EDITORIAL – Next week, the Colorado Rapids 2020 season will kick off at D.C. United. Robin Fraser is coming into the first full season as manager. The club has added key players up front and at the back. Is this the year the Rapids finally get back to the playoffs? And if so, what will be the key factors? Let’s take a look.
Colorado Rapids 2020 Season Preview: Three Questions
Last season was a roller coaster ride for the Burgundy and Blue. A 0-9-2 start the year cost manager Anthony Hudson his job. The club went on an unbeaten run against weak competition under Conor Casey. Lalas Abubakar and Jonathan Lewis ended up being great additions. Robin Fraser took over as permanent head coach towards the end of the season but the club came up short on Decision Day and missed the playoffs.
Will the long awaited attacking additions meet expectations
For years, the Rapids front office made clear that as soon as the existing Designated Players came off the books this year, they would spend money on significant attacking players. Younes Namli and Nicolas Benezet join as a DP and TAM player respectively. Argentine youngster Braian Galván will be coming in the summer as well.
Benezet is an upgrade at winger but is on the older side. Namli is the No. 10 Colorado fans have wanted for a decade. If Namli can produce 10 goals and assist and the other two can be at least slight upgrades on the existing players, the Rapids attack will be in good hands.
How will the summer go?
The Burgundy Boys have a brutal summer schedule. In 10 weeks, they play 13 matches including two midweek games against playoff teams and host a traditional 4th of July match. Eleven of those games are against teams that made the playoffs last year. And there might be some U.S. Open Cup matches in there as well.
Fraser doesn’t need the team in a good playoff seed after these games, they just can’t fall off the map. Draw some tough road games. Get a few wins against playoff teams at home. Hope the Injury Gods favor you. If all of that happens, they will be in a good position to play well in August and September to make the post season.
Will they have a “win now” approach?
Under recent management, the Rapids have constantly (or rather repeatedly) been rebuilding. The team was always a year away from making signings or progress, and two or three years from legitimately competing. Last year and the year before were legitimate years of progress. Will club leadership speak and act in way that indicates that winning on the field matters or is critical? Will that trickle down the players so they know that playoffs and competing is an expectation rather than a lofty goal?
Robin Fraser appears to be committed to this change of approach. The actions from the front office are in line with that. Can it all come together? If so, the Rapids just might return to the postseason this year.
Colorado Rapids 2020 Prediction: The Colorado Rapids will finish seventh in the Western Conference and thus make the playoffs.