Head coach Oscar Pareja of the Colorado Rapids
It's time for 3 questions, a hardened SBNation MLS soccer tradition where 2 bloggers exchange questions and answers and try to learn more about the other team for the blog and most importantly for the fans. This week, we spoke to the Managing Editor of the Burgundy Wave, Chris 'UZ' White who gives us a good insight on the Colorado Rapids of the past and of the now and also a bit of the soccer culture in the Denver area.
Chris also asked me 3 questions that I gladly answer on the Burgundy Wave and you can read them here.
Mount Royal Soccer asks the Burgundy Wave
1. Under new head coach Oscar Pareja, the ex-FC Dallas assistant coach, the Colorado Rapids have been tagged as playing or wanting to play a possession type game. Can you tell us what does this entails as per players, system and results on the field?
The term ‘possession game' can mean all sorts of things, the version that the Rapids play is more of a midfield orienting holding game. That's based mostly on trying to spring the strikers into good positions as the midfielders pass it among themselves over and over in the middle 2/3 of the field waiting for something to develop that can launch a killer play. It has resulted in the addition of tons of new players to the system like Martin Rivero, Jaime Castrillon and Tony Cascio, all noted for their great passing abilities, and the passing quality and possession numbers of the team has been notably increased from previous years.
As for results on the field, those have been all over the place but they will surely get better as the plethora of new guys start to learn how to play with each other better week by week. When the team has clicked so far this year, they've really clicked.
2. Part of the 10-founding clubs of Major League Soccer, how has the club changed/evolved from 1996 to now as a club?
For the first three or four years of the club's existence, it was exciting to see the growth of the team as they got some great players and made an MLS Cup run in 1997. Unfortunately, after that the new team smell wore off and the solid attendance at Mile High Stadium tailed off after the move to Invesco Field. Results were mixed with very occasional playoff runs being the only real highlights and the Rapids were usually just seen as ‘that one filler club' since there was rarely anything remarkable about them and they were rarely in contention for any trophies.
The move to Dick's Sporting Goods Park changed things as the Rapids finally got a true rival club in Real Salt Lake, changed their identity from boring blues to unique burgundies and started to finally get results on the field that made people take note in 2010, when they won their first ever trophy. The past few years, people have started to take note of the Commerce City club and it's been a lot more fun to be a Rapids fan, even in the bad times, since the 2010 cup win.
3. Dick's Sporting Good Park is the Colorado Rapids home and is a soccer-specific stadium. How is that stadium and the fans have helped in building a soccer culture in Denver?
It's actually about 20 minutes away from Denver, which isn't particularly nice since little public transportation goes out there but it has contributed wonderfully to the culture of the game in Denver. When they played at Invesco Field, supporters groups were a joke as the cavernous stadium sucked up noise and the front office stifled most movements by fans to do anything cool. Now with DSGP, the FO has loosened up and for the first time in a long time, there's true atmosphere at games - DSGP is one of the smallest, most intimate stadiums in the league and they have the only true supporters terrace in the league which gives the place a real rockin' lower division England feel. It's pretty cool, actually.