Thursday, August 14, 2008

As The Clavijo Turns

This one has a few twists and turns. As mentioned in a post before, the Washington Post's Steven Goff was reporting that sources in the Rapids organization had told him that Clavijo very well could be losing his job. Then in another post he said that Clavijo himself had reported that there was a meeting Tuesday where a vote of confidence was given for him to have the job for the remainder of the season.

Now that post has been updated with comments from an unnamed official. Goff writes

[update] A Rapids official says that, other than their standard Tuesday meeting, there was no separate discussion with Clavijo about his status. "It 100 percent did not happen," he said.
In the meantime, Clavijo has left Uruguay to attend to a family emergency. He does not expect to be back in time for Saturday's game against Kansas City at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. Hopefully things will get better for whomever in Fernando Clavijo's family is experiencing problems. It's never a good time for these things but the timing is extra worse with it coming in the middle of much speculation over his job as head coach of the Colorado Rapids.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Corey Gibbs To Rapids - It's Official

As mentioned previously, the Colorado Rapids were linked with using their allocation pick to take Corey Gibbs. It's now official. A bit more on the deal by Brian Forbes at the Denver Post, too.

Looking Back : Coaching Hotseat

Back before the season began, WV Hooligan put out Fernando Clavijo, Sigi Schmid and Juan Carlos Osario as his top 3 for being in the coaching hot seat in the MLS. Sigi Schmid doesn't appear to be close with the Crew, along with head coaching rookie Dennis Hamlett's Chicago Fire, still in contention with New England for the Supporters Shield.

New York is sitting last in the East with just 22 points from 18 games. Osario's position while not great doesn't seem tenuous, at least not from out here on the edge of the Rockies. But WV Hooligan was right to mention then FC Dallas coach Steve Morrow.

Another guy that could be near the top is Dallas’s Steve Morrow. I don’t think he will be under fire during the season, unless the club just implodes somehow. But watch out later on in the season if Dallas goes into their typical summer collapse. People could get restless about that in the Big D if that happens. And if it does his name could appear on the list.
As we know now, FC Dallas did not wait for summer slump to pull the trigger. He pulled it back in May. FC Dallas's assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi, who had a brief stint in the MLS with Tampa Bay back in 1998 and is an ex-Minnesota Thunder player, was the interim coach until SMU coach Schellas Hyndman was named as the teams head coach.

Will we see any more coaches fired this year? The Rapids have only won once in their last 10 games. And despite all the talk of making Dicks Sporting Goods Park a fortress, the Rapids lead the league with home losses with 4 so far. Could Clavijo be next? Or are the Rapids Front Offices hands tied by KSE and unable to jettison him until his contract is over?

Or will Juan Carlos Osario be next? One would think that New York is looking to give him time to build a team. But they're last in the East, 3rd worst in the MLS, and haven't won in their last 5.

UPDATE : I wrote this Monday and scheduled it for Wednesday. But already things are shaking out. The LA Galaxy fired Alexi Lalas and Ruud Gullit.

Now Goff is reporting that some folks in the Rapids camp are saying they may finally pull the trigger on Clavijo. It wouldn't surprise me but only because we're in the 2nd half of the season and Clavijo's contract is up come December. They could easily name Gary Smith as an interim coach for the remainder of the season. No need to spend more money than they already have. And beside, Jeff Plush brought in Gary Smith to be an assistant coach. Why would he do that without consulting Clavijo when they already had an assistant coach at the time, John Murphy (BTW, Murphy has since moved into another position with the team).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rapids Acquire Gibbs

We're still waiting to hear the official word on this one. Soccer By Ives is reporting that LA Galaxy has passed on Corey Gibbs with the Colorado Rapids, next in line on the MLS' allocation list, exercising their pick and taking Gibbs. If one turns out to be true, the question remains if the Rapids will keep Gibbs or turn around and trade him. With one of the worst defenses in the league, the Rapids could use him.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cllint Mathis Update

So what is Clint "Cleatus" Mathis up to these days? He was in and out at Ergotelis with the club avoiding relegation but his short contract not being renewed. Awhile back he popped up with some MLS reserve teams with the most recent of those being for Real Salt Lake in a reserve frinedly against BYU. Then, as reported by Greg Selzter over at Soccer365, he had a trial with Norway's IK Start (Kristiansand).

And now Steven Goff is reporting that Real Salt Lake are interest in signing the 31 year old attacker. But what would they do with Mathis? Javier Morales has been a great find for them.

They have 5 strikers on their roster. Surely one of those would have to go if they're going to push Mathis up top. They do have some wiggle room when it comes to the cap but not for their roster. Then again, Matias Mantilla looks to have left the club. It's not official yet but his leaving would leave a roster spot open. And with Robbie Russell having left Norway to come back to the states, they have veteran cover in the back.

Could Mathis really end up joining Real Salt Lake? And if he does will he be that missing piece that helps the team start to score goals?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rapids Sinking Further

The Colorado Rapids woes continued as they lost Toronto FC at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. Toronto hadn't won a game in 2 months. The Rapids had only won once in their last 10. But Toronto was missing players (Amando Guevara, Laurent Robert, Marco Velez, Carmelo Lobo) forcing them to start some reserves. Plus they were going to be on the road playing in the afternoon heat at elevation.

Toronto clearly came out looking to do little other than prevent the Rapids from scoring. Rohan Ricketts was slid into the middle of the park with revent arrival Chad Barrett roaming alone up top. Despite this Toronto was the first to get on the scoreboard with Chad Barrett scoring right before half-time with a perfectly taken free kick (see video below).

The game went downhill after that. The Rapids did have good chances in the first half and the second half. Overall though it wasn't a good showing by the team. Terry Cooke looked uninterested. Clark on the left wasn't much better. Cummings and Casey again squandered their opportunities. Christian had a few long range shots but nothing too dangerous.

The most confusing moment of the game came in the 60th minute when Fernando Clavijo chose to sub Christian Gomez in favor of Nick LaBrocca. At that point Gomez was arguably the best offensive spark the Rapids had on the pitch. Given Cooke's lack of performance on the day, he should've been first choice for coming off. But there it was, one of the most skilled players in the league being subbed for a defensive midfielder while the Rapids were down a goal at home.

In the end the Rapids took a whopping 21 shots with 10 of those on frame. Unlike the Columbus game it's hard to argue that Sutton stood on his head to prevent scoring. There was a lack of quality with their choices. This is a team that doesn't move the ball quickly nor take their chances on net soon enough. I don't expect this to change until a new coach is brought in.

I forgot to post awhile back about Bruno Guarda. Guarda decided to ditch SMU and go pro in the MLS. The Colorado Rapids beat the odds and won his rights in the MLS lottery (more on him at College To Pros here and here). Soon after that the Rapids traded him to FC Dallas. The Rapids got 2nd round and 3rd round picks in the 2009 MLS draft along with a partial allocation. A nice piece of business for a player the Rapids didn't need nor had to give anything to get.