Sunday, April 12, 2009

Call the Cops, Rapids Steal a Point from the Village People!

Much like last week, Conor Casey had the good moment in 90 minutes of bad soccer. this time though the Rapids had a decent excuse for playing poorly, and Casey only had one good moment instead of three.

Columbus out-played Colorado up and down the pitch for the first 45 to 60 minutes of the game. The Rapids were lucky to get any looks at goal, and had 1 shot on goal int eh first half. Meanwhile Columbus was dangerous on numerous occasions and Burpo was saved by the crossbar on one occasion. The defense wasn't helped by Harden picking up a hamstring injury in the 8th minute, necessitating Palguta seeing the first MLS play in his career in coming in to take his place. Eventually the defense broke though, as Ekpo beat Ihemelu and crossed the ball back for an unmarked Schelotto who had an open net and an easy goal. Palguta was in no-man's land on the play instead of marking up GBS.

Columbus would continue to attack the goal in the second half but couldn't convert their chances. Burpo came up big with a couple of saves and kept the game within reach. In the 82nd minute Pablo was able to chip a ball through the Crew defense and Casey ran onto it. He pushed it past a sliding O'Rourke and slotted it past an oncoming Hesmer to level the score. After that Casey was removed in favor of Dalby as Colorado battened down the hatches to try to preserve the point. Columbus wouldn't say die though and they had two great headers in the dying minutes, both of which went just over the crossbar. The Rapids were lucky to escape town with a stolen point, but after the long USOC game in mid-week and the extra travel, nobody is complaining.

My key to the game was Pablo vs. Schelotto and GBS won the battle. He was dangerous on numerous occasions, hitting the crossbar from a free kick and scoring the goal. Pablo wasn't responsible on the goal, but he wasn't his normal dominate self either. That said he did get the assist on the game tying goal, only his second since 2003, so he made up for it. ;)

Other Observations:
  • For the second week in a row the midfield was a black hole. Clark has the excuse of having already played 210 minutes this week, but everyone else just didn't show up. We have two more games before the bye week, and if Ballouchy hasn't improved by then it will be time for a change.
  • I was surprised to see Harden starting on the back line and Ihemelu pushed out to take Kimura's spot. While Kosuke hasn't had a great start to the season I though it was a bit early to make the change. I was even more surprised that when Harden was injured it wasn't Kosuke coming in, instead it was the MLS rookie Palguta.
  • Casey, 4 goals in 2 games and leading the league. Impressive, hopefully he can keep it up.
  • Conor is also second in fouls suffered in the league, but its not stopping him.
  • I'm concerned that a suspension might be forthcoming for Casey. There was an unintentional elbow to the face of a Crew back that wasn't called, but its the type of ply MLS likes to go back and review.
  • Gibbs has picked up 3 yellows in 4 games. You like aggression from your center backs but he might want to ease up a bit.
  • Full credit to Burpo. Its no secret that I'm not a fan but he's gotten the job done this week.
  • It would be nice to get a shutout in a league game eventually...
  • For the first time this season I predicted the result and the score correctly!
Player of the Game: Conor Casey. Nobody had a great game yesterday, and I considered both Burpo and Harvey, but Casey isn't out there to hold possession in the midfield or to shut down the Crew offense. He's out there to score goals and that's what he did.

No comments: