Colorado's Anthony Hudson: 'We are fighting down the bottom with a bottom group of players'

In the last four seasons, the Colorado Rapids were last or next to last in the Western Conference three times.

So their 0-7-2 start in 2019 is no big surprise.

"If this was a promotion-and-relegation league," second-year head coach Anthony Hudson said after Saturday's 1-0 loss to Atlanta United, "we'd have been relegated by now."

Saturday's result was frustrating for Hudson because the Rapids had held Atlanta United, the defending MLS champion, off the scoreboard until Julian Gressel's goal in the 74th minute and limited the Five Stripes to three shots on target

“We come to a place where a team full of superstars and big-money players and massive, massive gap in class," he said, "and we’ve set up a different way. I think we’re a little unfortunate not to come away with at least a point in the game. I’ve just said to the players in there that I think they’re incredibly unlucky. I think the effort they put in today was big considering the position we’re in to come here and to really limit them.”

Owner Stan Kroenke purchased the Rapids from AEG in 2003 at the time when MLS, down to 10 teams, had only three owners.  Dick's Sporting Goods Park opened in 2007, and the Rapids won MLS Cup in 2010, but since then they fallen far behind other teams in terms of their spending.

Their only Designated Player is goalkeeper Tim Howard, who will retire at the end of the season. They made four TAM signings in 2018 -- Jack Price, Tommy Smith and Danny Wilson and Yannick Boli -- but their level was not up to the level of TAM signings made by other teams.

"Today was just another example of the real gulf in class," he said. "I think every single game we’re playing against teams and their DPs are making a difference. People think we are on the same level, we’re not."

Hudson said the Rapids are still in the rebuilding -- every starter on Saturday is in his first or second season with the Rapids.

“The only way it’s going to be a quick fix is if you wave a magic wand at it and throw lots of money at it," he said. "Clearly, we’re not doing that. I’ll go back to this: Every single game we go into, whether it’s Nani, whether it’s [Wayne] Rooney, whether it’s [Lucho] Acosta — every single week there are players in this league making a difference and the gap in quality is huge."

The Rapids have started to introduce young academy products, beginning with 17-year-old midfielder Cole Bassett at the end of 2018. Against Atlanta United, the backline included 19-year-old Sam Vines in his third MLS start and 16-year-old Sebastian Anderson in his MLS debut ("he was the least of my worries tonight," said Hudson).

"I think potentially we’re the only team with one DP, who’s in goal, and not two or three up front," Hudson added. "That’s going to take a bit of time to address that situation. We are fighting down the bottom with a bottom group of players and we have to find a way to pick up results whilst also being a team that tries to play a certain way. And we just have to find that balance.”

Photo: Atlanta United.

6 comments about "Colorado's Anthony Hudson: 'We are fighting down the bottom with a bottom group of players'".
  1. frank schoon, April 29, 2019 at 8:38 a.m.

    I think Colorado should drop out of the league and play USL ball. The owner should either sell the team or invest in a few good players. Colorado does nothing or add anything to furthering the growth of the MLS except make fans frustrated by their manner of play.
    To come to Atlanta and give such a performance by parking 2 school buses in front of their own goal for 90min. does not nothing for the league and the fans who pay money to watch a good ,exciting game. Colorado should be fined for this performance.
     If anything they should have to come to play, face the music and lose perhaps by 3,4 or 5 goals. It is not going to matter for at the end of the season  Colorado will end up last regardless of whether you try to play soccer for the crowd to enjoy or play defense ,parking the bus in front of the goal and frustrating the fans, so why not at least allow the fans some enjoyment in watching goals scored. 
    It is laughable that Colorado was dissapointed and felt 'unlucky' by having lost by just a goal for they almost would have walked away with a tie. I think the Colorado organization is clueless and miss seeing the total picture and begin to prioritize where they want to goal with this organization... 

  2. andres felipe quiroga, April 29, 2019 at 1:19 p.m.

    Colorado is the worst mls team by far, they play horrible soccer and the owners don’t invest in the team, they don’t bring good players not even stars like zlatan, vela , Ronney etc. Also their youth club soccer is really bad comprares to the other clubs as well they only care about money and charge a lot!!

    I agree they should play usl, I’ll be so happy when mls have relegation ( but it is just making money and not soccer for the fans and the world) other leagues make more money and still have promotion-relegation 

  3. Richard Broad, April 29, 2019 at 5:03 p.m.

    I have to disagree. It was a while back, but didn't Colorado win the MLS Cup? There are smaller market teams in all our major sports leagues-----Green Bay in the NFL, Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, Minnesota Twins in MLB, Edmonton Oilers in the NHL. All of the above franchises have won championships. They don't dominate like the Patriots, Celtics, Yankees, or Penguins (who aren't in that big a market either) but they COMPETE. If the coach feels this way, he should take his services elsewhere. Building a winning program with limited resources is a challenge, an opportunity to do something special. Relegation is a worthy topic of conversation but until it is implemented, let me have a coach who wants to be there.

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, May 1, 2019 at 11:01 p.m.

    They won in 2010. They only made the playoffs once in the past 5 years. Bad goal differential. When it happens repeatedly, you have to suspect the front office is not committed to delivering a competitive team.

  5. Craig Cummings, April 29, 2019 at 6:28 p.m.

    They should not have limited resources problems.  Mr kroenke is worth 4 Billion and his wife is a Walton, Together worth  well over 8 billion. His main concern is the LA rams and the new stadium he is paying to build. I do not know why he bought the Rapids, he seems to care less about them. Sad for MLS. 

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, May 1, 2019 at 11:03 p.m.

    When management has only one DP and its a keeper, that neatly sums up their objective (not lose too badly).

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