Ratings: Nashville SC 2-0 Colorado Rapids

The streaming platform for US Open Cup games makes the level of rigor for the usual breakdown and player ratings implausible (especially since it totally crashed during a pretty important part of the game), but I won’t leave you hanging after one of the biggest wins in Nashville SC history.

Here’s a more traditional 1-10 rating (plus community ratings!) for the big win. Also, US Soccer Federation, just use freakin’ Youtube, you buffoons.

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Because the fans in the picture did the community voting? I dunno, it made sense conceptually more than it seems to in execution. Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

Formation and tactics

Not a ton to read into here, but some interesting personnel choices. Nashville started in its typical 4-4-2, but with Lebo Moloto on the right win and Matt LaGrassa as the second striker. While he played a bit behind Brandon Allen for his time at the position, I don’t think it was in a true playmaker role or deep enough to collect the ball, etc., to consider it a 4-4-1-1. They were both up top.

After the half, Smith swapped Moloto and LaGrassa’s positions, putting a more typical lineup that we’ve come to expect out there. When Ish Jome (left wing) was replaced by Ryan James, the Canadian went to right wingback, and shifted London Woodberry to the middle centerback position in a five-man backline that saw Davis move out to left wingback (I believe the first time he’s played the wingback in a five-man line – at the beginning of the year he was the left CB – and this seemed like a better fit for a guy who likes to go forward). When Kosuke Kimura came on for LaGrassa, he went to right wingback, James move up to right central midfielder. (The third sub happened in between, and was a like-for-like replacement of Brandon Allen by Ropapa Mensah, which we’re used to seeing in one direction or the other).

The move to a 5-3-2 was obviously a defensive one once Nashville SC had the one-goal lead, and they sort of doubled down by making it even more conservative after Mensah’s set-piece goal made the lead effectively insurmountable against a hapless Rapids team. The flat midfield in the five-man backline – no attacking midfielder, which he’d previously seen in the 5-3-2 – was an indication of simply riding the game out, and letting the strikers make moments of brilliance on their own if they could.

Manager Gary Smith community rating: 9.45

Goalkeeper

Matt Pickens 10.0 (97 minutes) Community rating: 7.55

This one turns back a “divide by zero” error to me: Colorado had zero shots on goal, so there’s no real way to evaluate the keeper’s performance. Thus, I get to make something up, and I make up a 10.0 perfect game. In all seriousness, he did punch one cross away and had another clearance, and I’ll attribute the organization of that defense in large part to good communication from the keeper.

Defenders

Justin Davis 9.0 (97 minutes) Community rating: 8.09

Davis was part of that defense that allowed zero shots on goal. He also defended a bunch of crosses, and none that were launched from the defense’s left side were completed. That’s a pretty nice day. Davis was also very comfortable going forward against the Rapids’s wingbacks, who got caught upfield trying to make something, anything happen for themselves offensively. His cross created the winning (own) goal, he completed over 80% of his passes despite not being a conservative passer, and was an asset all-around.

Bradley Bourgeois 8.5 (97 minutes) Community rating: 8.27

I really, really wanted Mensah’s headed goal to be Bourgeois (over whom Ropapa elevated to bang in the header), because he’s long overdue for one of these set pieces that he’s on the end of to actually find the back of the net. It’ll happen. Defensively, he was a stalwart in the middle, stellar-as-always with the head, despite not being a super-tall guy, and wasn’t responsible for any dangerous moments.

London Woodberry 8.5 (97 minutes) Community rating: 8.00

Woodberry has been miscast as a fullback a bit lately… and is probably starting to show that “miscast” is a misnomer anyway? He’s not going to be the offensive force going forward that Davis is, but he’s sound defensively, even if the communication with his right midfielders is still a work in progress after Woodberry had been sidelined for much of the year. He also showed his versatility shifting back inside to middle centerback, even though Colorado didn’t give us a chance to evaluate much there because they provided no dangerous moments late in the game.

Liam Doyle 8.0 (97 minutes) Community rating: 8.00

Doyle is a pretty solid defensive stalwart, a walking, talking headed clearance with solid positional play. He’s really firmed up the moment or two per game that his positional play suffers a brain fart, which has tied his game together. He plays the longball well. He’s still a little iffy at times with the ball at his feet, and made at least one backpass to Pickens that felt moderately dangerous. Still, I wouldn’t consider this a “weak link” performance in the least: a good outing just overshadowed by others.

