Photo by ISIphotos.com
When it comes to conversations about the most dysfunctional clubs in Major League Soccer, the New York Red Bulls often tend to dominate the conversations, but one club that needs to start being discussed is the Colorado Rapids.
The Rapids downright imploded in the final six weeks of the MLS season to miss out on the playoffs for a third straight year. They managed just four points from their final seven matches (and two of those points came courtesy of stoppage time penalties against the worst team in the West, San Jose) and for the second straight year the Rapids lost a match to arch-rival Real Salt Lake that helped RSL reach the playoffs.
In fact, there hasn't been much to smile about in Rapids land since opening Dick's Sporting Goods Park in 2007. In the three years since, Colorado has failed to reach the playoffs, has failed to land a shirt sponsor, has failed to sign a Designated Player and has failed to capture the imagination of the area's soccer fans despite opening a new stadium. All this while owner Stan Kroenke spends his time buying pieces of English powerhouse Arsenal.
If you're wondering why you haven't heard much about the Rapids it might be because there is virtually non-existent coverage of the team. With Denver losing one of its daily newspapers, the Rocky Mountain News, and the Denver Post all but ignoring the Rapids, there is really nowhere for anybody to find the criticism the club clearly deserves.
Will a third disappointing year lead to some heads rolling? You would think that Managing Director Jeff Plush would already be looking for a new job given his track record in charge, and Gary Smith may have already been on his way back to England if he were coaching some other MLS teams and let his team collapse the way he did.
It's a shame to see things remain the way they are in Colorado. The Rapids have a relatively new stadium and a nice nucleus of talent with Conor Casey, Omar Cummings, Pablo Mastroeni and Matt Pickens, but there is little reason to believe anything will change in 2010 (well, aside from Kroenke potentially being able to buy Arsenal).
That is a shame for the soccer fans in Colorado, where mediocrity continues to reign while the rest of the soccer-loving country doesn't even notice.