Thursday, April 23, 2015

Didn't We Just Do This?

Pareja two weeks ago

Same bat time (well almost) same bat channel.  Tomorrow night the Rapids and the team-formerly-known-as-the-Burn face off on the second Friday night in two weeks on UniMas.  Colorado scored 4 of their 5 goals this season on that night two weeks ago and hopes to continue to jump start the offense.  Game time is a late start 8pm so the tailgate starts at 5.  UniMas is channel 648 on Comcast's systems here in Denver.

Injury Report:
QUESTIONABLE: D Marc Burch (rib injury); M Sam Cronin (concussion); F Dominique Badji (hamstring injury)

Disciplinary Report:
SUSPENDED: M Marcelo Sarvas (through 4/29, DisCo action)

International Absences:
U.S. U-23: D Shane O'Neill; M Dillon Serna

Well, that's not good.  That's a lot of talent missing from a lineup that can't afford it.  Dallas has 3 players missing but that's it.  My guess at the XI:

Other than LaBrocca for the suspended Sarvas that's the same lineup we saw last week.  Given our options I don't see us doing much different.

Strategic Consideration: Finish.  Creating chances isn't good enough if we can't put the ball in the net.

Prediction: 0-0 draw.  Losing Sarvas and Serna from the attack leaves us with very little to pin our hopes on for scoring.  Our defense is still as strong as it was two weeks ago but I don't see us scoring.  Expect our fourth scoreless game of the season.

Sarvas Out (Temporarily), Solignac In?

As expected the MLS Disciplinary Committee suspended Marcelo Sarvas today for two games for the stomp on Dempsey he committed last week.  Chad Marshall was suspended one game for his tackle on Sanchez.

Those seem reasonable, though i would have gone an extra game each.  Sanchez had a similar foul to Marshall's last season and got 2 games so I would have used that as the standard for Marshall and then given Sarvas a game more because what he did was worse than Marshall.

Where the DisCo completely dropped the ball was on this play.  Ramos will be suspended the standard one game for a red card and no more.  That's unbelievable.  The same league that gave Mullan 10 games lets that go with only 1?  I wish I could say I was surprised but, well, I predicted this 4 years ago.  I stand behind what I said then and this tackle is a good example of it.  Ramos is very lucky no not have seriously injured Francis, but a 1 game suspension for the red card isn't much disincentive not to do it again.  This is how players get hurt from tackles that don't belong in the game.

On to better news.  There's a report out of Argentina that forward Luis Solignac has bought himself out of his contract with Nueva Chicago to join the Rapids.  I know nothing about Solignac other than what's on his Wikipedia page but we need forward depth and a 24 year old who scored 20 times in 40 games in Finland is nothing to sneeze at.  Yeah, its Finland, but it show he has a nose for goal.  If this report is accurate it appears to be another case of the influence of Claudio Lopez helping the Rapids.

Colorado has one open roster spot and one open international spot once Doyle joins, so we do have room for him.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day Roster Notes

Two roster notes for today.

First, Serna and O'Neill got a callup for tonight's U-23 National Team match against Mexico and both got the start (the game just kicked off).  They will be unavailable for Friday night's game against Dallas.

Secondly, due to injury and missing players the Rapids have recalled Eloundou from Charlotte.  He's already back in Denver and will be available Friday night.  No word on if he'll return to Charlotte once we're back and full strength.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Rapids Continue To Be Gang That Can't Shoot Straight

Saturday provided a sstark contract between a top team in MLS and a team that...isn't.  The main difference was shown in the ability to finish as Seattle had 3 goals in 17 shots, including two goal of the week nominees (and Martins will probably be a goal of the year candidate) while Colorado had 1 goal in 27 shots.  Both teams had the same 9 shots on target and once again the opposition will probably have a save of the week nominee.  In the end though those are all excuses, what matters is wins and we failed to get one again.

