Monday, August 31, 2009

Wounded Rapids Short Circut Dynamo

The Rapids bounced back from the Chicago debacle with a strong performance against Houston yesterday. The only downside was the amount of damage done to the team in the process..

The Rapids came out hot and took the game to the Dynamo. While we controlled play we had a hard time turning that into dangerous chances. Things got bad when in the 13th minute Cory Gibbs appeared to pull his groin and ahd to be replaced with Julian Baudet. In the 34th minute Jamie Smith injured himself and was replaced by Mehdi Ballouchy. The Rapids did managed to get two shots on goal in the half, but not much else. That was still more that Houston achieved, they went the half without a shot on goal or a corner kick.

In the second half things were a bit more balanced but Colorado still had the upper hand. 10 minutes in the Rapids had another corner kick (1 of 9 total). Ballouchy dropped a great corner into the box where Baudet beat Kai Kamara and put it past the ageless Pat Onstad for a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately the Rapids dropped back defensively for the next 10 minutes or so and it looked like we might have a repeat of last week's Chicago debacle but the team got their act together and started regaining control. In the 65th minute Mastroeni was lucky to avoid a red card after a collision with Dynamo defender Hainault, instead seeing yellow. In the 73rd minute the Rapids made a 3rd substitution for injury, bringing off a limping Omar Cummings (who was fighting a hip pointer earlier in the week) for Pat Noonan. The game was basically over in the 86th minute when Brad Davis decided to get some revenge for the earlier foul on Hainault by taking out Ballouchy with a combination kick, knee, and elbow that resulted in Ballouchy on the ground and Davis getting a red card.

My key to the game was how well we recovered from last week's meltdown. While our play wasn't outstanding we did come back strong. The team did seem to get too defensive immediately after taking the lead and that could have cost us, so that's something I'd like to see the team avoid in the future.

Other Observations:
  • Pablo will be suspended this week for at least 1 more game (beyond the 1 game he got for yellow card accumulation. I wouldn't be surprised if it was 2 more games. He went head-hunting on Hainault and deliberately put his elbow into his face. No surprise that Davis decided to try to get some vengeance but I expect him to get another game for his foul on Ballouchy as well.
  • Another stupid yellow card by Casey, for kicking the ball away after the whistle. That puts him one card away from his second suspension for yellow card accumulation. Not smart and not helping the team
  • I think Baudet won a starting spot with his play. With Ihemelu being traded today I expect we'll see a back line of Kimura - Baudet - Gibbs(if healthy) - Harvey next week, with Moor and Palguta pushing hard to break into that group
  • In what turned out to be his last game as a Rapid, Ihemelu had a pretty good game
  • I love watching Kimura play. He goes 100% 100% of the time. Maybe he's not technically the best player on the field but you can never doubt his drive and passion
  • If Smith or Gibb's injuries are serious I'm not sure what kind of lineup we'll field next week. Pablo is suspended and Casey will be with the National Team. We could see the likes of Diz and Dalby starting.
  • This win goes a long way in helping our playoff chances. At 33 points with games in hand all we need to do is win our home games and pickup a point or two on the road and we should make the playoffs
Special Note: The halftime ceremony inducting John Spencer into the Gallery of Honor was well done by the Rapids Front Office. A nice career recap on the big screen and it was good to see the former Rapids players back to join Spencer on the field. According to Paul Bravo this is just the first step in trying to tie the team back into its history. As a former Rapids player going back to 1997 he's a good person to lead that push.

Player of the Game: Julian Baudet. 5 weeks removed from compound fractures to both bones in his forearm he comes in off the bench in the 13th minute, helps the defense shut down the best team in the league, and scores the game winning goal. Not bad for only his 3rd appearance with the Rapids. Honorable mention goes to Kosuke Kimura who was all over the place on defense.

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