Confidence waning as Rapids struggle to latest draw

Omar Cummings

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – There’s a bit of a crisis of confidence in Colorado these days, and although the Rapids’ 1-1 draw against San Jose on Saturday stopped a three-game losing skid, it didn’t necessarily ease the club’s concerns.

The Rapids have garnered just two points in their last five games, and are winless in their last three at home. And that’s certainly not the trend they’re after, especially considering they’re now in a dogfight to reach the postseason and hopefully defend their MLS Cup title.

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“Too many people are doubting themselves and how they fit into the team and what they need to do for the team,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz told MLSsoccer.com. “I think that last year we were hard working role players. This year, we try and do too much, and we over extend ourselves. Then, you can get down on yourselves.

“A lot of the guys have lost confidence as opposed to being part of the team structure and relying on each other the way we always have.”

The Rapids’ biggest problem on Saturday? They fell behind to a first-half goal from Chris Wondolowski and had to claw back behind a goal from defender Drew Moor in the 71st minute for the draw.

“The main theme to take away from it is that we have these home games and somehow we are not scoring first,” Larentowicz said. “Last year, we were always scoring first when we were at home.”

“A team like San Jose, you could tell when they scored their goal and they were already trying to waste time in the 25th minute,” he added. “When they come here and take that attitude, these are teams we should be scoring first against and beating.”

Head coach Gary Smith said the message was a point gained, even if it wasn’t ideal not to have picked up all three.

“The message was you’ve just added a very valuable point,” Smith said. “We are not going to know how valuable until the final kick end of the season but it stops the rot. It should instill some pride in them the way they performed in the second half.”

Still, confidence is clearly an issue for the defending champs, who are currently in the eighth playoff spot and just three points above the drop zone. They return to league play on Oct. 1 at home against FC Dallas, but first they’ll travel to El Salvador to try and keep their faint CONCACAF Champions League hopes alive against Isidro Metapán.

“You can see it time and again in any sport,” Smith said. “The same players who look like world class players when they are confident look really average when they are not. It doesn’t matter what sport you are involved in.”