Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rapids Burp(o) up all over the Dick

Image Credit: Mike Murphy, ASN

Yuck. The worst combination of poor Rapids play and poor officiating that I can remember. Just a disaster of a game on all fronts. Instead of a blow-by-blow review of that junk, I'll just hit the highlights.

Houston Goal #1: Journeyman keeper Preston Burpo apparently thought he was playing for yet another MLS team and played a perfect pass to Dynamo Brian Ching, who took the assist gladly for a 1-0 lead inside 2 minutes.

Rapids Goal: One significant improvement under Smith has been the Rapids on corner kicks. In this case Cookie's kick bounced around in the box and fell to Casey who finished it for his 4th goal in 2 games.

Houston Goal #2: Gibbs committed a needless foul right outside the box. On the ensuing free kick Brian Ching (Brian Ching!!!) was left unmarked and Burpo came out to get the ball and didn't get there. Ching made an easy goal hard, heading it off the crossbar and the rebound bounced off of him a second time before entering the goal.

Houston Goal #3: A defensive breakdown allowed Brian Ching to play a ball back to Ricard Clark, who fired it low from outside the area and beat Burpo near post.

Casey's yellow cards: The first was legit, the second was weak at best. Both were for going up for headers and leading with the elbows, but on the second Robinson came flying into Casey's elbow on a ball he had no shot of getting. There should have been no call, much less no foul, but since elbows are a focus of the USSF this year everything close is going to go against the elbower.

Penalty Kicks: The Houston one was weak, but a PK. The Dynamo player embellished to get the call but there was contact that affected his ability to get to the ball. Burpo did a great job making the save, about the only solid thing he did all night. The Rapids PK was a clear handball, but I have no idea how Cooke completely missed on it.

Keys to the Game review:

  • Houston likes to play through balls to get Ching back behind the defense. How quick is Burpo in coming off his line to stop those type of opportunities?
    Nope, not really. Of course by the time it became an issue the Rapids were already down 3-1 and Houston had stopped attacking.
  • Maybe its just me, but I'd almost like to see a couple of Pablo, LaBrocca, and Clark pick up a yellow. They're all sitting one yellow from suspension, and out of the 3 games after this one the easiest is probably next week in LA. I'd hate to see them all gone for the Chivas or FSL game.
    What I did not want to see was Casey picking up 2 cards. Now we're looking at an LA game with neither Casey (suspension) or Cummings (Nats) so its probably good the other three didn't get yellows this week.
  • Casey and Cummings teamed up very well last week, the best partnership of the season. Can they continue to feed off of each other?.
    No connection at all. Cummings regressed from his high last week..
  • Can Gibbs bounce back from a poor showing last week?
    Well he didn't make the disastrous backpass he did last week, but he didn't play particularly well either.
  • [benstein]Gomez? Anyone, anyone?[/benstein]
    Nope (More below).

Critical Matchup: Casey and Cummings vs. Houston's d-line
- One pinball style goal and one PK very very late is all the Houston defense really allowed us.

Fact of the Match: The last time the Rapids have given up 7 goals in back-to-back competitive matches was Sept. 18th and 25th, 2004. 6 goals to New England and 1 to Kansas City.

Random Observations:

  • Burpo will start next week because Bouna will be playing for Senegal, but there's no excuse for Bouna not getting the start for the final two games. Burpo is awful.

  • Christian Gomez is done as a Rapid. If this isn't the game to use him is, there is no game to use him in.

  • The officiating was haphazard, at best, all night. A crunching tackle would go uncalled, but the whiff of a touch would draw a whistle. Eddie Robinson was about to get beat by Omar and fell down to play the ball with his arm. Happened right in front of Class VI, no call.

  • Down 3-1 Cooke played the same kind of backpass that Gibbs played last week. Apparently Burpo was expecting it this time and managed to prevent a goal, barely. Then Cooke whiffed on the PK.

  • First sub down 3-1 and a man in the second half is Ihemelu for Petke. Really? That's the best you could do Smith?

  • The team is going to have to figure out what went wrong quickly, because they can't afford any more losses.

  • Man of the Match: Colin Clark - The only player out there not to do something completely stupid at some point.

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