lunedì 18 agosto 2014

Defensive woes frustate Rapids once again

Offense sells tickets, defense wins championship. This old football related mantra is often true also in soccer. For their fourth consecutive game, Rapids forget it as Colorado allowed easy goals that helped D.C. United to beat Pablo Mastroeni’s side 4-2. Colorado look as they have completely forgot how to defend. The Rapids have now registered four straight losses and earned just five points out from their latest eight games. Add to it the fact that Colorado lost their captain and defensive anchor, center back Drew Moor, that suffered a right knee sprain. Season started differently, and the initial Colorado Rapids’ 3-2-2 record after seven games looked promising, although it exceeded the expectations considering the team’s youth. Instead, as the season went along, we have seen this team suffering classic growing pains with Mastroeni, the seventh Head Coach in Colorado Rapids history, making the usual mistakes you can expect by a rookie head coach. The fluidity with which they shift from one shape to another is astonishing. Experimentation is good when it works. You know, usually this is the issue with a tinkering manager: the final result is the only thing matter and it is that which separates a dumb from a tactical genius. Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers played 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 or 4-1-3-2, ever producing good results so the Northern Irish is quickly became a soccer guru and one of the most highly-rated young managers in the game. At Colorado, Mastroeni’s tinkering with players' roles and formations produced mixed results so media and fans started questioning the head coach’s shakeups. Earlier in March, following a 3-2 home loss against Sporting KC, Mastroeni opted to change his 4-4-2 narrow pattern in favor of a 4-4-2 diamond formation. True to be told, they also played in a 4-2-3-1 at the start of this season. By the way, under this new  tactical understanding, Rapids went undefeated in a three-game span. But, after a huge loss against Seattle, once again Mastroeni went changing his team’s shape. It didn’t paid dividends. All those changes failed to fix Rapids’ defensive woes and also didn’t add to the team the needed offensive flair. For Mastroeni all this tinkering seemed to be more the consequence to see which formation works rather than the result of a pondered decision based on the will to get out the most from his footballers’ skills. Obviously, this is a rebuilding year in Colorado. This is a long process and you’ll probably start to reap the benefits next campaign. Right now, the Rapids experienced any growth during this season.

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