COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – If the Rapids want to know why they’re eight points out of a playoff spot with only four games remaining, they don’t need to look any further than their road play so far this season.
After compiling a 2-13-1 record away from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with only one road game left in 2012, Colorado have seen their playoff hopes slip away following loss after loss on the road. Why have they have struggled so mightily away from home? Head coach Oscar Pareja said the blame primarily lies with his win-or-go-home philosophy.
“This is a team – and this is probably the major one for me – this is a team that since the beginning of this year, we brought a philosophy to propose the game,” he told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “It’s not a team that sits back and waits for 90 minutes. It’s a team that is proposing, especially when we know that’s the way that we can do it.
"Maybe sometimes you take that risk on getting three points, or you’re going to lose. But for us, our instinct is not just going on the road and defending and get a point.”
Goalkeeper Matt Pickens also cited the Rapids’ tendency to seek three points as the primary culprit for the team’s 13 road losses in 16 tries.
“It’s consistency in trying to get a point when we’re looking for three, we get a little greedy, and we get punished in the end,” Pickens told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “We’ll re-evaluate this season at the end, and we’ll try and work on it next year.”
Despite their road record, the Rapids have rarely been dominated away from home. Of their 13 road losses, seven have come by a single goal, and only twice have they been blown out by more than two goals.
And although Colorado certainly aren’t happy with their dreadful away record, they aren’t necessarily willing to take negative steps to earn an isolated result or two.
“I want guys who want to win games,” Pareja said. “I don’t want guys who want ties, or I want to go get a point. I want guys who dream to win it. If we do it, we do it. If not, well, get somebody else to do it. You know, player or coaches.”
But with the Rapids’ go-for-broke style failing to pay dividends all season long, Pareja is open to the possibility of tweaking his approach.
“We have to adjust to some things,” he said. “But I can’t change my personality. That’s impossible. I can change the way I see the game. I can change it. Surely, we have to do it better. Because we have to get results when we go on the road. We have to get results.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.