Ryan James 8.0 (22 minutes) Community rating: 7.55

James came on and quietly locked down the right side defensively (he wasn’t needed to go forward, and didn’t really aside from a run or two that didn’t go rewarded – he returned the favor by failing to hit Kimura on runs when the latter came on to close out the game). There wasn’t much threat from Colorado offensively, but James deserves credit for that, too. His versatility was on display when he played a defensive midfield role, though I would have liked to see him hit Kimura on a through ball to maybe create a moment that threatened a sealing goal.

Kosuke Kimura 7.0 (10 minutes) Community rating: 7.36

Kimura replaced James at right wingback, shifting the youngster up to right midfield (where he was playing in a strict defensive posture nonetheless). He got off one “unsuccessful cross” that was actually just a dribble into the corner and bang it off the defender to earn a throw in the time-wasting phase of the game. He also intercepted one pass, so Colorado’s inability to muster an attack in the desperate stages of the game does deserve some credit for the defenders.

Midfielders

I’m going to include Lebo Moloto with strikers because he played most of the game up top, and that makes the sections a little more even).

Matt LaGrassa 8.5 (87 minutes) Community rating 8.09

LaGrassa played striker to start the game, with a bit of a playmaking bent to his game. He sent a few through-balls to fellow striker Brandon Allen that probably should have been rewarded a bit more handsomely. Despite playing half the game as a striker or at the very least a playmaking No. 10 midfielder, though, he didn’t muster any shots or even key passes. That’s not super-great. When he went back to various midfield roles (right-sided in a four-man block, right-sided in a three-man central midfield), he was stout defensively while still providing some good service going forward. A nice display of versatility.

Ish Jome 8.5 (75 minutes) Community rating: 7.91

I mentioned before the game that Jome is surprisingly strong, given his slim build, but the furthest thing from a speedster. I should have held my tongue on the second part, because he made a couple really impressive runs down the left side, dusting MLS-caliber players (in the strictest sense of the word, I guess). He made some dangerous passes into the box, took a shot that was blocked, and was otherwise dangerous. Given that his reputation was mostly defensive when he signed, that’s really nice.

Bolu Akinyode 8.0 (97 minutes) Community rating: 7.45

Akinyode completed a bunch of his passes, yes, but he remains a hyper-conservative passer of the ball, which inflates those numbers to a degree. A deep-lying midfielder needs to be more willing to take chances: a long-ball that doesn’t quite come off provides more positive than “incomplete pass on the statsheet” brings on the negative end… and of course, the hope is that the pass doesn’t end up incomplete, anyway. I thought Akinyode had his best defensive game in a long time, with less of the heavy-footed squaring up that allows a player to get by him and far less of the leisurely jogging back to cover his own defensive third (in part because Colorado rarely got there in the run of play, especially as the game dragged on).

Michael Reed 7.5 (97 minutes) Community rating: 7.54

Reed’s weaknesses – an unsteady first-touch, occasional major mistakes in decision-making – are tailor-made to be amplified by playing a team from a higher division, and while some of them reared their heads, they were more muted than I was expecting. His style on the ball is almost the opposite of Akinyode – does he take too many risks in the passing game to make up for a conservative player next to him? A hybrid of the two – Akinyode’s touch and physical nature, Reed’s willingness to be daring at times – would be a heck of a combo.

Forwards

Your Man of the Match:

Lebo Moloto 9.5 (97 minutes) Community rating: 8.91

Community comment: “Moloto was the best player on the pitch. For either side. He looked like he could do whatever he wanted.”

Semi-whimsical rating for Matt Pickens aside, Moloto was easily the man of the match to me. He played multiple positions, and actually looked just as good in the one that isn’t his usual spot as he did after moving up to the second striker position. He created a ton of dangerous moments, whether through service (some of which didn’t result in completed passes, but again, being daring going forward is an asset in itself) or shooting. He has a tendency to be a little ambitious with long shots and first-touch strikes, but the old “tries shit” description of Clint Dempsey applies, in my eyes.

Ropapa Mensah 8.5 (20 minutes) Community rating: 8.82

If Mensah had more time on the pitch, he might have ended up the MOTM… but on the other hand, when he spends more time on the pitch, the inconsistency that he’s known for showing tends to crop up. Super-sub appearances are a really good fit for him with Allen now on the team, and he’ll still have the opportunity to start games, maybe even occasionally go 90 in league play. His headed goal – on the first touch after entering the game – sealed the deal, and his ability to trouble backlines and keepers with loping solo runs onto attempted through balls can eliminate any chance of an opponent coming back.

