In 2015, Real Salt Lake were poor. One team was worse in the West, though: Colorado Rapids.
While Real Salt Lake has been taking a steady, measured approach to adding reinforcements to the team — sometimes to our detriment, what with our not having signed a center back yet — Colorado Rapids have been an exemplar of the opposite approach.
To say they've been acting hasty is a bit of an understatement, because they're apparently signing Tim Howard (yes, that Tim Howard) from Everton.
"Hasty?" you ask. "He's a great goalkeeper."
I might be inclined to agree, but this is 2016 Tim Howard, not 2010. He's been roundly criticized for error-prone performances at Everton, and it does look a bit like his age is catching up with him. Of course, he's 36, and so is Nick Rimando, so it's not like we can have this conversation in a vacuum — but when you're thinking about players to make a multimillion dollar investment in, a 36-year-old goalkeeper shouldn't be the first one that comes to mind.
Yes, Tim Howard is an American legend, and he's had some stellar performances over the years. But he's not that player anymore, is he? At the very least, we don't have real evidence suggesting he's as good as he once was. Of course, if he was as good as he has been, he probably wouldn't be leaving Everton.
Certainly, we're inclined to think the worst of Colorado Rapids. They've been bad over the past few years, but they're making big moves now. During the offseason, they also signed a standout from FC Basel, Shkelzen Gashi, who has been a potent goalscorer in the Swiss League. It's easy for us to continue thinking the worst, but we have to wonder — is that still the case? Gashi may force us to reconsider our opinion; Howard may reaffirm it.
Whatever the case, it looks like the days of a hyper-cheap Colorado Rapids front office might be over. They're spending their own money on players, and one of those moves is a little mouthwatering.
The big issue they have? Pablo Mastroeni is still in place, and he hasn't exactly shown he's capable of building a system that gets the best out of anybody. Burgundy Wave wrote some excellent words on that very thing.
We haven't really answered our question, but it's one we could never really answer in a day. Are Colorado Rapids going to improve? Maybe, but there's a lot that remains to be seen. Are they going to get worse? No, probably not. That would be hard.
But will they continue to make waves? That's the key. They've made some. They may make more. That's all we know so far — so for now, they're just a neighbor throwing a single party.