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Smith: No pressure on Rapids to repeat as MLS Cup champs




As the saying goes, if it isn't broken, why fix it?

The words apply to the 2011 Colorado Rapids, the defending MLS Cup champions who will look almost exactly the same on the field as they did on that bitter cold November night in Toronto when they bucked the odds and raised the trophy.

Casey. Cummings. Larentowicz. Kandji. Mastroeni. Wynne. Pickens. All have returned plus what looks to be an upgrade to the roster in new additions Tyrone Marshall, Sanna Nyassi and Joseph Nane.

It appears the Rapids not only kept the heart of the team together, but they added three players who can each bring a different dimension to the lineup and bolster depth for competitions outside of MLS regular season games. That has coach Gary Smith excited about this season.

"Two terrific additions," Smith said of Marshall and Nyassi, both Seattle Sounders the past two seasons. "I think they give us more options. With the added games, it gives us more strength. All in all, there's an added buzz about the group."

Smith was grateful that the club was able to keep so many players from the championship team, and credited vice president of finance Charlie Wright for handling the numbers.

"The more challenging aspect was making sure the contracts that were being renewed and the added stress and strain of the (salary) cap, keeping players under it and the group under it after we've had some success is always a difficulty," Smith said. 

The Rapids had what Smith called a wonderful offseason celebrating the MLS Cup win. But the coach isn't satisfied with just one cup in the trophy case and seeks "regular silverware."

So is there a target on the Rapids' back? Smith sees it another way.

"I think any team that starts the season well, and if we can then I don't think it will matter whether we won the Cup or not," Smith said. "Any team that's out of the blocks quickly that becomes leaders of the pack at any point within the division or leagues is going to be the team to beat. I don't think there's any stress or any undue pressure on this group, in fact I think they've gone the other way. By winning it and by being ultra-competitive all year, there's a lot of confidence in the group."




  1. I want whatever drugs Gary Smith is on, because if he thinks he’s going to win with illustrious TFC cast-offs such as Tyrone Marshall and Josephe Nane, he’s got a hard dose of reality coming for him soon.

  2. You must be joking. Second or third in the west? No way that happens. The west is way too stacked and they’re still behind RSL, LA, Seattle, and Dallas. So fifth, MAYBE fourth…

  3. … because MLS is homogeneous mediocrity
    … because MLS Cup is luck of the draw
    … because there’s no penalty for sucking
    … because no one cares

  4. You can’t take away what they did…They beat FCD, the hottest team in the league. Their disciplined, opportunistic style worked at the right time. Can they keep that style up with a heavier schedule and improved opposition? We shall see…

  5. Rapids got lucky Period!!!!

    RSL got lucky but followed it up with a solid run at the Supporters shield and are still alive run at the CCL.

    Rapids will struggle to get into playoffs again.

  6. I think a sluggish, middling sort of year, with those factors and CCL play added to the mix for them, and just naturally less urgency about the cup after winning and getting that monkey off their backs. I think they make the playoffs and threaten a bit (maybe upset someone early on), but not a great deal.

  7. We are tough to play at home, and we are built to compete against the stacked teams. Conner and Folan would be 2 of the best target men in MLS, and Omar can come out of a deeper position, or from outside, which suits his play making skills better.

    Just remember that we were 2nd in the MLS for goals scored. You might not say our game is pretty, but its obviously productive. (For the record: As a former CDM, i think its a beautiful game.)

    Cant wait for the season to begin. Best of luck to all…. except Salt Lake, of coarse.

  8. Actually, the Rapids were better than RSL when they won, Bob. Doesn’t matter whether you look at RSL’s sub-.500 record or the PK-heavy way they squeaked through to the title.

    But that’s all blasphemy to say around here, so…

  9. I expect a fast start out of the gate, as they’re in much better form than most teams that are trying to integrate key pieces, and we’re not.

    They looked good in the pre-season, too.

    The West is going to be very tough, but the Rapids should be good for the 3rd spot, maybe the 2nd.

  10. Tyrone Marshall was great for the Sounders in year one but for the majority of last year he was atrocious. And not all of it can be put on the fact that he didn’t get regular games. He is very bad with his feet and cannot distribute out of the back other than to boot it long. That may work for Conor Casey, but it didn’t for the Sounders who had no one to collect those passes to nowhere.

    He looks fitter this year than last so hopefully he can regain some of his old form. If not, I don’t know that he will be seen as an “upgrade” for long.

  11. they seem confident that he will be joining the team at least by the summer if not earlier. He could be a perfect addition if Omar has to leave for a month with the Gold Cup.


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