Monday, May 18, 2009

Rapids Fight Revolution to Draw

The Rapids started hot, again, and gave up the tying goal instead of going for a second, again. The game started well, with Conor Casey putting a looping header into the back of the net off a Jordan Harvey cross in the 3rd minute. As is typical with the Gary Smith-led Rapids, the team could not hold the 1 goal lead for more than 20 minutes. Kimura left his man open to lift a cross into the box, which Ihemelu successfully cleared from Ralston, only to follow through with his second foiit and trip Ralston while Pickens was grabbing the ball to end the Revolution attack. A clear penalty and the ref spotted it, giving Ralston a second chance, this time from the spot, and he made it count.

Unfortunately those were really the only two highlights of this game. The rest of the 90 minutes the Rapids pretty much had control of the game, but couldn't convert the possession into any dangerous chances. The Revs had one good chance at a winner, buck Pickens came all the way across his goal to punch the ball away. The Rapids outshot New England 15-6, 8-2 on target, but other than Casey's header none of the 8 shots were a challenge for the Revs keeper. The only other incident of note was that the Revolution did a good job of getting into Casey's head, leading to Gary Smith pulling him for Jacob Peterson in the 77th minute as Casey was about one foul or outburst away from a second yellow card. The ref did let a number of hard fouls on Casey go, but Conor needs to keep his head better than he did this game.

My key to the game was Mastroeni vs. Joseph. Surprisingly Steve Nicol started Shalrie Joseph as a lone striker up top instead of in the midfield as I expected. Joseph was unsuccessful at that position, never a threat in the game and his absence opened the midfield up for the Rapids. Unfortunately they weren't able to take advantage. Pablo played possibly his best game of the season, which is one of the main reasons the Revs only had 2 shots on goal (and one of those was a PK).

Other Observations:
  • Nice goal by Casey to get back on the board after a couple of games where he'd been shut out. That's his 5th already this year.
  • Ballouchy has some better passes this week, but he also had more head-scratchers. One in particular in the second half where the Rapids stole the ball and started the counter up-field, only for Ballouchy to play it all the way across the field and halfway to Pickens and Harvey had to track back for it.
  • I'm not sure pulling Kimura for Gibbs was the b est move, I think (other than the cross that led to the PK) Kimura was having a decent game.
  • Ihemelu, ugh. On top of the stupid, stupid foul that earned the Revs a PK he just had a bad night. I think Palguta is playing him out of a job.
  • I want to point out Jordan Harvey, not for the assist, but because other than that he didn't do anything notable and that's exactly what you want from a defender. He's been solid all season.
  • Somebody light a fire under Omar Cummings. This is 3-4 weeks now where he's been pretty invisible.
  • LaBrocca isn't cut out to play wide. It was forced on the team due to Cooke's unexpected family issues, but we really need to push Nick back outside.
  • I correctly predicted the 1-1 draw but looking at the game the win was there for the taking. Still after 5 road games the Rapids have 5 points, so I can't complain too much.
  • KSE, please spend the money to send the announcers to the games. Their attempt to call the game from the studio was embarrassing, mainly because they couldn't see the game any better than we could. Oh, and after complaining that John Harkes couldn't pronounce Mastroeni during a National Team game you shouldn't let your own announcers get away with butchering it.
Player of the Game: Colin Clark. Honestly nobody really stood out this game. The team played well enough on the road but they needed somebody to step up and carry the team, and nobody did. Clark was dangerous the whole game though, and with a little more help from the rest of the attacking squad he might have been able to make the difference.

No comments: