As the 2016 MLS season edges closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what the Colorado Rapids will be looking to achieve this year…
The Colorado Rapids endured another tough season in 2015, ending the year at the bottom of the Western Conference with the second-fewest wins in MLS. The optimistic Rapids supporter would suggest things can only improve, but in a fiercely competitive conference, that is no certainty. Pablo Mastroeni is a good head coach but he does not necessarily have a strong enough squad to challenge higher up the Western Conference. Colorado’s MLS Cup success in 2010 seems a long time ago now, and the worrying statistic for Rapids fans is that they failed to make the postseason for back-to-back years for the first time in their history last season. A third-straight year without playoff football would only intensify problems.
Last season’s finish:
Western Conference – Position: 10th – P34 – W9 – D10 – L15
What needs to change this year?
The first thing Colorado need to do is start winning more games. That’s not easy, but it’s essential if things are to improve. Winning just nine games from 34 over the course of the regular season was a poor return. The Rapids drew more games (10) than any other side in MLS in 2015, with four of those ending 0-0, and so turning draws into wins will be a primary objective. To win matches Colorado need to score goals. They had the worst offensive record in MLS last term, scoring just 33 times, and improving their goal output is an absolute must.
Key changes to squad:
Ins: Marco Pappa – Midfielder, Zach Pfeffer – Midfielder, Zac MacMath – Goalkeeper, Shkelzen Gashi – Forward, Conor Doyle – Forward, Mekeil Williams – Defender & Eric Miller – Defender
Outs: Drew Moor – Defender, Vincente Sanchez – Midfielder, Gabriel Torres – Forward, Michael Harrington – Defender, Clint Irwin – Goalkeeper, Maynor Figueroa – Defender, Juan Ramirez – Midfielder & Marcelo Sarvas – Midfielder
Kevin Doyle – Forward – As mentioned above, Colorado need to score more goals. The main man tasked with finding the net is Kevin Doyle. The Designated Player joined from Wolves at the midpoint of the 2015 season and went on lead the team in goals, scoring five. But that is the lowest tally a Rapids top goalscorer has recorded in the club’s 20-year history – speaking volumes of how poor their attack was. Doyle will need to lead the line from the start of the season and will hope to be a bright spark from the first week.
One to Watch:
Zach Pfeffer – Midfielder – Colorado’s trade for Zach Pfeffer from Philadelphia was an interesting one. The 21-year-old midfielder enjoyed his best season in MLS last term, making 21 appearances for the Union and ending the year with two goals and one assist. He will look to continue improving as a player in a Colorado shirt and should he be given the gametime he deserves, he could become a key player for the Rapids in 2016 and beyond.Embed from Getty Images
Western Conference – 10th – As harsh as it may seem, it’s tough to see Colorado ending 2016 any higher than at the foot of the Western Conference again. The team have lost more players than they have brought in and don’t look like a side ready to bounce back and improve. They ended last season with five defeats from their last six and a slow start this year will put them under pressure from the outset.
What are you expecting from Colorado Rapids in 2016?