Editorial (October 6, 2017) – The Colorado Rapids 2017 season is coming to a close. They have just three games remaining and have already been eliminated for the playoffs. This has been a lost year in many ways, but they still have something to play for.
Colorado Rapids Looking To Play Spoiler And “Play For Pride” In Final Three Games
The Rapids have three games remaining: Oct. 7 vs FC Dallas, Oct. 15 vs Real Salt Lake, and Oct. 22 at Seattle Sounders FC. All three are competing for a playoff spot (though it would take a lot for Seattle to not make it at this point). RSL is currently just above the red line and Dallas is just below (tied on points, but behind in the wins tie breaker).
While the Rapids cannot make the playoffs this year, they can still drag others down with them. Their three remaining opponents all still have yet to qualify for the playoffs. They could use their own disappointment to motivate them to play spoiler.
Midfielder Marlon Hairston spoke with Last Word on Soccer last week. “We want to make their job as hard as possible. We weren’t able to make the playoffs this season, but right now we’re just going to fight to try to ruin lives for other teams,” he said, adding “hopefully we can do that and it brings us joy in the locker room.”
This is particularly motivating given who they will be playing. RSL are their long time Rocky Mountain Cup rivals. Salt Lake have already won the derby trophy this year after two big wins earlier this season. Dallas and Colorado have built up animosity over the past two years. Close games and players getting injured will do that. Lastly, the Sounders knocked the Rapids out of the playoffs last year.
How sweet it would be for Colorado to deliver the knockout blow to two opponents and ruin seeding for the defending MLS Cup Champions. That would classify as as ruining lives, as Hairston said.
Playing For Pride:
Hairston said it best after last Saturday’s win over Montreal Impact: “We want to be able to fight for pride right now. Fight for ourselves, fight for our fans, and try and salvage as much as we can.”
The Rapids haven’t had much to play for since Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni got fired. With the club mathematically eliminated, they can now turn their full attention to prepping for next season. For several players, that means these last few games could be an audition for next season. A tight nit group like the Rapids will still play for team pride, but it could mean a little more for the fringe players right now.
Bobby Burling alluded that he will be entering free agency earlier this week on the Rapids Podcast. Colorado could be shaking things up at full back and possibly central midfield this year. With Kevin Doyle retiring, the Rapids have an open DP spot and some TAM to spend this January. The club could go after players in these positions, putting current player’s in jeopardy.
The team could be playing with a potential future coach watching in the shadows. Some of them could be auditioning whether they know it or not.