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Warshaw: Like the Colorado Rapids, unbeaten for 6 years, have turned things around



It was a sweet joke.

"They are on their way to the playoffs! Lol! "

But it was just a joke. If you start profitlessly in your first eleven games, any mention of the playoffs is about as serious as Vinny Chase's as a legitimate actor.

Unless sometimes a joke can begin to take on something true. The Colorado Rapids could actually be on their way to the playoffs.

After a 0W-9L-2D season start, the Rapids have shown 4W-0L-2D performance in their last six games. That's four points after seventh place in the west.

If you once considered the Rapids an animated film or were ridiculous about their chances of making the playoffs, you should think again.

What are the rapids doing? right

striker Kei Kamara (right), who scored 8 goals in 16 games for the Rapids in 169, was a handful for the whitecaps in week 16 USA Today Sports Images

I blame nobody for having taken so long has until that happens. In the first five games of the turnaround, the Rapids caught the LA Galaxy and missed Zlatan. they beat Columbus, Cincinnati and Minnesota at home; and they barely sneaked a point against Philadelphia. It smelled more like "we're not as bad as before" than "give us some appreciation".

But their 16th-week draw in Vancouver – a team struggling for a place in the playoffs and fully aware of the threat posed by Colorado – was a performance entitled "We come for you". The rapids steal no points. They deserve it.

What is the root of the revival of the rapids?

The rapids became very good in the 18's. It sounds overly simplified, but it is the most important part of the sport. If you are superior before both goals, nothing else really matters. And the Rapids have just surpassed everyone before the gate. (To be fair, they were always good at attacking, even during their wreck in eleven games, they were the top 10 in the goals scored – Kei Kamara was healthy and focused, and a healthy, concentrated Kei Kamara attacks dangerously.)

Part of the defensive improvement results from stylistic adjustments. Interim boss Conor Casey has simplified his game plan. They are no longer trying to be a possession team – they are now trying 60 passes less per game. They bring eleven players behind the midfield, remain compact, work hard and try to score in counter and standard situations. It's easier to make defensive games if you have more players nearby. and you're less likely to make a mistake – gosh, mistake had killed her – if you have an easier job.

Since his loan on May 8, center-back Lalas Abubakar has helped bolster the defensive game of the Rapids. | USA Today Sports Images

But it was not a tactical masterpiece either. If you classify them according to different factors – when you kick or fall, how far you have to move to cover, when you stay in a zone, or follow a man – you will not get good grades. Rapids tend to be more responsive than proactive.

However, if you're nearly perfect in these actions, it may work. For the first eleven games of the year, Colorado released 16 clearances and three blocked shots every 90 minutes. In the last six games, an average of 26 clearances and six blocked shots per game have been scored. You closed the player at the right angle and slid around the block at the right moment. So they went from almost three goals conceded per game in the first eleven games to a single goal in the last six games.

I'm not telling you that you should still write the Rapids in the playoffs. But take at least the burgundy pin from the drawer.


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