Brandon Allen 8.0 (77 minutes) Community rating: 8.00

Allen is really, really good as a pressing forward (ironic, given that an unwillingness to involve himself defensively is one of the major problems Bethlehem Steel fans had with him prior to his transfer). He’s also a threat to score from basically any position in the opponents’ third. On this day, he was unable to run down some of the long service intended for him, and wasn’t always quite on the same page with his supporting players to hold-up and distribute to them. The longball-oriented gameplan against a Colorado team that was really pushing high after giving up the opening goal doesn’t suit Allen’s skills, and there’s no shame in that: he’ll have other games to be The Man.

Thanks for reading, and as always, thanks for participating in the community ratings! Check back after each game to participate.

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Community ratings: Nashville SC 2-0 Colorado Rapids

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You! Yes you! Get your votes in!

What did you think of the players’ performances in a 2-0 win over Colorado Rapids this evening in US Open Cup play? Have your say in the community player ratings. It’s quick, it’s anonymous, you can have your voice heard!

While you’re here: follow the site on Twitter, Facebook, and now Instagram. Feel free to share this post with friends, to build a robust voter pool for the game.

Boys in Gold romp over MLS Colorado Rapids, advance in US Open Cup

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Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

NASHVILLE – Against one of the sides struggling most to put together a solid Major League Soccer season, perhaps one of the USL’s stronger side would be considered an upset special. Nashville SC proved this evening that that label is insulting – the better team, the one that should have been considered the favorite, won.

Nashville created plenty of chances in the first half, but needed help from the Rapids to break the deadlock. NSC left back Justin Davis whipped in a cross, and Michael Azira deflected the ball into his own net past keeper Zac MacMath. It felt a harsh way for the Rapids to go down, but the 1-0 halftime lead enjoyed by Nashville was deserved: even though the shot numbers were level, they created a greater volume of dangerous moments in the offensive third.

After the half, Nashville continued to enjoy the bulk of the run of play. They began to build up a shot advantage, but couldn’t put enough efforts on frame to find the back.

It was a late super-sub who made the difference. Ropapa Mensah replaced striker Brandon Allen in the 77th minute. After barely a minute on the pitch, he nodded home a cross from centerback Liam Doyle to double the advantage.

The Boys in Gold had already begun the defensive substitutions (replacing left winger Ismaila Jome with defender Ryan James in the 73rd minute), and that would continue with the final replacement in the 85th. Right back Kosuke Kimura – who, along with starting keeper Matt Pickens, had won an MLS Cup for the Rapids in 2010, when Nashville headman Gary Smith was stalking the sidelines in Denver – replaced midfielder Matt LaGrassa, and a shift from the 4-4-2 to a 5-3-2 with all three midfielders playing in a defensive posture indicated a willingness to see out the result.

The strikers would still combine for another chance, with Lebo Moloto’s throughball to Mensah barely cut out by a defender. More importantly though, Colorado wouldn’t seriously threaten Nashville’s goal, and the 2-0 result sees the Boys in Gold into the fifth round of the US Open Cup – in just its first appearance.

The draw will take place tomorrow afternoon, and Nashville will know the next step on its quest to hoisting the US Soccer Federation’s top domestic trophy.

Lineups

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Match events

  • 39′ COL OWN GOAL – 22 Michael Azira (NSH 2 Justin Davis “assist” on a cross)
  • 45’+2 – Half-time.
  • 47′ NSH Yellow card – 11 Ish Jome (foul)
  • 69′ COL Substitution – On 32 Jack McBean, off 94 Marlon Hairston
  • 73′ NSH Substitution – On 7 Ryan James, off 11 Ismaila Jome
  • 75′ COL Substitution – On 21 Bismark Adjei-Boateng, off 8 Johan Blomberg
  • 77′ NSH Substitution – On 3 Ropapa Mensah, off 32 Brandon Allen
  • 78′ NSH GOAL – 3 Ropapa Mensah (headed), assisted by Liam Doyle
  • 82′ COL Yellow card – 17 Dillon Serna (foul)
  • 84′ NSH Yellow card – 2 Justin Davis (time-wasting)
  • 85′ NSH Substitution – On 27 Kosuke Kimura, off 20 Matt LaGrassa
  • 90’+3 NSH Yellow card – 7 Ryan James (foul)
  • 90’+4 Full-time.IMG_5502.JPG

 

Halftime reset: Nashville SC 1-0 Colorado Rapids

NASHVILLE – It was a return to the old stomping grounds for Nashville SC, and things couldn’t be sweeter in Vanderbilt Football Stadium’s Dudley Field thus far. Nashville attacked the MLS Colorado Rapids early and often in the first half, and was finally rewarded in the 39th minutes when defender Justin Davis’s lefty cross was deflected into Colorado’s net by Rapid Michael Azira.

