Tag Archives: Anthony Hudson

The Rapids long and winding road

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Friday, June 1: 1-2 Loss

“We know who we want to be, we know what type of club we want to be and to be honest, we’re not going to stop until we reach it. We want to be great. We want to be a club that brings the trophy back here to Colorado. We want to be (a) perennial playoff team…” These are just some of the words spoken by the Colorado Rapids executive vice president and general manager, Pádraig Smith when he addressed the season ticket holders Saturday at the annual Meet the Team party.

With the Rapids recent switch from a seven game undefeated at home streak to a seven game losing streak, these are some hard words to swallow. In 2016 and 2017, Colorado went from being in the top of the league, second in the race to the Supporters’ Shield, to being second from last. (The Los Angeles Galaxy gave us a gift that year by taking the bottommost spot out of our hands.) The offseason saw a huge wave of roster changes, as well as coaching changes, that brought hope for the 2018 offseason.

Sadly, that hope has been short lived as the Rapids have not been able to put more than 2 wins and 2 draws together for their current eight points. This has been nothing short of a tough and trying season for even the most optimistic.

I am a self-proclaimed practicing eternal optimist. I truly believe that optimism is both imperative and integral to being a sports fan. (You don’t go to a game without some hope that your team is going to win, right?) Every game brings a new opportunity for my team to impress me or leave me heartbroken. I choose to believe that the former will happen when I stand with my scarf held high at the beginning of the game.

And it’s been hard. It’s been hard to keep my scarf and my head up with the recent lackluster performances that I have been seeing. It has been hard to keep from swearing on my Twitter feed about the calls the referees are and aren’t making. (Sorry Dayna!)

It’s been absolutely aggravating to watch players take a few too many touches and not shoot when they have the opportunity. It has been angering to watch referees let things slide for a half and then hand out cards like they’re candy for the second half.

It’s been exasperating to hear the coaches reasoning game in and game out sound identical and to not see changes. I have been more thankful for a broken computer than I probably should have been because it meant that I wasn’t going to be banging my head against a wall to come up with the words for yet another defeat.

It has honestly driven me to the point of tears, I have been so frustrated.

And then I took my eight-year-old niece to her first ever soccer game and I got to watch through her eyes instead of analyzing the steps and the missteps. I went back to the basics to explain that a point in a game wasn’t really a point, but it was called a goal instead. That goalies couldn’t use their hands once they left the big box around the goal, even if they were standing in the half circle at the top.

That no, the Rapids weren’t going to lose their goal because Edgar Castillo got a yellow card. I smiled with great pride when, after Jack Price slid through a guy from behind, my niece turned to me and asked, “Seeka? Is he going to get a yellow card for that?” (Spoiler alert: he did.)

She had fun. She learned the field, learned some lingo, and thankfully didn’t end up with a lesson in what not to yell at soccer games.

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
From the STH Meet the Team Party. The scarf is signed by the whole team. Image: Jess Houwen

The team that showed up Friday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps was a team that showed more promise than I had seen since our first game in the CONCACAF Champions League. It was good to have Johan Blomberg back in the middle and feel the game was moving differently. (Edgar Castillo, Sam Nicholson, and Dillon Serna all were bright spots in that game for me.)

There’s still a good amount of season yet to be played. I haven’t done the math to see whether or not we’re out of playoff contention, but if we are out – I’m still here. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience to turn around a large vessel like Smith, coach Anthony Hudson, and the rest of the coaching staff and front office are trying to do.

As they pointed out in the interviews before the season ticket holders, there is a lot going on behind the season that we don’t see. As frustrated as we, the fan base, are, it’s not hard to see that they’re doubly so, and they are actively working on it.

As we were leaving, my niece slipped her hand into mine and pulled close to me. “Seeka. Maybe I can bring my ball over to your house some time and we can go to the park to kick it around.” And with that, my hope was renewed.

Featured image of my niece from her first game ever: Jess Houwen

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Second time’s the charm for Colorado Rapids

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, April 14: 2-0 Win

For the second time in 2018, the Colorado Rapids faced the reigning MLS champs, Toronto FC, at home. Toronto did not play with their normal starting lineup as Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Sebastian Giovinco were being rested for their first leg in the CONCACAF Champions League final on Tuesday against Chivas.

The first half started off with a bang as Jack Price hit home for the first goal of his MLS career within the first 90 seconds of the game. Kip Colvey passed the ball to the middle and Drew Moor attempted to clear it out of the box. Unfortunately for Moor, his clearance attempt put the ball right on Jack Price’s foot.

After a Toronto throw in, Jordan Hamilton (TOR) saw a chance to tie the game get deflected by the goal post in the sixteenth minute. Coach Anthony Hudson made his first substitution by pulling a poorly performing Kip Colvey and replacing him with an eager to play, Dillon Serna.

