Thursday, July 17, 2014

Depleted Rapids Head To Portland

Maybe one of these guys can play?

Missing 4 starters Colorado heads into Providence Park (formerly Jeld-Wen Field) tomorrow night for a tough game against the Timbers.  The Rapids have only ever scored once in Portland, and that goal should have been called offside but it got them their one win in Oregon.  Game time tomorrow night is 9pm MDT and the game is on NBC Sports, which means kickoff is going to be more like 9:20-9:25ish.  NBC Sports is channel 689 on Comcast systems in Denver.

Injury Report:
OUT: MF Jose Mari (sprained ankle)

Disciplinary Report:
SUSPENDED: DF Shane O'Neill; MF Nick LaBrocca; MF Vicente Sanchez

Portland hasn't updated its injury report since June 27th and only then they only had Questionable players so assume they're going to be at full strength.  We, obviously, aren't.  My guess, and that's all it is, at what we see tomorrow night:

With 3 midfielders missing that's the hardest area to figure out.  We've seen Klute on the right at times before and that seems like the safest choice.  Torres showed well last week and I think with our undermanned midfield he might get a chance as a way of holding the ball up top.  The midfield is a toss-up.  We could see Watts benched and Hairston in the back with Eloundou playing for example.

Strategic Consideration: Defense.  Portland has the 4th best offence but the 3rd worst defense.  If we can stay solid in the back we should have opportunities to steal points.

Prediction: 2-1 loss, goal by Brown.  I think the missing talent is too much to overcome for the Rapids tomorrow.  Because of the weak defense the Rapids will get a goal but our inability to maintain possession in midfield will wear us down and Portland will get a winner late.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Loans, Suspensions, and Bobbleheads!

The big news this week is the Rapids announcement that at the next home game on July 25th Pablo Mastroeni will added to the Gallery of Honor alongside Bravo, Balboa, Henderson, and Spencer.  Due to his obvious responsibilities at halftime the ceremony will occur before kickoff at 7:15.  Also the first 2000 fans will get a Pablo Mastroeni bobblehead.

Also in the news this week, GK Joe Nasco will be loaned to Atlanta, is former club for the rest of the season.  A good move by the Rapids to get their 3rd GK some playing time now that Berner has obviously become the #2 of choice.

The final piece of news, not unexpected, is that the Disciplinary Committee has suspended Shane O'Neill for Friday night's game due to his 11th minute tackle on Cruz in Philly last week.  Its a deserved suspension as that was a horrible tackle but it doesn't make our life on Friday night in Portland any easier.

Finally a tip of the hat to MLS marketing for this awesome Ferris Buller parody starring the Fire's Mike Magee.  There's nothing related to the Rapids in it but its worth watching.  I heard that their first idea was Moor & Minda set in Boulder but it didn't test well.  Nanu, nanu!  :D

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rapids Battle Union To Draw

A great deal of fight and a little bit of luck got Colorado a point in Philly on Saturday night.  Coming from 1-0 and 3-1 down to finish at 3-3 says a lot for the fight of this team, but it also says a lot (not much of it good) for the defense.  A rough day for a couple of players (O'Neill, Watts, LaBrocca) was balanced out by a great game from Powers and Brown.  I didn't think we'd get more than a point from this game so we got what I expected.

My strategic consideration was who was going to be our midfield general with Sanchez out.  As expected Powers and Serna split that responsibility and did their jobs well.
  • I hate to start on a down note, but we have to talk about O'Neill.  His tackle on Cruz in the 11th minute should have been a red card and I expect he'll get a suspension from the Disco this week.  Horrible tackle set up by a horrible cross field pass from Moor.
  • Then O'Neill followed that up by being beaten for both of Philly's first two goals.  I'll forgive him somewhat for being beaten by Casey, it was a textbook Conor goal and we saw him work over more experienced defenders on multiple occasions for the goal, but there's no excuse for letting Williams get ballside of him like Casey did.
  • Yes, #Haters Williams scored against us, unfortunately.
  • Dillon Squared combined very nicely for that first goal.  Serna pulled the trigger immediately instead of looking for the perfect shot and it paid off.
  • The offside on what could have been Philly's goal was called correctly I think.  The striker's knee is just barely behind Moor's back foot which would be offside.  One of those plays that so close you have to assume the AR got it right.
  • LaBrocca was apparently looking for a red card on Saturday.  A stupid yellow for dissent wasn't enough as he kept pushing his luck.  Now he'll sit next week on yellow card accumulation.
  • Watts, what are you doing?  He's now given the ball away with no cover for a goal in two straight games.  How soon until Jose Mari gets back?
  • He did somewhat make up for it by sacrificing his head and drawing the PK.
  • And that was a clear PK.  Not sure it was red card worthy but even a yellow would have had Lahoud sent off since he had a yellow in the first half.
  • Despite the grumbling from the Union, Powers PK run up was completely legal.  He never stopped his momentum but even if he had its allowed during the run up (once you reach the ball you can't stop and not kick it, but you can stop during the run).
  • Amazing touch from Brown on the game-tying goal.  Again, he makes the difficult look easy and the easy look difficult.
  • Credit to Torres for the assist on the goal.  Good to see our DP back and if he plays like that we'll be happy to have him.
  • Philly picked up another red card postgame for some foul and abusive language towards the refs.
  • No Sanchez, LaBrocca, or Jose Mari next week in Portland and probably no O'Neill.  Could be dicey.
Man of the Match: Dillon Powers.  A goal and an assist and kept the team pushing forward when we were down and looking for goals.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

World Cup - Complete

Germany: 1 - Argentina: 0 AET
And with that goal Germany are deserved World Cup champions.  Messi had a couple of chances, as did Higuain, but couldn't convert.  In a World Cup that was dominated by the Americas early on, a European team won their first World Cup in the Americas.  This is the fourth World Cup for Germany, but really the first for a united Germany as the first three were won by West Germany.  A 1-0 loss by the U.S. to Germany doesn't look so bad now either.  ;)

Final standings based on round of elimination, then points, then goal differential, then goals scored:
Costa Rica
United States
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Cote D'Ivoire
Korea Republic

Third Place Game - Complete

Netherlands: 3 - Brazil: 0
Not much to say about this one.  Brazil still looked stunned from their game against Germany and the Dutch took advantage.  At least the Dutch figured out how to score from the run of play after two 120 minute scoreless games that went to PKs.  Brazil was outscored 10-1 in their last two games and set all kinds of records they would rather not have.  Shockingly Brazil will have to go into rebuilding mode.