In the first four games of 2012, the Colorado Rapids poured in a total of seven goals, nearly two a game, and all seemed hunky dory with the club’s new 4-3-3 configuration.
But after Saturday’s 1-0 shutout loss at Seattle, the Rapids have yet to score in the past 182 minutes dating back to their 2-0 win over Chicago on April 1, and the lack of offense has head coach Oscar Pareja concerned.
“That’s something we’re going to work through,” Pareja told MLSsoccer.com after Saturday’s defeat. “A lot of things to do, a lot of things to work on.”
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What exactly has happened to the Rapids’ once-prolific attack the last two weeks? The Rapids have struggled to get their foot in matches until deep into the first half, leaving the Rapids to fight from behind in Real Salt Lake on April 7 and appear out-of-sync offensively in Seattle on Saturday afternoon.
Also, newcomers Martin Rivero and Jaime Castrillon, both critical to the Rapids’ early offensive successes, have struggled to find consistent touches over the last two contests.
But Pareja attributed the South American duo’s lack of involvement to part of their continuing adaptation to playing in the MLS.
“They’re players who like the ball, and that’s what we expect from them. When you don’t have the right chemistry or the right timing and you’re a little late here and there, it’ll be [tough] for them,” Pareja said. “But definitely for them it’s a transition to the league and they’re going to find the ball.”
Conor Casey’s expected return next Saturday against the Galaxy at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will be a major boost to the strike force, with fellow striker Omar Cummings filling in as the point man in the meantime.
But even with Casey likely back in the fold, look for Pareja and the Rapids to prioritize offense this week at practice in the lead-up to Saturday’s showdown with the Galaxy.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.