General impressions:
  • That first half was as entertaining a half we've seen at the Dick since probably the second half of the Montreal game on May 24th last year.
  • Sadly the second half was back to the play we've seen far too often since that May 24th date.
  • My strategic consideration was to keep the momentum going and not get down if things don't immediately go our way.  We did a good job of that in the first half, but I wonde what would have happened with our momentum if Powers' early shot hadn't hit the post and had been scored instead.  We would have been up 1-0 instead of almost immediately being down 0-1.
  • A disturbing trend in this game is that right after we did something really good (Powers almost goal, Torres goal) we did something bad (both of Neagle's goals).  They say the 5 minutes after a team scores is a critical time for them not to lose their focus.  We losst it on Saturday.
  • The Rapids bench on Saturday: MacMath, Sjoberg, Newnam, Watts, O'Neill, LaBrocca, Serna.  That's a GK, 3 CBs, a general D, a DM, and a attacking winger.  Horrible choices if we were behind, which we were.
  • Despite that Pablo still screwed the Sanchez sub up, putting in LaBrocca and giving us 3 DMs behind two central players and a winger while down a goal.  Not surprisingly our attack immediately disappeared.
  • Sanchez was a dssiapointment in this game.  I'm really starting to think that the team has moved passed the need for him to be on the field all the time.  He tries to do too much and he doesn't seem to be in sync with the rest of the team.  We needed him the last two years when our talent was so low, but with Serna, Powers, Torres, Pittinari, and Ramirez available we've taken care of that.  He needs to transition to being a super sub and let Serna get time as the starter.
  • Of course, when Serna did come in Pablo put him at left back.  Because that's where you want the reigning goal of the week winner.
  • Riley was a disaster this game.  On the first goal Burling is out wide keeping an eye on Neagle just inside midfield.  As Seattle moves the attack into the attacking third Burling starts moving into his central position presumably expecting Riley to move back to his outside back spot.  Instead Riley just stands in space and Burling moves back out to take Neagle.  Burling backs off too far and Neagle hits a great shot to the upper far corner but the whole time Riley does nothing.
  • And that was his better goal.  The second goal was a complete mess.  Neagle runs right by Riley who's looking right at him.  Burling has his back to Neagle while covering Martins but sees the problem and both Riley and Burling run afer Neagle.  Irwin saves Neagle's shot and Burling pulls up but Riley charges straight into Irwin and in the process kicks the saved shot behind Irwin, where Neagle follows up his own shot and taps it in.
  • The third goal was mainly just a jaw-dropping touch from Martins.  Moor is right behind him and Burling is crossing in front of him but Martins one-tocuhes it between them while spinning 360.  After the touch Burling is going the opposite direction fromm the ball and Moor can't ctach up.  Tip of the hat to Oba on that one.
  • On the positive side Torres now has 2 goals and an assist in the last two games.  He did a good job in this one one-timing it through a narrow seam for the goal.
  • At this point the only players I feel confident in in front of goal are Torres and Powers, and that's just not enough for this team.  Ramirez, Sarvas, and Sanchez all had chances and couldn't hit the net.
  • Clint Dempsey needs to STFU.  Agreed he has a right to complain about Sarvas (see below) but his whining started before that even happened and continued until he was subbed out (while reportedly taunting the crowd).  And he played lousy.  Makes it harder to root for him as a Nat when you see a performance like his on Saturday.
  • The MLS Disciplinary Committee is going to have some work to do out of this one.  Chad Marshall's tackle on Sanchez early in the game was a clear red (here's where Dempsey started whining about he gift yellow) and should at least get a game.  Based on Sanchez' suspension on a very similar tackle in last year's 4th of July game it should really be the same two games Sanchez got.
  • Then you have this.  No excuse for Sarvas on this one.  While you could make the case that it wasn't intentional I find that a hard sell.  I expect a multi-game suspension.  And Dempsey has every right to complain about the bad call on that (Dempsey was called for the foul).
  • Interesting note, Torres' goal was the first time all season the home team scored in a Rapids match.
Man of the Match: Clint Irwin.  Odd to see the GK get it when he let in 3 but he couldn't do anything on Neagle's first andhe saved Neagle's second only for his defense to fail him.  He might have been able to do more on Martins shot but he saved so many others I'm not going to ding him for that, especially since we lost by more than a goal.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Current Town Versus Home Town

Can we do this again?

Tomorrow night we're back home for our first "regular" 7pm Saturday game.  The Sounders are in town for the annual (almost) 4/20 game.  The means fish tacos at the tailgate!  With kickoff at 7 the tailgate starts at 4.  Bundle up as we're going to have temps possibly in the 30s.  Those  of you that can't make it can watch Fleming and 'Celo on Altitude.

Injury Report:
OUT: M Carlos Alvarez (ankle); M Sam Cronin (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: D Marc Burch (rib injury); D Axel Sjoberg (foot)

Seattle has two players questionable, including Dempsey.  That's a huge question mark going into the game.  The Rapids have the same missing players as last week, though Drew was doubtful last week and played so maybe Burch or Sjoberg are available?  My guess at the XI:

If it ain't broke....  I expect Pablo to go with the same starting group as last week since it worked so well.  But this is Pablo so who knows.

Strategic Consideration: Keep the momentum going.  We need to build on last week's success and not get our heads down is things don't happen right away.

Prediction: 1-0 win.  Goal by Torres.  This assumes Dempsey doesn't play as I think our defense is good enough to stop one of Martins and Dempsey.  Meanwhile Seattle's defense is soft and I think we can find a goal.  If Dempsey plays 1-1 is more likely.