The Best of Both Worlds - 2014 FBM Beer-view: Colorado Rapids
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
With Major League Soccer and the rest of American soccer kicking off we've curated an impressive list of players, personalities, broadcasters, front office folk, and fans to have them tell us (and you) about their upcoming 2014 season.
And, of course, pair their hopes and dreams for this season with a tasty local brew.
That's not just a preview... it's a "beer-view".
Pablo Mastroeni (finally!) Pablo retired as a player last season at LA Galaxy after a long and illustrious career in MLS including a period in the US National team. The reasons for his last half season in the LA Galaxy reserves were explained when rumors surfaced that he and former coach Oscar Pareja did not really get on. As soon as Oscar departed, Pablo was back almost immediately, first as a 'special assistant', then 'interim head coach for preseason' before the club gave him the main job last weekend. The Rapids say they interviewed multiple candidates for the head coach job, however some cynical fans say all they did was write a contract for Pablo in that time. We suspect the truth is a bit of both.
Is he the right man for the job?
That depends on whether you value experience over loyalty. Pablo has always been seen as a natural leader in the locker room and the man himself has made no secret if his desire to move into coaching after his playing days were over. He is also a club legend & the perfect example of someone who bleeds burgundy through & through. After Oscar left, the club indicated they were looking to appoint a head coach who was likely to stay in the job 10 years which makes Pablo an obvious choice. However the simple fact remains - this is Pablo Mastroeni's first coaching gig.
Player(s) to Watch?
Many Rapids fans will be pinning their hopes on there clubs' first ever designated player, Honduran international Gabby Torres, to lead with the goals this season, able assisted by Deshorn Brown who was one of the standout draft picks of last season. Veteran Vicente Sanchez is able to distribute the ball with pinpoint accuracy and could be instrumental in setting up the Rapids' attacks this year.
At the back we have youngsters Chris Klute & Shane O'neill who are on the fringes of the USMNT camp plus 2nd year goalkeeper Clint Irwin is expected to remain solid between the sticks & continue to be a complete salary cap bargain for his minimal MLS base salary. Lastly, after a protracted transfer process, our Cameroonian teenager Charles Eloundou is ready to go. This kid is really really fast...
Editor's Note: Oh... and they have MLS' reigning Rookie of the Year Dillon Powers.
Predictions for 2014?
All the top sides in the MLS Western Conference appear to have had a relatively stable off season and we think the likes of Portland, Seattle, Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy will be up there again this year. The thing about the Rapids is, despite the improved roster quality, we don't appear to be able to put it together consistently, particularly away from home. I predict we'll grab a play-off spot but have to contest the play-in game again.
If you go by what the fans drink on the supporters terrace at DSG Park then the answer to this is most definitely Strongbow cider! In possibly the smartest business decision ever, the now club sells it by the truckload on gamedays for pretty reasonable prices considering the stadium environment.
However an imported English cider wouldn't really pay homage to Colorado'a rich tradition of craft brewing which gives me literally hundreds of beers to choose from and a very tough decision.
After careful deliberation & also drawing from extensive road tests with our supporters I am going to stick my head out, risk a hundred different opinions and recommend Great Divide Brewing Company's "Colette" as a perfect a compliment to a Rapids game. Colette is a Belgium style ale that is produced just a few blocks down the street from the British Bulldog in Denver.
Formally only available during the summer months put now produced all year round, it is intended to be refreshing as well as have a distinct fruity taste making it perfect for those hot & sunny gamedays we are lucky to have in Colorado. It is not too heavy in the stomach which makes it perfect to consume just before jumping around in the supporters sections at the game. It also also as an ABV of 7.3% which you the added option of having a few extra, should the team play so badly that you wish to forget about it afterwards!
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