Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The blog's been quiet the last couple of weeks because I'm moving again. No, not out of Colorado, but we bought our first place in Arvada. So don't expect that many posts for the next week or so as we get settled. After that I'll be back with my list for the Expansion draft, a look at the player moves I think we should make in the offseason, and the weekend Roundups.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rapids = Fail!

The Rapids choked away a chance at their best season ever with a 7 game winless streak culminating in the embarrassing 3-0 loss to FaKe SaLt Lake Saturday night. They finish in a tie for the last playoff spot but lose the tibreakers, missing the playoffs for a 3rd straight year. 2 years in a row they've missed the playoffs by a point.

I don't want to talk much about the game, its not worth dwelling on. Instead consider these facts. 8 games ago they were at 33 points with games against Toronto (x2), San Jose (x2), Kansas City, New England, Dallas, and FSL remaining. They won that first game against Toronto to go to 36 points with 7 games left. They then went winless in those 7 games, 5 of them against non-playoff teams and 1 against a team that won a 3-way tiebreaker to make the playoffs. They got a total of 4 points in those 7 games, wile scoring only 3 goals from the run of play, all while behind in losses where the goals didn't even tie the game, and 3 PK's to earn 3 of their 4 draws (the other was a 0-0 draw).

You have to work at it to choke as bad as the Rapids did this year. We'll have plenty to talk about in the next couple of weeks. Expansion Draft, player strategies, etc. but the key is this, this team won't change until somebody at KSE decides that winning is a priority. Until then the best we'll see is barely making or missing the playoffs.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Failure Is Not An Option!

When the schedule came out it was obvious that this was going to be the biggest game of the season regardless of thee standings. There was a pretty good chance that at least one team would be fighting for the playoffs, plus you add in the rivalry and the Rocky Mountain Cup and its was always going to be an important game. With both teams still int he playoff hunt and both needing a win it doesn't get any bigger. The Rapids have everything on the line tomorrow night. With a win they can
  • Clinch a playoff berth for the first time in 3 seasons
  • Clinch the Rocky Mountain Cup for the first time in 3 seasons
  • Clinch an international tournament spot (CCL or Superliga) for the first time since 1998
They can do all three of these with a draw or a 1-goal loss, and everything but the Cup with a 2-goal or more loss, but it requires a lot of help from the games involving Dallas, DC, NE, and Toronto. Best not to leave it up to somebody else and get it done ourselves. For the final regular season game (hopefully not the final game of the year) those supporters that didn't make the trip to Utah will be at the British Bulldog. Kickoff on Fox Soccer Channel is at 7pm MDT.

Official Injury Report:
OUT: MF Colin Clark (L ACL tear); MF Jacob Peterson (R ACL tear); MF Jamie Smith (L knee strain)

Official Discipline Report:

(If either player gets a yellow card they will sit out the first match of 2010, not the first playoff match if we qualify. If anyone gets a red card they will be suspended for the first playoff game or the first game of 2010 if we don't qualify)

FSL only has Espindola and former Rapid Chris Wingert listed as Probable, everyone else is available. The Rapids are in as good of shape as they can hope for given the 3 players they lost to season-ending injuries. My guess at the lineup:

Moor - Palguta - Baudet - Harvey
Kimura - LaBrocca - Ballouchy
Cummings - Casey

At this point its safe to say the 3-5-2 hasn't done the job, so its time to go back to the familiar 4-4-2. The only real question mark is who gets the left mid spot, Noonan or Ballouchy. I gave the nod to Ballouchy on the thinking that if there's any team he's going to stand out against it would be his former side.

Key To Look For:
The whole damn game is a key. If the Rapids can't show up for this one then there was no point in even showing up for the season.

Prediction: 2-1 win, goals by Conor Casey. The Rapids remember what FSL did to them the last two seasons and its finally time to get some payback. Casey will put the team on his back and carry them to the playoffs while also issuing a challenge to Jeff Cunningham that he needs to score in Seattle if he wants the Golden Boot. The Rapids come home with the Rocky Mountain Cup and a playoff spot.

Playoff Scenarios For The Final Weekend

Colorado is in with:
  • a win
  • a draw and only one of DC, FCD, NE, and TFC winning
  • a loss by 1, FCD draws or loses, and 2 of DC, NE, and TFC losing
  • a loss by 2, FCD draws or loses, and DC, NE, and TFC losing

They also get in by finishing top 2 in the following tiebreakers (with the teams from the FCD/DC/NE/TFC group not involved losing)
  • Colorado-DC-FSL
  • Colorado-NE-FSL
  • Colorado-DC-FSL-NE
  • Colorado-Dallas-DC-FSL
  • Colorado-Dallas-DC-FSL-TFC

Or losing to FSL by only 1 goal gets them in through this tiebreaker:
  • Colorado-FSL-TFC

Monday, October 19, 2009

KSE Melts Down In Dallas Heat

I'm going to dispense with my normal game recap. Needless to say that if you've seen our last 4 games you've seen this one, with the exception of Noonan finding a way to get a ball across the line. The Rapids gave up two goals off of two free kicks and never looked like they were in a game where a win would have clinched a playoff spot.

