Crew & Rapids: Anti-Parity – Thoughts on the Eve Of

Beyond mentioning I’m thrilled the parties involved went with the “outer-space-esque” Trillium Cup for the rivalry/cup between the Columbus Crew and Toronto FC, I have nothing immediately relevant to add. That said, I’d recommend checking out the previews for both Columbus’ (LINK – Julius James is out for TFC, eh?) and the Colorado Rapids’ (LINK – holy crap! that’s half of Colorado!) openers, both of which are home games, to check for any players missing through injury.

What I wanting to do here is quickly set the stage for what I’m watching for as I follow both the Crew and the Rapids through the 2008 season. To start with what I will literally watch – e.g. the games for both teams – I suspect I’m in for a healthy share of 0-0, 0-1, and 1-0 games. The two teams I’m watching are, by general consensus, two of the worst teams in Major League Soccer (MLS); according to a sample posted earlier, 9/10th and 11th. No, this does not particularly excite me.

The thing is, that’s kind of the point. The more I mull over what drew me to those two teams, the better I’m understanding why they sprang to mind. As most readers of this site know, MLS is built on parity (OK, the vast majority of you know this, but…) a system of rules backed by systemic compensations designed to help struggling teams and rein in the stronger ones. In spite of this arrangement, both Colorado and Columbus have rarely impacted the league in a meaningful way, never mind threatening to join the league’s elite. Instead, one mediocre season follows the one that came before. I’d argue this applies more to Columbus, especially where continuity is concerned, but Colorado, for all their playoff appearances, made MLS Cup exactly once – and no one thought they’d win it. In a sense, these guys’ combined records point to the limits of what parity can accomplish; they’re like anti-parity, evidence of bad judgment’s capacity to undo the intentions of central planning.

Guesses at why neither team has risen above their mid- or low-table status certainly exist: cheap front offices, less-than-glamorous markets, low local interest, a kind of paralyzed attachment to the Status Clavjio…er, status quo. But the point of this project is to see what happens this year, specifically, to either keep them down or allow the teams to thrive. For example, will a mid-season coaching change for either team demonstrate that coaching has been the problem all along?  Hopefully, I’ll get some answers to compensate for the pain I’ll endure if neither team sorts it out.

That said, I settled on these two teams in the hopes that they would figure it out – though I have to admit that applies more to the Crew than the Rapids. Will this be the year Columbus beardless youths become woolly mountain men? Will Colorado’s decision to throw so many of their hopes in Christian Gomez’ basket pay off?

Stay tuned…

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3 Responses

  1. […] this is part of a project I assigned myself back in January. If you care to follow that, I posted the final pre-season framing for the project over on Center Holds It. Category: Kelly Gray, Los Angeles Galaxy, Major […]

  2. I think this season will again be a disappointment for both the Crew and Rapids. I doubt that either side will make the playoffs and anticipate that Sigi and Fernando will both be shown the door mid-season. (Not that it will do either team any good).

  3. […] thoughts on the Crew’s win and word of a signing) Posted on March 31, 2008 by Jeff (* This project really needs a name – suggestions are 105% welcome.  A five-minute brainstorm yielded […]

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