Colorado Rapids Lack Quality Wins Under Anthony Hudson

Anthony Hudson

Editorial (April 8, 2019) – The Colorado Rapids are six games into their 2019 MLS campaign. They have yet to win a game. Since Anthony Hudson was named manager, they have just eight competitive wins in 43 matches. For comparison, the Rapids have seven wins in friendlies (for which scorelines were made public). How many (if any) impressive wins do the Rapids have under Anthony Hudson? And what does that say about the current state of the club? Let’s have a look.

How Many Quality Wins Do Colorado Rapids Have Under Anthony Hudson?

Those eight wins came in the 2018 MLS regular season. The Rapids have no other competitive wins in the last two years, having lost (and been eliminated in) their only Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game and getting a loss and a draw against Toronto FC in the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16.

Here are all the wins Colorado has in the Anthony Hudson Era:

3-0 vs. Philadelphia Union (March 31, 2018)
2-0 vs. Toronto FC (April 14, 2018)
3-2 vs. Minnesota United FC (June 23, 2018)
1-0 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC (July 1, 2018)
2-1 vs. LA Galaxy (August 4, 2018)
2-1 vs. San Jose Earthquakes (August 11, 2018)
2-0 at Minnesota (October 13, 2018)
2-1 vs. FC Dallas (October 28, 2018)

For the sake of completeness, here are all the friendly wins the Rapids have in that time:

9-0 at Sporting Arizona (February 9, 2018)
2-0 at Phoenix Rising FC (February 14, 2018)
2-2 (5-4) vs. Boca Juniors (July 24, 2018)
3-2 vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC (September 1, 2018, Memphis, TN.)

5-0 at Ventura County Fusion (February 9, 2019)
3-0 at Las Vegas Lights FC (February 16, 2019)
3-1 at LA Galaxy (February 23, 2019)

Let’s exclude the friendly wins, because they were friendlies. There wasn’t anything at stake. Let’s look at each of the eight wins from 2018 and see what was impressive and what was expected.

Close home wins against bad/reserve teams:

Put the wins against Toronto, San Jose, and LA in this category. Throw in the first win over Minnesota as well.

After beating the Rapids in CCL, TFC exhausted themselves in that competition. Toronto came to Denver with mostly a reserve/TFC II squad. None of their DPs started. They didn’t even have a full bench. An MLS team should beat a near-USL roster at home. It was a feel-good win, but an expected one at that. The same can be said for the win over the Galaxy. The Galaxy were on a seven game unbeaten streak, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic was suspended for this game due to missing the MLS All Star Game. It also took a 90th minute goal to win it.

The Quakes won the 2018 MLS Wooden Spoon. They lost 12 of 17 road games. Like the game against the Galaxy, it took a stoppage time goal to get the win. And San Jose was down a man after an 88th minute red card. If if it’s that close of a game against a bad team, that win is not convincing.

The home win over the Loons followed a similar script. Minnesota won just one road game all year. Miguel Ibarra was sent off in the 77th minute. It took a goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time from Tommy Smith to make it 3-2.

Squeaky bum time:

The Rapids got a mid-season road win at Vancouver. That was after some precarious travel delays. It did take an own goal though and Colorado was dominated in many facets of the game. The Whitecaps had 71% possession and out-shot the visitors 26-9. It was a very 2016 Keep Fighting result: Gutsy performance and a fortunate result. In that, it was unrepeatable and I was not impressed.

Three wins against decent but struggling teams:

The last three wins fall into this category. As bad as Minnesota was on the road last year, they went 10-6-1 at home. Having lost seven in a row, the Pids went into TFC Bank Stadium and got a 2-0 win. Both goals were impressive. And Smith made Minnesota lose their minds in the end. One could say the Rapids CONCACAFed Minnesota.

I would normally say well done, but the Loons went on to lose their final four games of the year. They got smashed 5-1 the previous game at Philadelphia and crashed out of the playoffs. Good win in a vacuum. When seeing the forest through the trees, only marginally impressive.

The Decision Day win over FC Dallas falls into a similar category. Colorado came back from a goal down to win 2-1. Cole Bassett had a great performance and the Rapids ultimately forced Dallas into a wild card playoff game. They lost that game. But Dallas had already lost the two previous games.

Like the win at Minnesota, Colorado took advantage of a team that ultimately fell into a slump. They didn’t end a winning streak nor did they start a bad run of form. They pilled on.

Lastly, the first win of 2018: A thumping 3-0 victory at home over the Union. Dominique Badji got a hat trick in this game. Philly’s young defenders were still figuring things out and Colorado took advantage. They made a team that ultimately made the playoffs and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final look silly.

Last Word: So what was impressive?

None of these wins were signature wins or season-defining. They didn’t ignite a good run of form. I’ll put the number of quality wins at two: Philadelphia and Dallas.

Both teams inevitably made the playoffs. The Rapids beat them by doing well against areas of strength for the opponent. In the case of the Dallas win, Colorado helped hammer a nail into the coffin that ultimately ended their season.

It does say something that the Rapids have only won eight in 43 under Hudson. Plenty of other bad teams (this year and last) have impressive wins. Houston Dynamo missed the playoffs last year. They got results against three of the four MLS Conference Finals teams. San Jose beat Dallas twice last year.

MLS is chaos. Upsets happen all the time. It’s not unfounded for bad teams to beat trophy contenders. Everyone gets a shocking result in their favor every year. But not the Rapids under Anthony Hudson. Not yet at least. This team’s ceilings appear to be pretty low. Their blips are close wins in favorable conditions.

The Rapids haven’t dominated a good team or beaten a team that was on a roll. They haven’t gone on the road against a playoff team and played them off the field. Almost every other team has in the last two years. At least once. What does that say about the current state of this club? Whatever it says, it’s not good.

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