I’m big on accountability. Here we have two shining examples of brave leadership from struggling teams in MLS.
Pressure is building in Colorado, where a first-year, first-time head coach is watching a season circle the drain. The team just matched a franchise record with its sixth consecutive loss.
Colorado plays attractive soccer, and the passing between the 18s isn’t bad. But the Rapids just aren’t getting it done in front of goal, not at either end. Manager Oscar Pareja (pictured) is taking the blame. What he said following Saturday’s 2-1 loss at home:
“I am the first one to take the full responsibility for the lack of results of the team. The players have given us 100-plus percent. I see the players on the training ground. I see the players in the locker room. I know how they work, how much they work, to get things the right, to turn things around.
“So I don’t want anyone to [blame] them, because the only one responsible is the coach. We have to find a way to get the teams the way they should be, and the way the way that Colorado Rapids fans need it.”
In fact, Pareja went a step further. In the MLSSoccer.com piece, he apologized to Rapids fans.
First of all, I want to extend these words to the Colorado Rapids fans: We’re feeling so bad mostly because the support that the team, the players felt from the fans is incredible.
Despite the moment, despite the bad results, despite of this situation when we run out of answers, Colorado Rapids fans are there pushing, giving us a great example. … We feel it. I want to tell them that we are, I’m going to say, embarrassed. Because they deserve more than this.”
Northwest of there, things keep getting worse for another Western Conference struggler. Portland isn’t just losing; the Timbers couldn’t spell goal if you spotted them the “G” the “O” and “A.”
The Timbers have lost five in a row and haven’t put one past an opposition ‘keeper for 697 minutes, an MLS record.
That kind of scoring vacuum puts defenses and goalkeepers under tremendous pressure. They know they absolutely, positively cannot make a mistake – which is exactly what Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins did in last night’s 1-0 loss to Chivas USA.
It wasn’t the most egregious of errors. And never mind that Kris Boyd went kablooey on two glorious chances in front of goal. Here’s what Perkins had to say (and then watch the goal below):
“It’s my fault. It’s just one of those situations where you see a big gap in front of you and that line just pops up and you just kind of make a quick decision. And unfortunately, it wasn’t the right one. Three inches and I make the play. It’s just one of those things.”