Nashville had plenty more opportunities than the Rapids – albeit with problems making the scoring connection in the final third – and the 1-0 scoreline is deserves despite the fact that the Rapids’ chances may have been better.

Davis is an easy first-half man of the match, with his “assist” on the own goal augmented by clearing a shot off his own line defensively.

If the Boys in Gold can keep the pressure through the second 45, they may be booking their ticket to the US Open Cup’s fifth round by the end of the evening. Through their first-ever half of competitive play against an MLS side, they don’t look out of place at all. Perhaps a nice cup run could help set the stage for a smooth transition to the league come 2020.

Lineups

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Match events

  • 39′ COL OWN GOAL – 22 Michael Azira (NSH 2 Justin Davis “assist” on a cross)
  • 45’+2 – Half-time.

Preview: Nashville SC v. Colorado Rapids 2018

Now it gets real. A couple amateur sides were a nice way to ease into the US Open Cup, but suddenly Nashville SC finds itself staring down the barrel of a top-flight side.

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Back to the old stomping grounds. Tim Sullivan/For Club and Country

The essentials

Opponent: Colorado Rapids (2-8-2, 14 GF, 22 GA, 12th in MLS West, First Open Cup game)
The Line: Nashville +197, Colorado Rapids +125, Draw +229
Time, Location: 7:30 p.m. CDT  • Dudley Field at Vanderbilt Football Stadium
Event: US Open Cup round 4
Weather: 84ºF, 2% chance of rain, 44% humidity, 4 MPH NNW winds
Tailgate: Outside the stadium with various SGs.
Watch: Tickets still available. Stream on USSoccer.com.
Follow: @NashvilleSC, @ClubCountryUSA, USL gametracker page, @ColoradoRapids,
Etc.: Q&A with Abbie Lang of Burgundy Wave. Breakdown of some Rapids tape.
Elsewhere: US Soccer preview of the round writ large. MLS preview of the arrival of its teamsNashville Post on the game. Rapids feature from ProSoccerUSA. Feature from Burgundy Wave. Golden Goal previewAround MLS preview.

Colorado Rapids

So: the Rapids are terrible. They’re on-pace for far and away their worst season in club history (at .67 points per game, they’re headed for only the fourth sub-1-PPG performance in club history, with the previous worst still way higher at .88, and way back in 2001 (the other two were almost in “round-to-1 range last year and in 2014).

They mailed in any chance to compete in Concacaf Champions League (not playing their best lineup) for… this. Will they do the same with US Open Cup, hoping to salvage a bit of MLS season? Or may they look at the Cup as a chance to still find a little bit of glory in a season that isn’t going to end with silverware in other competitions. Not that he’s tiping his hand in that direction, Rapids coach Anthony Hudson says the team is playing to win:

“Our approach is: We want to win the game,” Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson told Pro Soccer USA. “So, we’re going to put out the strongest team we have with the players we have available.”

That is made a bit more difficult by the fact that they have quite the injury situation,

Unfortunately, the Rapids still won’t have the entire squad healthy and available for the match-up. Axel Sjoberg is under concussion protocol, Danny Wilson has a slight groin injury, and Johan Blomberg is just coming back so they’re monitoring his minutes,

…and Tim Howard is not contractually obligated to play a second game in a week.

So, even if they wanted to trot out the best lineup they have available, that’s a far cry from the best lineup they could put out on another day. Is that license to mail it in? Does Hudson believe that his team’s talent – even when depleted – is capable of knocking off Nashville SC without using his absolute best talent available? I don’t know the answer.

I watched Colorado’s most recent game in-depth, and have caught various others throughout the course of the year. In the Concacaf Champions League, they looked well-coached and well-organized, but not very talented. I’m still not super-impressed with a lot of their players (for the sake of clarity, I mean at the MLS level – not that they’re suddenly worse than a USL team, though they certainly are at some spots), but the organization seems to have fallen off in a major way.

