster spots and are close to the cap.  So any sort of "big" move would probably require moving a notable player on the current roster somewhere else, thus reducing a bit the net effect of the move.

We haven't heard a single rumor or report of the Rapids being connected with a new signing and assuming the quotes from Bravo are accurate you'll notice he says "move" and "finalizing a deal" not "signing".  That leads me to believe this deal they've been working "a very, very long time on" is the negotiations for a trade in MLS.  That would also solve the roster/salary cap issues as we would presumably send out a player to free up the room for the player we're acquiring.

I honestly have no idea who we might trade for, but I have some thoughts on who we might trade away.  The first name that comes to mind is Shane O'Neill.  He's not getting any playing time and he's too good a player to leave on the bench.  The next two are Drew Moor and Dillon Serna.  Moor because he's no longer captain and is playing out of position, Serna because like O'Neill he's not getting much playing time (though given the quality of our midfield that's more understandable than O'Neill).  The final candidate, and I think its unlikely, is Dillon Powers.  Again he's seeing his laying time cut back in a crowded midfield and he has a high salary number.  It would have to be a pretty significant trade to be worth trading him though, especially after just signing him to a new contract  in the offseason.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Rapids Face Demons In Seattle

What's worse, Microsoft's or CLink's?

After back-to-back home wins the Rapids are in my hometown tomorrow night.  Of course the land of airplanes and coffee hasn't exactly been a hospitable place for Colorado.  In 11 games we have 1 draw and have been outscored 26-7.  Outside of new arrivals Orlando and NYCFC, Seattle is the only MLS city we've never won in.  Oh, and this time around we face the surface demon of grass laid over turf as Man U is playing their first friendly of the preseason tonight at Century Link against Club America.  Last time we played on that setup in Seattle Conor Casey blew out his Achilles.  Game time tomorrow is 8pm and Fleming and 'Celo have the call on Altitude.

Injury Report:
OUT: M Dillon Serna (back); F Luis Solignac (hamstring)

SUSPENDED: D Bobby Burling (yellow card accumulation)
ONE YELLOW FROM SUSPENSION: D Jared Watts (2 games left for good behavior reduction)
TWO YELLOWS FROM SUSPENSION: D Drew Moor; D James Riley; D Axel Sjoberg; M Sam Cronin; M Lucas Pittinari

International Absences:
F Gabriel Torres (Panama's Gold Cup squad)

Seattle is missing 5 players including both their big guns, Dempsey (Nats) and Martins (injury).  The Rapids will be forced to make two changes with the injury to Solignac and the suspension of Burling.  My guess at what Pablo will do:

I expect Pablo to go with a "If it ain't broke..." mentality and only make the two changes he's forced to.  Sjoberg is no longer on the injury report but I don't see him starting on the lousy surface coming back from a knee injury so O'Neill would be the option, possibly Greenspan.  Ramirez would be the natural choice to start in Solignac's place but my bet is that Pablo goes with Eloundou after his performance last week (though I think he's better coming off the bench).

Strategic Consideration: Take their forwards out of the game.  They have struggled to score since they lost Dempsey and Martins.  Keeping the replacements quiet will go a long way into getting a result.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Doyle.  I can't predict a win until they actually get on in Seattle but I think we can get out with a point.  The missing players and the ugly surface will be the equalizers.

2015 Rapids Player Salaries

With the final approval of the CBa yesterday the Union released the player salaries.

Alvarez Carlos 70,000.00 70,000.00
Badji Dominique 50,000.00 50,000.00
Berner John 60,000.00 60,000.00
Burch Marc 110,000.00 110,000.00
Burling Bobby  132,500.00 140,000.00
Calvert Caleb 65,000.00 72,500.00
Cronin Sam  202,500.00 200,000.00
Doyle Kevin 1,125,000.00 1,170,000.00
Eloundou Charles 60,000.00 65,000.00
Greenspan Joseph 50,000.04 50,000.04
Hairston Marlon  80,000.00 103,000.00
Harrington M  130,000.00 130,000.00
Irwin Clint  85,000.00 97,000.00
LaBrocca Nick 160,000.00 180,000.00
MacMath Zac  130,000.00 130,000.00
Moor Drew 258,500.00 270,500.00
Newnam Ben  60,000.00 60,000.00
O'Neill Shane  64,998.00 76,498.00
Pittinari Lucas  190,000.00 210,000.00
Powers Dillon  245,000.00 275,000.00
Ramirez Juan  75,000.00 75,000.00
Riley James  77,500.00 83,750.00
Sanchez Vicente 210,000.00 286,666.67
Sarvas Marcelo  360,000.00 425,000.00
Serna Dillon 60,000.00 73,000.00
Sjoberg Axel  60,000.00 75,000.00
Solignac Luis  65,004.00 65,004.00
Torres Gabriel 262,000.00 274,500.00
Watts Jared  60,000.00 60,000.00

