Colorado Rapids’ season is in danger of petering out if they produce many more performances like the one that saw them dismantled by a New England Revolution side that had been in a dire run of form.
The Revolution had lost their previous eight matches but were far too good for a Rapids side that produced possibly their worst performance of the season.
New England had only scored four goals during their eight-match losing streak but Lee Nguyen scored with the aid of a deflection after only ten minutes to put Colorado on the back foot.
It was the first time New England had taken the lead in a match since May and they did not waste the opportunity to land a precious three points after the Rapids had Thomas Piermayr sent off, Nguyen doubling their lead with a free kick before Kelyn Rowe completed the scoring with a brilliant individual effort.
So where does this result leave Colorado?
Head coach Pablo Mastroeni was in no mood for excuses after the game, saying: “As an individual, as a coach myself, from top to bottom, it wasn’t good enough. We have to now feel what this feels like and ask ourselves some really good questions. This is not the team that we want to be.”
Mastroeni had decided to rest several key players while he still has to cope with a lengthy injury list but this was still a woeful display.
The defense was torn apart by a team that hadn’t scored a goal from open play in over a month and too many of the players seemed to have one eye on the vital Rocky Mountain Cup clash against Real Salt Lake.
However, such talk cut no ice with Mastroeni, who added: “Everything from the preparation, the mind-set, the desire to compete, none of it was there from top to bottom. These are games that you have to take something from.”
The result leaves the Rapids fourth in the Western Conference and still in line to reach the playoffs, but any more results like this one will surely give renewed hope to the likes of Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers as they attempt to secure an all-important top-five spot.
Colorado’s big-name stars need to start firing and soon if the Rapids are to win the MLS Cup for the second time in five years.
The Rapids have failed to build on that 2010 success when they beat FC Dallas in the final, reaching the quarter-finals 12 months later, failing to even qualify for the playoffs in 2012 and then only reaching the knockout round last season.
Panama international Gabriel Torres has been a big disappointment and has only scored once this season, while more goals from Nick LaBrocca would also be extremely welcome.
Goalkeeper Clint Irwin has done little wrong all season and the latest football news coming out of Denver suggests he will keep his place in the Rapids’ starting line-up despite conceding those three goals against New England.