Today I am embarrassed to be a Colorado Rapids fan. Today I feel like the team doesn't care about having fans. Today I feel like the players don't want to play for the Colorado Rapids anymore. Today I wish the Rapids ownership, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, would do something to make me believe they care about their club. Today I would not, under any circumstances renew my season tickets. Today I don't want to go to Saturday's Rapids game.
You see, the Rapids have not won a league game since May 26th, 2007. On May 27th I was excited about the Rapids thinking they could make a push to be the best team in the Western Conference. Since then they have earned 3 points by drawing 3 games. In 10 league games they have earned 3 points. The Rapids have 11 games left in their MLS season. If they replicate the last 11 games they will earn 6 points for the rest of the season, bringing their total points to 24. I thought Real Saly Lake was only that pathetic. I seem to have been proven wrong.
Furthermore, last night the Rapids bombed out of the only worthwhile competition left to succeed in, The US Open Cup. They lost 5-0 to a second division Seattle club. MLS teams are supposed to be better than USL teams. Not this year.
Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo is a nice person, I've met him and spoken to him at length about his career as a player and coach. He takes time out of his busy schedule to talk to fans, to call into his friend's radio show, to meet with volunteers. He has passion for the game. However, he has lost the plot. I don't think any of his players want to win for him right now. His practices are rumored to be more about running and fitness then soccer. It has been clear to some that his time as coach has come, now it should be clear to all. www.fireclavijo.com.
Clavijo has no one to blame but himself. His downfall started last year when he traded Jeff Cunningham to FSL for Clint Mathis. Cunningham was coming off a very productive season for the Rapids while Mathis was coming off a very lazy season for Saly Lake. The Rapids have long needed a proven goal scorer, they had one and then they traded him to a rival. What?
Then in the 2007 off-season Clavijo reshaped the team some more. He traded for Greg Vanney, a skilled veteran defender. Vanney made it through half a season in Colorado before being shipped off for a petulant young defender, Facundo Erpen. Erpen got a red card last night and then proceeded to flip off the host fans in Seattle. Vanney would never have done that.
Clavijo has made some good player moves like the blockbuster trade for Gomez and Ugo. However, good trades ahead of bad won't help a club. Roberto Brown was signed and made it half a season before Daniel Osorno came in to replace him.
Jovan Kirovski has played an entire season despite doing little of merit. The forward played as a defensive midfielder last night and plays many games in the midfield.
Long time Rapid heart Kyle Beckerman was traded to the enemy, Saly Lake, for unproven youngster Mehdi Ballouchy who has come into the team and promptly been suspended for a hockey like cross check to the neck.
It all adds up to a team that doesn't trust their leader and results on the field that are far from professional. So I am embarrassed to be a Rapids fan today.
Here are the steps I think need to happen to start off in the right direction:
1. www.fireclavijo.com - Do what the website says.
2. Appoint John Murphy interim head coach and give him the rest of the season to show if he can win games with this lineup.
3. After the season evaluate how Murphy has performed. Did he galvanize a broken team or did the status quo remain?
4. Determine if Murphy stays or goes early in the off-season. A full time head coach must be in place most of the off-season.
5. Remove Charlie Wright. It is hard to tell what input he has on day to day operations of the club but if he is involved in any of the trades/player decisions he is the wrong man for the job. Let the coach handle the job and find a replacement if it is needed. With the VP and Managing Director level above him, it doesn't seem like the General Manager is needed.
Thank you for putting up with my rant. I promise this won't become a regular thing.