Monday, July 28, 2008

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight

Or pass straight, or dribble straight, etc. You get the point. Up a man for 50 minutes and not only did the Rapids not score, they gave up a goal while outshooting Columbus 23-5 (7-3 on target) and beating the Crew 17-0 on corner kicks.

The game started well with Casey having 3 great chances in front of net, only to miss with one of them and have Hesmer make the save on the other two. He was hauled down in front of net as well, but there was no call. At one point the Rapids pressured the Crew into an illegal backpass but Cookie decided to try to get cute with the resulting indirect free kick in the box and tried to take it quickly, hopefully deflecting it off the GK and into the goal, but missed the GK and put it right into the goal. This is illegal on an indirect free kick and correctly resulted in a Crew goal kick.

The Rapids backline gave up a goal in the first half, Ugo Ihemelu let Lenhart run free towards the goal, Erpen didn't see him in time to cover, and Miglioranzi slipped the ball in, putting Lenhart 1v1 with Bouna. Bouna hesitated a bit coming out (probably remembering what happened last week) and Lenhart slipped it by him for a 1-0 lead. In the 40th minute Lenhart applied a vicious elbow to Erpen's nose, earning himself an early visit to the showers and giving the Rapids a way back into the game. They wouldn't use it.

The second half was all Rapids. Constant possession in the attacking third, and wasted chance after wasted chance. We took short corners, we played free kicks backwards, and when we did go forward we couldn't put the ball on net. Conor Casey had two chances on frame and Omar had one, but that's it. Meanwhile the Crew had two chances. On the first Hesmer punted the ball down the middle of the field and Evans beat Ihemelu to the header. The ball went to Garey and in a remarkable show of restraint by Pablo he decided not to try to take the ball from Garey from behind, since he had Erpen covering. Bad decision it turned out as Erpen whiffed on the ball giving Bouna approximately half a second to react to the ensuing shot, which he was unable to do. Later in the half the Crew got another 1v1 vs. Bouna but Bouna came up big with the save and then got to the rebound first.

Keys to the Game review:

  • We're starting our longest home stand of the season with 3 home games (4 if you count the Everton game). We need to come into this group of games with the mentality of needing 9 points, no less than 7 as the minimum.
    Well we're looking at 6 points max from this home stand now.
  • Where is Bouna's confidence? He had the type of game in Dallas that can really shake a young keeper. Can he put it behind him and move on?
    Well given his hesitation on the first goal, there's still some work to be done. He was only called on two other teams in the match and came up with the save on the one he should be expected to make.
  • How tired is Pablo after playing 90 minutes in the All-Star Game? Can he put in a full effort for us?
    Full credit to Pablo, he played the full 90 last night, and was the only Rapids player to be called offside!
  • Not focusing so much on our first half performance this week, but we need an early goal. Columbus has only one once in Colorado, and never in the last 8 years. We need to get on top early.
    *sigh* Next!
  • Will they Dynamic Duo of Erpen and Ihemelu cut out the Keystone Kops routine and give us a solid game?
    In a word, no. See my description of the Columbus goals above for more detail.

Critical Matchup: Nick LaBrocca vs. Guillermo Barros Schelotto - GBS was largely a non-factor in this game, so LaBrocca should get a thumbs up for that..

Fact of the Match: This was Columbus' first win in Denver since 1999.

Random Observations:

  • Refs wearing day-glo orange tops really stand out when they screw up. Lots of really questionable calls on both sides.

  • Cooke and Clark had fairly good nights given that nobody scored. That is when the central midfielders remembered they were out there. Clark almost went ballistic in the second half when he was wide open and nobody (mainly Ballouchy) wouldn't give him the ball.

  • Ballouchy, back to the bench. Every shot and almost every pass was off line.

  • Christian Gomez looked better in the All-Star Game than he's looked in the last couple of games combined.

  • I dread to think about what Everton is going to do to this team next week.

  • 2 weeks off before our next league game. Looks like a good time to make a coaching change.

  • Standings: The Rapids are now are 6th in the West, still 3 points out of first. Colorado is 13th overall in the league. They have the 4th best offense and they are tied with Columbus for the 10th best defense.

    Man of the Match: Omar Cummings - He played 90 minutes in Dallas on Saturday night, flew back to Denver, played 20 minutes on Sunday night, and created one of the few quality chances of the second half.

    No comments: