Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ding Dong The Witch is Dead

in this case the house that dropped on the Wizards was Conor Casey who broke his 2 game scoreless streak by scoring both goals for the Rapids.

Colorado started the game off with a bang, pushing Kansas City right from the start. The Rapids were the more aggressive team and it paid off with three early chances. Hartman came up big on the first two, but Case was allowed to get free inside the 6-yard box on the third and got to the Cookie cross before anyone else, giving the Rapids a 1-0 lead. Colorado would keep the pressure up for the next 20 minutes, getting another 3 great chances that forced Hartman to make a save, or missed the goal by less than a foot, including a header by Pablo of all people that went just wide.

However the Rapids tendency to relax before halftime came back to bite them again, The Wizards beat the offside trap and the Colorado defense did a good job closing down on the ball, but failed to clear it from the box. The ball pinged around until Victorine got a shot off that Burpo saved, but the rebound fell to Harrington who put it away to tie the score right before half. Its the 8th goal the Rapids have given up int he last 15 minutes of the first half this season (out of 27 total goals given up).

Credit to Colorado though, they didn't allow it to get them down. They came out after halftime and pushed the game again, getting the winning goal after just two minutes. The KC defense had their own mental lapse and were a little too casual with a ball in the box. Casey charged in and won the ball, then got a shot off while being pulled down. Hartman got a hand on it but couldn't push it wide and the Rapids went back up 2-1. After that it was just a matter of holding on and keeping possession, something the team did very well. The Wizards had a couple of chances but couldn't convert, and Colorado got their first win since the 4th of July.

Keys to the Game review:

  • Fernando Clavijo was called away back to his home country of Uruguay on a family medical emergency this week. My best wishes go out to him and his family. He's not expected to be back for the game tomorrow night and Assistant Coach Gary Smith will be leading the team. Will we see any significant difference in play?Well we have to be careful about falling into the post hoc ergo proctor hoc trap, but the team did display an urgency that has been missing for a while. Was it just because they felt like they needed to get a win at home, or did the new voice leading the team have something to do with it?
  • Looks like it will be cool and wet tomorrow, which team adapts better?
    The Rapids handled the conditions much better than the Wizards did. It seemed like the Wizards didn't account for the slick conditions in their play.
  • Other than that, the real key is can the Rapids score? If we outplay the Wizards and come up scoreless again I'm not sure when we'll get our next goal (or win).
    Well we managed to find the back of the net, and find it early. The team seemed to loosen up a bit after the first goal, so maybe it reduced the pressure a bit.

Critical Matchup: Casey & McManus vs. their mental blocks - Well McManus didn't get in until the final minutes, but Casey certainly got through his mental block last night.

Fact of the Match: We still have yet to lose when we score the first goal.

Random Observations:

  • Interesting roster choices for this game. While Clavijo was in Uruguay I'm hearing (secondhand) that he still set the starting line, formation, and tactics. That starting 11 included Bouna being sat down for Burpo and Christian Gomez sitting out in favor of Ballouchy, two moves I don't understand. It worked, but we traded our DP slot and a first round draft pick for the most expensive bench rider in the league? Burpo's a decent keeper, but Bouna's got the skills to be a top MLS keeper if he could get some consistent coaching and direction.

  • Ballouchy is a hole in midfield at this point. Most balls that come to him either get turned over or end up getting played backwards.

  • Nice job by Class VI getting into Claudio Lopez's head. It only took 30 minutes before he was yelling at us.

  • Gibbs and Petke looked good in their first action of the season, and both went 90 minutes without looking gassed at the end. If those two can anchor our back line we're in very good shape.

  • Pushing Erpen out wide really helped his game. I think the fact that he had help inside really let him relax. If he plays he needs to stay outside.

  • Peterson appears to be a lost cause while Clavijo is in charge. At this point he's been so screwed up that he can't get his head on straight.

  • I wasn't fond of the 4-5-2 formation, but it seemed to work. Still I think you need to find a way to get McManus into the starting lineup.

  • Pablo has looked very good the last couple of games. I don't know if its been his move back to d-mid or his decision that he wants to try to go to Europe next season, but he's elevated his play.

  • Man of the Match: Conor Casey - two goals, one unassisted, how could you choose anyone else?

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