Sunday, September 21, 2008

Upstart Revolution fight English-led Rapids to a draw

Much like the early years of the War for Independence Colorado, led by an Englishman, was held to a draw against the Revolution from New England.

The Revs started out in a 3-5-1-1 or 3-6-1 with every intention of playing for the draw and were largely successful early, breaking up attacks as they came through the crowded midfield. In the 17th minute LaBrocca charged up the field and took a shot from 25 yards that looked like it was going wide before it curved towards the top corner of the next, causing Matt Reis to stretch for the save. 25 minutes later Reis would be unable to get to a Colin Clark header, off a Terry Cooke cross, and the Rapids would take a 1-0 lead to the locker room.

The lead didn't last long though as 5 minutes after the break Mansally leveled the score. The Rapids defense fell asleep for a minute on a free kick and the Revs took full advantage, sending a ball over the top with 3 onrushing attackers. Gibbs scrambled back and got a foot on it but it went right to Mansally who chipped over Burpo. After that New England fell back to preserve the draw. The Rapids controlled the play but only managed one shot on goal in the second half. The game ended on a sour note as Colin Clark was free on the left heading for a 1v1 with Matt Reis when referee Michael Kennedy whistled for full-time, stopping the opportunity seconds before Clark would have shot.

Keys to the Game review:

  • Does Burpo improve on crosses? He came up with some great saves last week, but his decision-making on when to come out is still weak.
    Burpo looked a bit better this week, making some plays on some dangerous crosses. His distribution was off though, and the ball that fell in the box on the goal was the type of ball Bouna would have come out for. Still not a disaster, but not a convincing performance either.
  • Can Cooke get back on the same page as the rest of the team? He did get an assist last week, but other than that he was not in sync.
    He was better, but not great. He was still off on a number of his passes. At the same time he now has assists in back-to-back-to-back games and if he keeps doing that I won't complain (much).
  • Do Cummings and McManus keep Casey off the field? I really think Casey isn't the option for this team.
    Once again we see Casey subbed in for McManus around the 60th minute. Honestly I'm not sure any of our forwards are the right option for this team, but I think McManus is the best of the 3. Cummings regressed last night back to his tendency to take on 3 players at once.
  • Is Gomez still an option if we need him?
    *sigh* No. It appears the Rapids may be done with Gomez. If a game at home that the Rapids are controlling but not winning isn't the situation to use Gomez, I don't know what is.

Critical Matchup: Harvey and Clark vs. Ralston - Ralston was played more centrally than I expected, so Pablo had more of the responsibility to cover him. Ralston was no real threat last night, and you have to say the Rapids won that battle, even if they didn't win the game.

Fact of the Match: This is our best 3 game stretch in over a year. Last time we got at least 7 points in 3 games was 8/16-9/2 of 2007.

Random Observations:

  • Two bad points lost last night. Right now based on year-to-date for the Rapids would make the playoffs by a quarter point. The two points we left on the field at the Dick last night represent the margin of error we had for the last fifth of the season.

  • Needing those two points Smith's move was to bring Ballouchy in instead of Gomez. Really? What exactly are we paying Gomez to do?

  • All that said, if you had told Rapids fans after the FSL game that they would get 7 points in the next 3 games I don't think anyone would complain.

  • I still don't see the LaBrocca love that some fans have. I agree he's been a solid player for us at times, but last night he was in pretty poor form. Lots of passes to nobody and he gave up possession too often. People are calling him the team MVP but I don't even have him in my top 3 (Pablo, Cooke, and either Petke or Gibbs).

  • As one of my fellow Class VIers said last night, Cummings doesn't play off the other forward well, regardless of who it is. I like having his speed and his willingness to pressure in the game, but he's a black hole for the ball. Until we can get a pair of forwards that can play off each other we're going to struggle.

  • That leads to Conor "Feet of Stone" Casey, who does a good job making space but then can't redirect the ball accurately..

  • Kimura was a monster for the second straight game. obviously he didn't like being benched as is taking full advantage of being back in the starting 11.

  • Michael Kennedy had a horrible game in the middle. I'm not saying the officiating cost us the game, but I am saying the officiating sucked. He pulled out 3 yellows, none of which were yellow card fouls, while letting other fouls go uncalled on both sides. He was more interested in jawing with players than he was actually managing the game, letting New England waste time while he was talking to a player, and he and Cooke got into numerous glaring matches in the second half. His decision to blow the final whistle while the Rapids were in the middle of an attack is decision that is very rarely seen at the professional level and the Rapids were justifiably upset about it.

  • Tip of the hat to the Midnight Riders who joined us at the tailgate. Great to have you, and maybe next year we'll have cupcakes! ;)

  • Man of the Match: Pablo Mastroeni - tough choice this week as nobody really stood out to me, but Pablo was on his game and controlling the midfield. Plus in a game where the ref was handing out yellow cards for mysterious reasons he somehow managed not to get one.

    1 comment:

    bwidell said...

    The Revs actually used a 4-5-1/4-4-1-1 last night.