Monday, July 6, 2009

British-led Rapids Defeated on Independence Day

We should have seen this coming. Sending out a team with a British coach, assistant coach, and starting right winger was just asking for trouble on the 4th of July. Chicago responded in defense of America, and much like Washington and the Continental Army 230+ years ago, they sent the British packing.

For the first half the Rapids looked like 11 individual players, while Chicago looked like a team. After controlling the game for 30 minutes, Chicago made the Rapids pay. With a nice display of one-touch passing that left the Rapids defense completely confused Pappa was left open at the top of the box and put it away. 7 minutes later the Fire struck again as Cory Gibbs inexplicably made a play on a ball that was going safely over the line, resulting in a corner kick where Conde got away from Ihemelu and headed the corner in for a 2 goal lead.

In the second half the Rapids looked like they remembered how to play as a team. Unfortunately with Colin Clark at the Gold Cup the game plan became "Give it to Cookie". Time and time again Terry send crosses in, only to be cleared out by the Fire's central defense. Meanwhile Jordan Harvey was left wide open and ignored on the left. Eventually the team changed things up and Ballouchy floated a cross in that Casey redirected on net. Busch made the save but let the ball dribble free and Peterson raced in to tuck it away. The Rapids kept the pressure up trying to find the tying goal, and Casey was fouled in the box (but made such a meal of it that the ref waived it off as a dive), but they could never convert and Chicago became the first visiting team to win at the Dick this season.

The game was followed by the state's largest unfired fireworks display as an electrical glitch caused the 4th of July show to be called off after only a few fireworks were ignited. The show has been rescheduled for July 25th, anyone with a ticket to the July 4th game can get a free ticket to the RBNY-Rapids game that night followed by the fireworks show.

My key to the game was depth and seeing if somebody would step up to fill in for the missing Clark and Cummings. Nobody did. Cooke tried hard, since the offense kept running through him, and Kimura did a nice job in a free role behind him, but nobody else did.

Other Observations:
  • Hey guys, when everyone is defending Cooke's crosses, stop passing it to him and look for the open guy. Harvey looked like he had a infectious disease he was so unmarked.
  • Kimura did good work in his kind of half-mid/half-defender role. He's becoming a good jack-of-all-trades off the bench.
  • Ballouchy had some good moments, and then checked out of the game at times just being happy to push the ball to Cooke.
  • Another set of brain farts on Chicago's second goal. Hopefully Baudet can settle this group down.
  • I knew Clark had played well, but seeing this team having no other options without him really showed me how important he is.
  • Gibbs' yellow means he's on the bench next week. I'm not that concerned by that.
  • Casey may have picked up a second yellow after the game. If he did it may be the single stupidest thing I've seen a Rapids player do in years.
  • he Dallas game next week is huge. We need 3 points to stop the bleeding.
Player of the Game: Terry Cooke. He did what he's done for the Rapids for 4 years. Its just that nobody else did anything.

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