If I’m Hudson, I mail this one in, try to steal some points from teams missing players at the World Cup, and get some momentum to close out the year.

I do really like their best striker (if he’s not resting tonight) Dominique Badji, and they have some other nice pieces, but this is the worst team in MLS by no accident, and they can’t even put out all their best players tonight.

The Boys in Gold

What is Nashville’s best side, then? I think there’s a good chance that it’s not only better than the Rapids (the bottom of MLS and top of USL are comparable, probably slightly tilted in favor of USL, it’s just a matter of where you consider NSC in the grand scheme), but quite a bit better than an unhealthy version of same.

Do we see two true strikers (as we did to start the Pittsburgh game), or the creator-finisher combo that includes Lebo Moloto? Who are the starting wide midfielders? Is there a minor shakeup at right CB and right back with changing health situations?

Certainly, there’s a bit of bad blood between Gary Smith and the Rapids, and it seems like Rapids fans still harbor a bit of unrequited love for their former manager, and perhaps a bit of resentment toward their front office about his ouster:

“The Rapids have been in a slump for a few seasons (with the exception of 2016),” Abbie Mood Lang told me. “Some people say things have been in a slump since Gary Smith was ousted at the end of 2011.”

I think we’ll absolutely see the best Nashville side.

Projected lineups

Shockingly, I forgot to bring the iPad to the doctor’s office with me (pro tip: don’t tear your ACL playing soccer), but will update with projected lineups if I have a chance before gametime.

UPDATE: Just a meniscus! Here’s the graphic!:

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I say Alan Winn, Ish Jome, and Ropapa Mensah are the subs. Could easily see a different right back (either Woodberry out there with Bourgeois at centerback, or Ryan James playing RB with either of those RCBs) if Kimura’s getting enough action to be fatigued: that’s a position with good depth.

Predictions

I’m going to keep it short and sweet: Nashville SC takes a 2-1 win over Colorado. Alan Winn, Brandon Allen, and Niki Jackson (Colorado) are your goal-scorers.

Scouting the Rapids

colorado rapids gary smith nashville SC MLS

The first Open Cup match for MLS teams is always a bit of a mystery: does the club even bother sending a squad that they believe can win? Do they send when they believe to be a bare-minimum squad to earn the result? Or do they try to make a statement with a full-strength squad?

I’m expecting probably something close to the middle option with the Colorado Rapids tonight. That does mean some of the scouting I did will be for naught – with a different lineup – but it’s still worth trying to break down their personnel and tactics. I watched a handful of games, but the majority of what I break down will be from Friday’s loss to Vancouver Whitecaps.

Tactics

It’s worth noting that manager Anthony Hudson is extremely unpopular, so draw from your opinion of his tactical decisions why that might be. 

The Rapids base out of a 3-5-2, with a similar philosophy to what we saw out of former Rapids manager Gary Smith to begin the year (before switching Nashville SC to a 4-4-2): the wingbacks get up the field and try to whip in crosses to the finishers. Their wings do like to squeeze inside rather than cross from the boundary. The central midfielders will fan out with overlapping runs to create space there.

They also have some creativity in the central midfield, with a bit of finishing ability but also some playmaking flair there. Their forwards can create a bit, but have a bit more of a poacher/finisher role, from what I’ve seen.

Defensively, they have a tough time working their wingbacks into defensive postures: this is really a 3-5-2, less of the 5-3-2-heavy version we saw from Nashville to start the year.

Personnel

Forward Dominique Badji is the team’s best player in my eyes. That is sort of a hot take, given he’s scored or assisted on nearly half the team’s output this year, but it’s worth noting that a lot of what he has done is because of his own ability (with not a lot of help around him). He’s able to get in behind with his speed, and while he’s not the biggest striker, he’s capable in hold-up play and can be physical to hold off defenders. He’s not really a face-up-and-dribble guy (which is probably good for Nashville if we see him tonight).

It’ll be interesting to see who plays with Badji, or if we don’t see him, who the two strikers are. I was unimpressed with Yannick Boli in this one, and while Joe Mason and Jack McBean have the plurality of the minutes as the second striker, Colorado Springs Switchbacks loanee Niki Jackson is an intriguing prospect and the Open Cup is a good way to get minutes for a kid like that.