The Rapids kept their momentum up during the second half and did not sit back as we have seen them do in past games. After being plagued with injury last season, Shkëlzen Gashi was finally healthy enough to come in during the sixty-eighth minute to replace Jack MacBean.

Minutes after he came in, Toronto gave up a penalty kick when Liam Fraser took down Badji in the box but got more of Badji than the ball. Gashi stepped up for the kick and put it away for the second goal of the game and his first of the 2018 season.

Unsurprisingly, Jack Price picked up his fourth yellow card in five games in the eighty-fifth minute.

In the final minutes of the game, where Colorado has a knack for giving away goals, Tim Howard made an incredible save with his shoulder to maintain the clean sheet. At the final whistle, the Rapids walked away with three points and maintained their undefeated-at-home record for this MLS season.

Now, most of you who follow me on Twitter and read my writing understand that I am neither a Dominique Badji fan nor a Shkëlzen Gashi fan. However, I was thoroughly impressed by how both played on Saturday as they seemed to control the ball better than past games and move it around well. Notably, Gashi used far fewer touches in this game than he did last season. While it was only his first game back, I am hoping that this is an indication of what is to come with him.

It seems that Coach Hudson’s earlier comment about seeing a better team within four or five games has proven itself true. In the interview after the game Saturday, coach Hudson said that “…what we are seeing is a team that is working together,” and that “we’re not a team of individuals and that we have good players that are playing to a certain style and system…[the players] are all stepping up and fulfilling their roles within that system as well.”

The Rapids will face Real Salt Lake on Saturday, April 21 at Rio Tinto Stadium in a game for the Rocky Mountain Cup.

2’ – GOAL: Jack Price (COL) – 1:0 Colorado Rapids

39’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Kip Colvey replaced by Dillon Serna

46’ – SUBSTITUTION: TOR (1/3) – Jason Hernandez replaced by Eriq Zavaleta

57’ – SUBSTITUTION: TOR (2/3) – Ben Spencer replaced by Ashtone Morgan

69’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Jack McBean replaced by Shkëlzen Gashi

75’ – SUBSTITUTION: TOR (3/3) – Drew Moor replaced by Julian Dunn (MLS debut)

78’ – GOAL: Shkëlzen Gashi (COL) – 2:0 Colorado Rapids

79’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Enzo Martinez replaced by Yannick Boli (MLS debut)

83’ – CARD: Dominique Badji (COL) – yellow

86’ – CARD: Jack Price (COL) – yellow

Featured image of Jack Price corner kick courtesy: Jess Houwen

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The Colorado Rapids 2017-8 offseason

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Hello readers. I hope you haven’t missed me too much. It’s been a busy offseason for the Colorado Rapids and I’ve not been able to keep up. (Okay, the first resolution of 2018 is to be better at keeping up with everything during the offseason.)

We’ve kept some players that we should have let go and let go of some that we should have hung on to. Thankfully the new expansion team, Los Angeles FC, overlooked us in the 2018 Expansion Draft. We have a new head coach and a lot of opportunity heading into the 2018 season.

Anyone who knows me (or follows me on Twitter) knows that I am not a fan of Shkëlzen Gashi or Jared Watts. I was definitely not happy to see that these players were put on the Protected List ahead of the 2018 Expansion Draft. Moreso, I was frustrated to see that the people we traded Sam Cronin and Marc Burch for, Mohammad Saied and Joshua Watts, were not protected. (Now, I will say that I do understand that Mo requested to not renew for personal reasons unbeknownst to me.)

To his credit, Gashi does seem to be working especially hard this offseason so maybe my second resolution of 2018 should be to give him half a chance this season. I am thrilled that the likes of Marlon Hairston, Tim Howard, and Stefan Aigner will be returning to the roster for 2018. I am equally excited to see what Johan Blomberg, Kip Colvey, Jack Price, Edgar Castillo, Deklan Wynn, and our new draft picks, Alan Winn and Frantzdy Pierrot, will bring to the field.

We ended 2017 with an interim head coach, Steve Cooke, who has since signed on as head coach and technical director with the Oklahoma City Energy FC and I certainly wish him the best there. With his departure, the Rapids brought in former New Zealand Men’s National team coach, Anthony Hudson, to fill the position.

He has made it clear that he expects to be in the playoffs for the 2018 season, a resolution for the new season that I think we can all agree on. After meeting him at an event introducing Price and Castillo, I am optimistic as to what he has to offer our existing players, to see how he incorporates our incoming players, and to see how he changes our game beyond our formation.

We’ll get an early taste of how these changes will impact the Rapids as we take on Toronto FC in the first leg of our CONCACAF Champions League games this February.

Featured image courtesy: @ColoradoRapids

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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