The first number is the base salary, the second is the 2015 guaranteed compensation.  The salary cap number is usually somewhere in between.  Some thoughts:
  • The Rapids are 13th of the 20 teams in 2015 guaranteed compensation.
  • Doyle is the 19th highest-paid player in the league.
  • The top 20 salaries equal about 3.3 million against a salary cap of almost 3.5 million this year.  Not included is whatever we're  paying in transfer fees for Torres and Ramirez or what we're buying down with allocation money.  So there's a little wiggle room but not much.  We're up against the roster cap as well.  Any move will pretty much require us to free up salary and roster space.
  • Cronin at 200K and LaBrocca at 160K is exactly what I feared when we signed both of them.  That's way too much to be paying for two of the same player.
  • In fact if you add in Sarvas and Pittinari we're paying 910K for 4 defensive/holding mids.  Not a smart use of our cap money.
  • Irwin makes 50K less than MacMath.
  • Powers got paid!  He deserves it.
  • I'm surprised Ramirez is only at75K.  Solignac at 65K is also surprisingly low.
  • For the first time maybe ever I don't look at these salaries and go "We're paying X how much?!?!?". The closest is probably Pittinari. There are some players (LaBrocca, MacMath) who are probably getting fair salaries for their talent level and experience but don't belong on our roster, but there's nobody that's just being grossly overpaid like Mwanga or Folan in the past.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Rocky Mountain Cup Stats

I used to keep these stats for the Rocky Mountain Cup website but since its no longer operating I thought I'd post them here.


Overall (W-D-L) Real lead 12-10-11, 38 GF, 32 GA
Games in Colorado Rapids lead, 8-5-3, 21 GF, 14 GA
Games in Utah Real lead 9-5-3, 24 GF, 11 GA
Margin of Victory, Real 4 Real 5 : 1 Rapids, 2014-09-19
Margin of Victory, Rapids 2 Rapids 2 : 0 Real, 4 times; Rapids 3 : 1 Real 2015-07-11

Scoring, Career

Total Goals, combined 6 Saborio
Goals, Real 6 Saborio
Goals, Rapids 3 Casey, Cummings
Assists, combined 4 Morales
Assists, Real 4 Morales
Assists, Rapids 3 Cooke

Scoring, Single Season

Goals, Real 3 Cunningham (2006), Morales (2014)
Goals, Rapids 2 Ben Dayan (2005), Hernandez (2006), D.Brown (2013)

Penalty Kicks

2006 Game 1 Cunningham
2006 Game 3 Cunningham
2008 Game 1 C. Gomez
2010 Game 2 Saborio
2013 Game 3 Saborio
2014 Game 1 Morales


GAA, Rapids 0.86 Coundoul (Minimum 3 apps)
GAA, Real 0.72 Rimando (Minimum 3 apps)
Shutouts, Rapids 3 Cannon, Pickens
Shutouts, Real 8 Rimando
Shutout minutes, consecutive, Real 331 2007 Game 2 through 2008 Game 1
Shutout minutes, consecutive, Rapids 438 2010 Game 2 through 2012 Game 3


Appearances, combined 27 Beckerman (10 Rapids, 17 Real)
Appearances, Rapids 14 Cooke, Cummings, Mastroeni
Appearances, Real 20 Rimando
Starts, combined 26 Beckerman (10 Rapids, 16 Real)
Starts, Rapids 14 Mastroeni
Starts, Real 20 Rimando
Minutes, combined 2345 Beckerman (871 Rapids, 1474 Real)
Minutes, Rapids 1246 Mastroeni
Minutes, Real 1745 Rimando
Appearing in RMC for both teams Ballouchy, Beckerman, Borchers, Cunningham, Harris, Kotschau, Mathis, Wingert
RMC Titles Won 9 Beckerman
RMC Titles Lost 6 Casey, Cummings, Mastroeni


Ejections, Rapids 1 Denton
Ejections, Real 1 Russell, Olave, Harris, Sequera, Jaime, Maund
Cautions, total 9 Beckerman (3 Rapids, 6 Real)
Cautions, Rapids 4 Freeman
Cautions, Real 6 Beckerman
Most cards, single game, combined 10 August 8, 2006 (6 Rapids, 4 Real; 8 yellow, 2 red)
Most cards, single game, Rapids 6 August 8, 2006 (5 yellow, 1 red)

Most cards, single game, Real 4 5 times (4 times 3 yellow 1 red, 1 time 4 yellow)