Monday, March 23, 2009

Goats eat Rapids defense for dinner

The Rapids played well in the first half, poorly in the second half, and ended up coming home with no points from a game they really should have gotten at least a point from.

The team looked like it had learned from Gary Smith in the first half., Aggressive defending, ball control, and pressure on the offensive end. It finally paid off as Snack Thorton spilled a Ihemelu shot and Omar Cummings was there for the rebound. The Rapids kept the pressure up and should have been leading by 2 or 3 at halftime.

The only lowlight from the first half was the officiating. Apparently nobody told Terry Vaughn that the preseason was over and he had to work now. Colin Clark is lucky he still has ankles left after Chivas USA did everything but surgically removing them in the first half and Kosuke Kimura took a hit that could have broken his leg had he been unlucky. No cards were given but the team captains were warned at half than the "next" two footed tackle would be a red card. Of course Vaughn followed up his threat by only showing yellow the rest of the game.

The whistle to start the second half heralded the return of the 2008 Rapids. Scatterbrained defending, kick-and-run attacks, and mental lapses led to Chivas dominating the game. Between the 53rd and 63rd minutes Chivas got 3 shots on gaol, the only shots on goal by either team in the second half, and 2 of them went in. The first was a low shot from outside the box by Nagamura. Neither Ihemelu or Gibbs stepped up to shut him down, and Pickens footwork seemed to fail him allowing the ball to slide inside th post. On the second Kimura made a AYSO mistake of clearing the ball short and to the center of the field where Nagamura was waiting to rifle it home. After that Chivas was content to let the Rapids play long ball while they protected their lead.

I said the Key to the Game was consistency, and our play bore that out. In the first half when we were showing with Smith had (presumably) drilled into the team in the offseason we controlled the game and looked like the better team. In the second half when we reverted to our disorganized play of the last couple of years Chivas was able to take control of the game. This should show the players that Smith is putting them on the right track.

Some other observations-
The Good:
  • Pablo was a rock in midfield like usual. We'll miss him next week when he's on Nats duty.
  • Conor Casey's touch has gotten better. He still had occasional feet of stone, but his first touches as a whole were better.
  • Richardson brought a good deal of energy to the game, but his play time was so small it was hard to see much else.
  • Colin Clark has taken Gary Smith's calls to go at defenders to heart.
The Bad:
  • Colin Clark took Smith's calls to go at defenders too much to heart. There are times to pass instead of trying to beat 3 players.
  • LaBrocca really doesn't bring anything to the offensive side of the ball. He's a solid holding mid, but he doesn't add much to the attack.
  • Peterson ran real fast, but didn't do much else
  • Gibbs and Ihemelu were way too casual in defense
The Ugly:
  • Kimura, really? Clear that ball out or long, not short and right in front of goal!
  • Ballouchy, why are you on the field again? You obviously don't want to play any part of soccer that involves actually contacting any other player.
  • Terry Vaughn's officiating
Man of the Match: Conor Casey. He showed leadership, was aggressive in the attack, and tried to carry the team to victory. A real step up in taking ownership of the team compared to last season.


Bonji said...

Saturday night gives me another reason to question the wisdom of signing Kimura to a long term contract.

Jason Maxwell said...

Yeah, as someone who supported the deal Kimura made it hard to defend it with his play on Saturday.

Rob said...

i know the rapids looked bad, but how about them sounders?

Jason Maxwell said...

Hey you johnny-come-lately, I don't want to hear it! ;)

(For other readers I'm pretty sure the last comment from Rob is my cousin-in-law who has season tickets to the Sounders. And yes Rob, they did look pretty good, or RBNY looked really bad)

Rob said...

yes sir, you got it right. all i have to say is that after 10 years of supporting the metrostars/red bulls it is amazing to support a team that is loved by a city. we'll truly see how good they are when salt lake comes to town this weekend..

Jason Maxwell said...

Oh please do me and all Rapids fans a favor and kick the crap out of FaKe SaLt LaKe.