COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- For any good that might’ve come out of the Colorado Rapids’ second point in 10 matches in a draw last week against the San Jose Earthquakes, it was all gone after just 15 minutes of the team’s 4-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.
Colorado head coach Pablo Mastroeni was particularly upset with his side’s performance, expressing an inability to compete as the prime source of his frustration after the lopsided defeat.
“They out-competed us today,” Mastroeni told reporters. “And I think that’s one thing I think we’ve done really well this year is being able to compete. Obviously, they’ve got some class players that can make a big difference on that team, but I think the first 15 minutes of the game we didn’t set the kind of tone that we need to set in order to play against these kinds of teams.”
A year ago to the day, the Rapids mauled the Sounders 5-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on the back of Deshorn Brown’s goal just 16 seconds into the game. Sunday’s match couldn’t have gone more differently, with Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey coming out firing and posting three first-half goals on Colorado.
The loss was the Rapids’ third by three goals or more in their past five games.
“The mindset wasn’t there from the get-go and that was the disappointing part,” Mastroeni said. “A couple bad decisions and credit to [Seattle], they make you defend, and if you’re not in sync, which we weren’t, they’ll make you pay.”
Most frustrating for Mastroeni and the Rapids was the all-too familiar method of the defeat: early conceded goals and an overall poor defensive performance. Over their franchise-record 11-game winless streak (0-9-2), the Rapids have conceded a stunning 34 goals, a 3.1 goal per game average.
And on Sunday, that defensive futility paid out an unfortunately tangible dividend, officially eliminating the Rapids from postseason contention for the second time in three seasons.
“There’s enough blame to go around [the team] and it starts right here,” Mastroeni said,“I don’t blame anyone. I just look at it as how can I do better as a coach. What can my staff do better? And then we figure out how that can all trickle on down. It’s about honest assessment, and what we think is best for the group moving forward.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.