Monday, June 1, 2009

Rapids Take Bite Out of Big Apple

The Rapids apparently learned their lesson. After taking a 1 goal lead early, losing it, and then getting it back they kept pushing and extended the lead to two goals before winning 3-2. The game started with a huge save from Pickens after the central defense fell asleep in the first minute. After that the team took control and had a few chances. The Conor Casey was left unmarked on a Clark cross into the box and took full advantage to give the Rapids a 1 goal lead midway through the half. He nearly scored a carbon copy of the goal 10 minutes later, but put it just over the top of the bar. As we've seen all season though, the Rapids couldn't hold the lead. Right before half Cory Gibbs got too physical in the box and was called for a PK. It may have been a weak call, but Gibbs should know better than to give the referee the opportunity to call a PK by being that physical. Angel converted and the teams went tot he locker room tied at 1-1.

The Rapids didn't take long to regain the lead after the break. In the 48th minute Omar found Conor unmarked in the box again and Casey headed it home for his second goal. The Rapids kept the pressure up and were rewarded with a PK as Cummings was taken down as he crossed the top corner of the box. Somewhat surprisingly Ballouchy stepped up to the spot and drilled it home for the Rapids first multi-goal lead on the road under Smith. Colorado seemed to have the game in hand at this point, but RBNY wasn't going away quietly. In the 73rd minute Palguta brought down Kanji outside the box. Angel lined up the free kick but sent it wide. Unfortunately the referee wasn't happy about how the free kick was taken and ordered a re-kick. This time Angel put it right on goal. Pickens made the same, but instead of punching it clear he tried to catch it and fumbled it out in front of him. Borman pounced on the rebound to get the Bulls within 1. This led to a tense final 17 minutes but the Rapids defense held firm and Colorado picked up a big win on the road.

My key to the game was the Giants stadium turf. There were numerous "turf bounces" that played havoc with the game. In one case Clark received the ball behind the NY defense inside the box, but the bounce took so long to land that the defense was able to recover and deny him the 1v1 with the keeper. None of the 5 goals were affected by the turf though.

Other Observations:
  • Great job by the team to continue to push the game after getting up a goal both times. The PK was unlucky, RBNY had no other way back into the game in the first half.
  • Casey's 7th and 8th goals of the year puts him in the league lead.
  • Ballouchy improved again this week. Since he was benched a couple of weeks ago he's really elevated his play.
  • I think it might be time for Gibbs to head to the bench. He seems to have lost his ability to focus for 90 minutes.
  • Colin Clark, Gold Cup? Maybe not quite yet, but if he keeps playing like this for the next month Bradley will have to think about it.
  • We'll realize how well Pablo has been playing by how much we'll miss him next week.
  • Omar Cummings with two more goal setups if you count drawing the PK. He may not be putting them in himself, but he's getting the job done.
  • I'd still like to see Cookie and Koz get more playing time..
  • With a win next week against a weakened FSL team we'll be back on a "win at home, draw on the road" pace that leads to 60 points.
Player of the Game: Conor Casey. He got the Player of the Week award from MLS, I could hardly pick anyone else.

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