The central midfielders… don’t do a whole lot for me. The guys we saw Friday were all mighty-mite types, with Johan Blomberg the most impressive of the bunch. He’s a bit of a playmaker, willing to work back defensively a little bit, and showed good vision. Blomberg actually likes to play wide a bit and sometimes seems to get in his wingback’s way. Jack Price had some nice FK service, but is sort of invisible during the run of play. Enzo Martinez… I don’t care for. He’s a little guy who likes to try dribbles that he probably can’t pull off, he likes to try bizarre clearing kicks, and I didn’t see him do much effective. He was solely responsible for an Orlando City goal when I scouted keeper Zac MacMath, trying a bicycle kick clearance (for no reason) that made it maybe eight yards and turned immediately into a goal. He does seem to have the vision to see the whole field and switch the point of attack when he’s not more interested in showing off his flair than in actually doing good soccer things.

Right wingback Sam Nicholson had some horrible touches trying to trap the ball, and committed a bit of a professional foul after one resulted in a turnover. I did really like his offensive contributions in the final third, though: he works laterally into the box to provide more options or serve it to others, and his crosses are nice. I didn’t spend a ton of time observing Edgar Castillo other than to note I don’t remember his being a midget when he played for the national team.

The centerbacks draw a lot of ire from their keeper, and don’t really seem to have solid organization: Howard was screaming at them regularly after Vancouver had chances in the box. That is a change from the Concacaf Champions League games, when they seemed well-organized but under-talented. I don’t know if it’s a bit of lost faith in the manager or what.

Axel Sjöberg is the slowest human, and while he’s solid positionally, if he gets beaten, he ain’t catching up. Tommy Smith will stab out at the ball a bit and get wrong-footed, but has the quickness to recover. He’s willing to push forward with the ball in the channel (his 13 shots and two assists on the year back that up). Deklan Wynne wasn’t involved much but seemed fine? Danny Wilson played when I watched another game to evaluate keeper Zach MacMath, and was similarly quiet.

We won’t see Tim Howard, but I think the book on him is well-established: a great keeper to whom age has not been kind. I went back and watched a bit of Zac MacMath (he has one start, Howard’s red card suspension following a game in which MacMath had to finish out between the pipes). His performance in a 2-1 loss to Orlando City was fine: he seems to organize his defense as well as they can be wrangled, one of the goals he gave up was a penalty, and he’s a decent ball-stopper.

Other thoughts

Colorado hasn’t played on turf since the MLS opener against New England, so they won’t be quite as used to it as NSC, which competes on it regularly (most recently a week ago in Pittsburgh), and practices on it very frequently. Of course, Colorado does also have access to two turf practice fields at its home facility, so it’s not like they’ll have ignored training on the surface they’ll be seeing.

I do wonder just how much personnel rotation we’ll see: presumably Howard is out of the question, but does it also make sense to rest Edgar Castillo (he’s 31 and has played nearly every minute for Colorado this year), Tommy Smith (28 and same), and others who have racked up a lot of minutes?

The World Cup should play into that decision to me, if Colorado actually has interest in getting out of the MLS basement. They were unable to knock off Vancouver Friday night even though the Whitecaps were without Costa Rica star Kendall Waston, but the Rapids take on the Whitecaps again three days after the end of group play in Russia, so Waston won’t be back. Save your best players for taking on diminished league opponents, perhaps? It would be a smart idea, but again, Hudson doesn’t seem to have a reputation in Denver for a guy who capitalizes on smart ideas, so who knows.

The Rapids also face Houston Dynamo without Panama’s Adolfo Machado twice in the next month-plus (the second time, he may be back depending on if Panama make it out of the group stage and how much rest Houston gives him), Minnesota United without Waston’s Costa Rica teammate Francisco Calvo, and Seattle Sounders (who start out pretty bad in the first place: just 1 GD ahead of Colorado tied on points) minus Panamas Roman Torres and Sweden’s Gustav Svensson. That seems like an opportunity to drag the side out of the bottom of the table, even if playoffs seem an ambitious goal at this point.

Random final though: for as much as some want to laugh when the English Championship is considered comparable to Major League Soccer… this is bar-none the worst MLS team, and it’s composed primarily of guys who were good Championship players (albeit without Premier League options). Maybe it’s because the coach is bad – I think you’d have a hard time arguing he’s not – but the talent isn’t great either.