Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rapids Shaken by the Earthquakes

Yeah, the Rapids laid an egg last night, apparently most of the team forgot that the match actually counted for something.

The Rapids started the same 11 for the 4th straight game, a record for the Clavijo-led Rapids. You would think that keeping the same 11 together would lead to the same soccer being played, but the players disproved that theory pretty quickly. From the start the Quakes were the hungrier team, while most of the Rapids looked like they were just going through the motions. Late in the first half I commented "Lets just get to halftime scoreless, and maybe we can fix something in the locker room." That didn't happen as Ronnie O'Brien, possibly their best offensive threat, was left wide open on the left side and followed up a rebound from an impressive Bouna Time! save of his own shot to put San Jose ahead 1-0 right before half, and score the first goal of the season for the Quakes.

The second half started out with some lineup changes, one forced by injury and one forced by the poor play of the first half. DiRaimondo took a nasty twist on his ankle just as the half ended, and Rafel Gomes got his first extended playing time in his place. Koske Kimura had a less than impressive first half (though not nearly as bad as his counterpart on the left side, Burciaga) and was replaced by Herculez Gomez as the team switched from the 4-5-1 to a 3-5-2. Unfortunately this didn't improve things, as the team continued to play lifeless uninspired soccer, with no ability to possess the ball or create dangerous chances. San Jose eventually made them pay as once again the left side was wide open and Kei Kamara was able to slip past Erpen and slot one past an onrushing Bouna. It was all over but the crying at that point. McManus had a couple of good attempts late in the game, but with no result, and the Rapids were left wondering what the h@!! happened.

Let's look back at my Keys to the Game to see how we did:

  • We can't overlook this game. Its easy to think that we should handle an expansion team at home, but its that mentality that leads to the underdog pulling off the upset
    I hate to say I told you so, but. Its obvious that most of the team didn't show up to play. We don't know if it was because they thought it would be a cakewalk or they just didn't care, but the underdog did get the upset.
  • If we play our game and get a lead, it will be a chance for some of the veterans to come in off the bench and make their case for playing time. How do the likes of Herculez, Gomes, and Pablo do?
    We didn't play our game, and we didn't get a lead. Still Gomes and Herculez got some time, and while Gomes looked OK, it was hard to see anyone stand out in that mess of a game. Hard to give Gomez much credit as we ended scoreless, and at least one occasion he and Christian Gomez were having aheated discussion while waiting for a goal kick to be taken.
  • The last Rapids player to score against the Earthquakes was Jean-Phillipe Peguero, who was just signed by the Earthquakes this week. Will he be available to bolster a weak offense?
    Wasn't available, wasn't needed.
  • Small list this week. Really this is a game where if we keep our focus and make our home a fortress we should win. I don't think San Jose can win this game, we can only lose it
    And that's exactly what we did. We came out flat, never developed our game, and gave the game to the Earthquakes. Full credit to them for taking advantage of our lackluster play, but if the team that played against LA or KC (or maybe even New England) showed up, there's no way the Quakes would have gotten the 3 points.

Critical Matchup: Rapids offense vs. San Jose defense - Well all that stuff about our defense holding them so the important thing was our ability to score seemed to be wrong. I guess the critical matchup was their offense vs. our defense. Needless to say, they won the matchup on both sides.

Fact of the Match: The Rapids were shut out for the first time this season.

Random Observations:

  • Only 4 players showed up to play, Bouna Time!, LaBrocca, Cookie, and McManus. Everyone else apparently took the night off.
  • I think the 'Cummings as lone striker' experiment is over. He can't create enough for himself while upfront, and now he's pushing too hard to make something happen. I think McManus should get the start up top against Chicago next week.
  • Burciaga had a horrible game. I would have taken him off at half instead of Kimura but Clavijo probably figured, rightly, that Burciaga's offense would be more helpful than Kimura's.
  • On San Jose's first goal Burciaga screwed up twice. First he was out of position and let O'Brien go unmarked into the box. The he scrambled to get back and lunged to try to stop the shot, completely missing. This left him on the ground and out of the play when Bouna made the stop and gave O'Brien a free run at the rebound, which he put away.
  • On the second goal Erpen got beat like a drum. Kamara went all the way around him and still beat him to the ball, leaving Bouna no chance as he tried to scramble out and cut down the angle.
  • Christian Gomez needs to start earning his status as our unofficial DP player. He looked like Kirovski had put on his jersey last night. He was invisible for most of the night in a match where our midfield needed desperate help linking up with our attacking players.
  • Terry Cooke spent most of the second half alone on the wing, with nobody noticing that he was unmarked. Had we been able to work the ball over to him more we would have had a better chance. Cookie was riding people pretty well in his role as captain.
  • I had the score right, just the wrong team. ;)

    Man of the Match: Bouna, again. He wasn't at fault for either goal, and without a couple of big saves it would have been 4 or 5 to 0. LaBrocca was named MotM at the game, and he played well, but didn't really stand out.

      pele o rei said...

      Kimura and Jose B were horrible. As much as I like Colin Clark he had a bad case of ball watching on the first the goal.

      Allen said...

      I don't see why the 2nd goal was Erpen's fault. Burcigia messed things up. Erpen was just trying to clean up his mess.

      Jason Maxwell said...

      How do you figure Burciaga screwed up? Gomes was riding O'Brien, who got the pass off to Kamara. Kamara went around Erpen and still got to the ball before Erpen did.

      Admittedly Burciaga was out of position and was only jogging back into the play, so there's some blame to be assigned there, but Erpen shouldn't get beaten that badly.