Chivas USA have another game right around the corner, and that means it's time for Three Questions! The Goats play the Colorado Rapids Sunday, their last chance to get points after dropping the first two games this season. And lest you think that will be a simple task, consider this: Colorado currently sits in second place in the standings, although that might be a bit misleading (you'll find out about that below).
In order to get a sense of how it's going with the Rapids, I spoke with Chris White of SB Nation Colorado Rapids blog Burgundy Wave. Thanks to him for answering my questions!
The Goat Parade asks Burgundy Wave:
1. Congratulations for winning the Rocky Mountain cup with the 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake. With the cup win, the Rapids pretty much have a playoff spot sewn up and the fewest remaining games. Any chance the team might be looking past Chivas this weekend?
Hold on before you start inking the Rapids in with the rest of the playoff contenders in the West, because that detail involving them playing more games than anyone else should tell you why they won't be overlooking Chivas, or anyone else they play to finish off the year. Second in the West in August is nice, but it's a bit of a mirage. Every other team in the league has 1-4 games in hand on them. Indeed, checking teams by their PPG actually has the Rapids out of the playoff picture. If the Rapids get lazy and drop three or four games in August and September, they'll risk being knocked right back down to seventh place in the West. As it stands, they'll still have to hope for some good results coming out of other teams if they want to stay in the top two while every other team catches up.
The Chivas game may be the least important of the matches on the schedule to finish the year, since it's the only one against a team that can reasonably said to be out of the playoff picture, but I think Oscar Pareja and company will know that they can't take any points for granted right now.
2. In Dillon Powers and Deshorn Brown, Oscar Pareja drafted two quality players who have contributed in their first year as rookies seldom do. Why do you think Powers and Brown have been so impactful in their first year?
Colorado spent more time and money on their scouting process leading up to this year's draft than I think they ever had before in team history. So they knew exactly who they wanted and who they thought would be able to contribute right away to the team. They knew that the rookies would be contributing right away, as well: Pareja and the front office off-loaded nearly every recognizable veteran during the off-season, so it was almost guaranteed that the youngsters and rookies would all be getting gobs of minutes. As we all know, nothing helps a player develop more than first team soccer, and it's shown in the guys like Andrew Farrell and Dillon Powers who have gotten it. Colorado is just notable that they got two big names who have blossomed instead of one.
3. Going back a few years, the Rapids forged a "strategic alliance" with Arsenal. Besides the spiffy new jerseys, anything else come out of that?
Not really. We've got the Arsenal-esque jerseys, a giant cannon called the Arsenal Cannon in the stadium that goes off whenever the Rapids score, and... we had Gunners GK prospect James Shea on trial for a while? It really hasn't been a very fruitful partnership. The biggest impact from it was when Gary Smith came over from his job as an Arsenal scout to become an assistant coach and eventually the team's manager, but we all know how that turned out.
Until Irwin has an absolutely terrible performance or two out there, I have no reason to believe that Pickens gets the starting job back. Pareja loves to pick teams based on form of players, and Irwin has been very good all season long. Pickens, in his only full game, was terrible against the Union earlier this season, while Irwin has only very rarely made mistakes. Expect to see Irwin continue to get the starting minutes.
You can find my answers to Chris' questions here.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!