Saturday, July 5, 2008

August 30th, 1776 - The Battle of New York ends

It took the British 59 days to defeat the defensive forces of New York City. It took the Rapids British contingent 24 minutes to defeat the defensive forces of the New York Red Bulls. Along with the game winning goal the British Rapids tallied two assists in recreating the British dominance over New York in 1776.

The Rapids finally decided to show up in a first half and it paid off with two goals. First Clark found McManus unmarked in the box, then Casey and Cooke combined to find Ballouchy crashing the near post. In between Bouna was called on to make his only significant save of the night on a van den Bergh shot from the top of the box that Coundoul easily corralled.

The team made one change at half, bringing in Cummings for the ineffective (secondary assist aside) Casey. They kept up the attacking pressure and it paid off as Clark created his own chance and put away a Goal of the Week contender and McManus set up Cummings for the final score. In the end the Rapids walked away with only their third 4-goal win in team history, and second one this season.

Keys to the Game review:

  • We have a strong back line, but they haven't play4ed together much. How is their organization and communication?
    Somewhat surprisingly we went to a 3-man back line, but it worked well. The Red Bulls got one shot of any significance all game, and Bouna was up to the challenge. I'd say the communication between Erpen and Pablo improved significantly.
  • First half performance yadda yadda yadda
    Finally! The Rapids decided that the first half was worth playing last night, and they were rewarded for their efforts. Our first multi-goal first half of the season, in fact we scored as many goals in the first half of this game as we have in every other game combined this season.
  • No Gomez means that Clark and Cooke will be responsible for getting the ball into the box, can they improve their service from last week?Well Gomez did play, but Clark and Cooke did step it up as well. Cooke looked much more like the old-Cooke, it must have been rust last week that made him look so bad. Clark really took a step forward this week, making better decisions as to when to cross vs. when to take on players.
  • Will some striker please step up and do something?
    McManus got his 4th goal of the season, as did Cummings, tying them for the team lead. However Tam put his first chance away while Cummings needed 3 good looks at goal to get on the score sheet. I think McManus has claimed one starting position, but the second is still up in the air.
  • Rapids crowd advantage. Let's be honest, usually we don't have a great home field advantage due to the crowd, we get it from the altitude. 4th of July is the one game each year where we can expect a packed house though, and in the past its helped us. Will that continue?
    Well once again the Rapids gave the crowd a good show on the 4th of July. Any coincidence that our best two games this season have been in front of the two sellouts?

Critical Matchup: Casey & McManus vs. RBNY defense - What defense? That was a pretty pitiful performance by the RBNY back line, which allowed every attacking player except Christian Gomez to record a goal or an assist, and McManus, Ballouchy, and Clark got one of each.

Fact of the Match: The Rapids are 11-1-1 on Independence Day, with their only dropped points being to Columbus in 2003 and 2007.

Random Observations:

  • I was stunned when the opening lineup showed 6 attacking players (McManus, Casey, Clark, Cooke, Ballouchy, C.Gomez). I'm not sure when, if ever, the last time a Claijo lineup had that many attacking players in it.

  • Casey got another assist this week, but for the second straight week that was the only bright spot in a run of mediocre play.

  • Cummings had loads of chances, and couldn't finish them. He could have easily had a hat trick but he only netted one. Between the issues of Cummings and Casey, it might be time to give Herculez another chance.

  • Cooke is back!

  • Not sure what inspired Tam McManus' tightrope walking goal celebration, but I'll given him points for uniqueness.

  • While everyone is looking at the attack, understandably so with a 4-0 scoreline, credit should be given to the defense as well. They completely shut down RBNY last night.

  • Standings: Colorado moves up to 5th in the West with the win, and 11th overall. They are only 2 points behind the LA teams on top of the West. They are tied with Chicago for the 5th best offense and tied with Chivas for the 6th best defense.

    Man of the Match: Colin Clark - Close call between him and McManus, but Clark really stood out on a couple of plays, and his goal was pretty good looking.

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