Rapids TSII: Pre-Season Game(s) and Early Analysis

Given the low frequency of these posts, it no doubt seems I’ve stopped keeping tabs on the Colorado Rapids. If any Rapids fans out there feel chagrined, don’t fret: I posted something on the Crew a couple minutes ago with an introduction that reads exactly the same, only with the names changed around (or does it?).

The same explanation applies here: I can’t see practices (and they probably aren’t open anyway), the Rapids have a tight-lipped presence online, they haven’t done much since the Gomez trade, etc. So, as with the Crew, I’m kind of biding my time till the regular season starts. In fact, I was going to post on the basic notion of biding my time about Major League Soccer (MLS) generally, when it occurred to me this was 1) self-evident, and 2) no one wants to read about my personal problems with soccer coverage (does anyone want to read this? Hmm….).

That said, as with the Crew, I’m going to post something – anything – on the Rapids at least once a week. A round-up, some thinly-supported observations about the road ahead: something. I’ll try to make it worth your while, but no promises.

Fortunately, a couple things showed up today (and days earlier this week) that reveal signs of life out of Colorado. For one, the Rapids played two simultaneous games against every MLS club’s pre-season warm-up favorites, the United States U-17s (seriously, is there an MLS team those youngsters haven’t played?) View from the Couch turned in a report based on (inevitably) the write-up on the Rapids’ official site. Unsurprisingly, View from the Couch’s report reads better and he flags potential injury issues for a couple players.

In another bit of good luck, I stumbled across a couple massive early analyses on Class VI. Informally polling some Rapids fans/bloggers, Class VI made an apparent stab at creating the conventional wisdom on the various parts of the Colorado Mark ’08. One clocked expectations for the (Christian) Gomez-powered midfield, while the other looked at prospects for the defense, a unit that performed very well last year and experienced little turnover. A look at the forwards is in the pipeline, no doubt, and I fully expect an invitation to participate; I don’t know why, in fact, I wasn’t invited to participate on these two… (NOTE: I’m KIDDING. All those polled look like actual fans, whereas I’m, really, just a tourist at this point with more to learn than say). Anyway, these are educational, both for the awareness of the personnel and for seeing what Colorado fans think of their team’s chances.

What do I think of Colorado’s chances? In all honesty, I can’t say I have really even thought about it. It occurred to me today that I’ve essentially reserved judgment on anything to do with all MLS clubs’ regular season performance until after the March 3 roster cut-off. Too many things remain in flux and, empiricist that I generally am, I feel like too many variables remain in play. In fact, March 3 looms rather large in my head. I’ll start cranking out previews and generally prognosticating shortly after, and not just for the Crew and Rapids, but for all MLS clubs. So, look for ’em then.

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United States U-17’s Seep Through the Cracks, Face Germany

Round of 16

Spain vs. People’s Republic of Korea (8/29)
Tunisia vs. France (8/29)
Peru vs. Tajikistan (8/29)
Ghana vs. Brazil (8/29) – an intriguing match-up of two dominant youth squads whose senior squads happen to play each other at this point of the 2006 WC in Germany

Argentina vs. Costa Rica (8/30)
Nigeria vs. Colombia (8/30)
England vs. Syria (8/30)
United States vs. Germany (8/30)

Quarterfinals to be played Sept 1st and Sept 2th, 2007
Semifinals to be played Sept 5th and Sept 6th, 2007
Consolation to be played Sept 9th, 2007
Finals to be played Sept 9th, 2007

The US Under-17s got the win they needed with a 2-0 shutout of a 10-man Belgian squad. As seen above, the Americans will take on a tough German squad who advanced out of Group F by defeating quality squads from Colombia and Ghana, while the US boys went through on Goals For as their Goal Differential of -1 was tied with Tajikistan. Alex Nimo has been real quiet through out the group stages and they’re going to have to find him if they plan to beat Germany. Next round opponents would either be England or Syria.

Daily Sweeper, 08.23: Denilson; U-17s – Dude, We’re Gonna SUCK in 2018!

– Well, lookie there.  Looks like FC Dallas finally landed a Big Fish to match their little one (that’s Carlos Ruiz):  ESPN reports that one-time world-record signing (suck it, Real Betis!) Denilson will join FCD for the season stretch (and, presumably, beyond; details are thin).  While I’m confident he’ll be a (canyon-sized) step above the average Major League Soccer (MLS) player on the technical side, I think the word “underwhelmed” best describes my reaction on the few occasions I saw Denilson play.  That said, I’m going from a small sample; I think Denilson will do fine here, if not even better.  (A personal note: Kick some ass, son.  Lift the curse those poor bastards have labored under for so, so long.)

In a related note, WVHooligan points to the ugly necessity of letting someone else go – specifically, a senior international.  That short list includes Marcelo Saragosa, Adrian Serioux, Pablo Richetti, and Carlos Ruiz (holy shit!  Juan Toja is a super-bargain).  WVH figurs Saragosa will be the unlikely departee, but, if I were FCD coach Steve Morrow, I’d give serious thought to off-loading Serioux.  Forget the injuries: he’s been pretty underwhelming while he played.

– A loss to world power Tunisia has the U.S. U-17s on the brink of elimination in…whatever the hell tournament they’re competing in.  Like (I suspect) a number of people, I didn’t have a chance to see this one, which makes the fact that Project 20?? took the time to rate the players all the more valuable.  I, on the other hand, have nothing to add to what I wrote in the title…except to say I’m hiding a crippling fear behind a veil of sarcasm.

– Kasey Keller is headed to Fulham.  Good stuff for Kasey – who I like so much that I drove on the street named in his honor – but this still strikes me as kinda wacky.

– Sideline Views pulled up some interesting (read: crushingly depressing) stats on the Kansas City Wizards’ drawing power.  Second-best?  For the year?  Crikey….