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Western Conference Preview

By Jonathan Szekeres




COMMERCE CITY, CO - OCTOBER 06: Luis Zapata #21 of the Colorado Rapids controls the ball against the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on October 6, 2012 in Commerce City, Colorado
COMMERCE CITY, CO - OCTOBER 06: Luis Zapata #21 of the Colorado Rapids controls the ball against the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on October 6, 2012 in Commerce City, Colorado

2012 Record: 11-19-4 (7th in Western Conference, missed playoffs)

Additions: Atiba Harris (Trade W/ Whitecaps), F Edson Buddle (Trade W/ Galaxy), M Nick Labrocca (Trade W/ Chivas), D Diego Calderon (transfer from LDU Quito)

Losses: M Jeff Larentowicz, F Conor Casey, F Omar Cummings

Overview: A July stumble (0-6-0.. yikes) combined with a slew of injuries saw the Rapids slip to 7th in the Western Conference, missing the play-offs. That disappointment meant out with the old and in with the new for the club, as veterans like Conor Casey and Omar Cummings were given their walking papers. Coach Oscar Pareja wants a possession orientated game plan, something he tried to implement last year as well. He can't be judged too harshly for the poor showing, considering he rarely played with a full, healthy squad. Can the Rapids adjust to their new-ish system and propel themselves back into the post-season? It's not out of the realm of possibility. However, given how many question marks are on this team (defense, defense, and defense), it's not highly probable either. On an unrelated note, it's nice to see veteran Pablo Mastroeni make his way back from a bad concussion. Whether or not he's effective remains to be seen, however. 

Player to Watch: It cost them a first round supplemental draft pick and some coin too, but Edson Buddle has the skills to be a very effective player. However, he had knee surgery last season with the Galaxy, and it looks like he's still battling it heading into the 2013 season opener. It might be unfair to expect so much out of a hobbled player, but the Rapids don't have a slew of options behind him.