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Three things we learned from Colorado’s 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps

Colorado Rapids midfielder Sam Nicholson (28) heads the ball away from Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Brek Shea (20) in the first half at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In Friday night’s match between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapids, early goals from Cristian Techera and Yordy Reyna propelled the visitors to an early 2-0 lead, but a debut goal from Rapids defender Edgar Castillo cut the deficit to 2-1. Despite second-half chances from the hosts, Vancouver held on to seal the win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

The win marked the first since April for the Whitecaps, while the Rapids continue to sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, now in the midst of a seven-game winless streak.

Here are three things we learned from Colorado’s loss against Vancouver:

2018 Rapids are historically bad

The 2017 season featured the worst start to any regular season in Colorado Rapids history, with just 10 points earned through the first 12 games.

But with a new head coach, new system and new players — and a publicly stated goal of “playoffs or bust” at the beginning of the season — the 2018 Colorado Rapids have somehow managed to be worse, matching a club record seven-game winless streak following Friday’s loss to Vancouver. With just eight points earned through 12 matches, the current team’s start to the regular season is now officially the worst start to a campaign in club history.

Slightly more than third of the way through the season, Colorado is also on pace for just 23 points earned in the campaign. It would be a club record low for points earned in a campaign in the non-shootout era of MLS.

The 2017 Rapids saved themselves from a historically low season points total with a late-season run in which summer acquisition Stefan Aigner was a key contributor, but the German has only seen 11 minutes of action under Hudson. It doesn’t appear that the ongoing situation between Hudson and Aigner will be resolved anytime soon, but perhaps some moves in this summer’s transfer window will be enough to spark the team into avoiding an all-time mark for futility.

Rapids aren’t making the playoffs

While Colorado hasn’t been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the practical reality is that the 2018 Colorado Rapids won’t make it.

As pointed out on Twitter, the Rapids’ magic number for the playoffs is 75, meaning the team will have to gain 75 points through a combination of points gained and points dropped by other clubs in the remaining 22 games of the regular season.

Colorado’s average points per game of 0.67 is less than half the required points per game total of the average Western Conference teams have needed to seal the sixth spot in the West over the past few seasons.

Rapids fans can still technically hold onto hopes for the 2018 postseason, but they should also probably buy a lottery ticket while they’re at it.

Bad results masking decent performances

Anthony Hudson continues to push the narrative that Colorado’s recent results in the win/loss column and the standings have pushed aside what have otherwise been decent performances by his team.

“When you’re on a run like this, it’s almost like I probably sound like a broken record,”Hudson told reporters after Friday’s loss. “I’m sure it’s frustrating to some people and we’re frustrated. We’re disappointed. But at the same time, as disappointed as we are, I feel very calm in knowing that this will turn. We’ve seen enough evidence in these games. But we’re not happy about the situation, of course.”

To an extent, he’s correct. Aside from the 4-0 thrashing by NYCFC, the Rapids have been just a few key plays away from earning points throughout this seven-game skid.

“I don’t know. It’s hard to put your finger on it,” Rapids defender Tommy Smith said of the team’s execution. “That’s the hardest thing in the game to put the ball in the net, but as long as we’re creating the chances, it’s not too disheartening. We would be more worried if we weren’t creating any chances at all.”

Midfielder Johan Blomberg brought a spark to the team upon his return to action on Friday. Similarly, Marlon Hairston and Kortne Ford should do the same once the pair makes their return to game action. Once healthy and executing, it should give Rapids fans some better games.

“We’ve just got to stick together and keep each other’s morale high,” Smith added. “Obviously, it’s tough after losing seven games on the bounce, but we’ve got a few good characters in the group that will hopefully keep everyone in high spirits.”

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