Instead I want to talk about how apparent it was in this game that nobody at KSE really gives a #$#! about this team. The game was scheduled to be televised on Altitude 2. At game time I turned to Altitude 2 only to find the Avalanche game, turning to Altitude 1 I once again find the Altitude game. 10 minutes later, and 3 minutes past kickoff somebody finally wakes up and switches the feed on Altitude 2 from KSE's Avs to KSE's Rapids. I've been informed that this only happened to people watching on Comcast, fans watching on a dish got the whole game, but Comcast is the biggest TV provider in the area, so most Rapids fans were affected. This wasn't the first time the Rapids have pulled this, having similar problems earlier this season. KSE owns the team and the network, but can't be bothered to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Of course once the game was on the fans were treated to the "wonderful" commentary team of Cory Lopez and Marcelo Balboa. Lopez has been doing games off and on for the last two seasons and apparently still hasn't learned enough to be a competent soccer announcer. Apparently he's been focusing on his high-school football instead. I love Balboa and I think he knows what he wants to say, but he seems to have problems getting it out in a way that's helpful to the listener. I think that Lopez's lack of knowledge doesn't give Balboa much to play off of, so he's hurt by that as well. Its painful to listen to these guys and I can't believe this is the best KSE can find.

Of course, their hands are tied when they aren't even allowed to be at the game. KSE's cost-saving measures of having the commentary team in a studio in Denver for away games is killing the broadcast. Even Lopez and Balboa were commenting on their inability to see what was going on or to pull up their own replays. Its very difficult to get anything out of a broadcast where the commentators are guessing as much as you are. Beyond that there were basic mistakes like the on-screen graphic having he wrong day and time for the 'From the Pitch' promo in the first half (fixed int he second half), Balboa not having the up to date info on the playoff standings, and Lopez calling Cunningham Cummings (Here's a hint, one plays for the team that employs you, one plays for the other side).

Needless to say it was very frustrating to watch a professional sports team handled so poorly by its parent company. If it was a one-off I might be able to chalk it up to a bad day, but all of these issues have happened throughout the season. If KSE wants to know why they can't get a better fan base, they do everything they can to drive people away from their broadcasts. Maybe spending some money next season will result in better numbers.

My key to the game was offense. We did get a goal from somewhere other than the spot but we only managed one other shot on target in 90 minutes. That's just not good enough.

Other Observations:
  • I hope the last minute switch of starting Burpo instead of Pickens was due to Pickens picking up a knock because otherwise it was a poor choice
  • Burpo was flat-footed on the first goal and didn't even make a real attempt at it. The second goal was bad luck, having his save deflect back off of Ihemelu
  • Of course his defense in front of him didn't help him much. Gibbs went in very late on the foul that set up the first goal, which Harvey left John unmarked. Moor and Palguta let their guys get inside of them on the second goal
  • Taking Casey out was a good move IMO. Sitting one yellow card from suspension and with the refs giving cards out like it was Christmas a tired Casey (Having played 2 National Team games in the prior week) was more likely to get the card that would suspend him than a goal
  • Casey's lack of scoring means that Cunningham is probably got a 90% chance of winning the Golden Boot. Casey would have to score 2 more goals against FSL than Cunning scores against Seattle
  • Well for the third year in a row it all comes down to the final game against FSL. Win and we're in. Tie and hope 3 of 4 other teams fail to win. Lose by 1 and hope 3 of 4 other teams lose. Lose by 2 or more and hope all 4 other teams lose.
Player of the Game: The fans, for putting up with the crap KSE served up on Saturday, both on and off the field

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rapids Hoping for Ghosts of Playoffs Past in Dallas

In 2002, 2005, and 2006 Colorado traveled to Dallas and knocked them out of the playoffs (In 1997 we knocked Dallas out in Colorado). In 2009 Dallas faces a must win game at home to Colorado to keep their playoff hopes alive, while Colorado has a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a win. While not an actual playoff game, its essentially a do or die game. Hopefully history from prior playoff games in Dallas repeats itself.

Game time tomorrow is at 6:30 MDT. Special note on the broadcast, this game is on Altitude 2, not Altitude. The supporters groups will be gathering at the British Bulldog as usual.

The Rapids are rooting for Toronto, Chicago, and Columbus tomorrow to win and improve their playoff chances.

Official Injury Report:
OUT: MF Colin Clark (L ACL tear); MF Jacob Peterson (R ACL tear); MF Jamie Smith (L knee strain)

Official Discipline Report:
SUSPENDED: Mehdi Ballouchy, Julian Baudet
TWO CAUTIONS FROM SUSPENSION: Omar Cummings, Cory Gibbs, Kosuke Kimura, Scott Palguta

Dallas is missing Anthony Wallace due to injury, otherwise they have a full line-up. The suspensions of Ballouchy and Baudet is going to cause the rapids to do some shuffling in their lineup. Its nice to have Pickens and Gibbs back to fill some holes though. My guess at the lineup:

Moor - Gibbs - Palguta
Pablo - LaBrocca
Kimura - Noonan - Harvey
Cummings - Casey

I think the 3-5-2 is still the bet way to get our top XI available players on the field. Obviously we still have serious deficiencies on offense, but we're out of players. Casey's 180 minutes this week with the National team will probably mean he'll be subbed midway through the second half, but we need to get everything out of him we can until that point.

Key To Look For:
Offense, offense, offense. We haven't scored from anywhere but the spot in 4 games. I realize we're missing all of our wingers, but somebody has to lead this team to the goal otherwise the only soccer we're going to be watching in November is the Denver Dynamite.

Yellow Card Alert: Conor Casey is sitting one game from suspension and is tired. He has to keep his mouth in check and get through this game without getting a card. The last thing we want to do is to go into the last game against FSL needing a result without our top scorer.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Conor Casey. Casey is going to be challenged by going head-to-head against the other competitor for this year's Golden Boot and will respond with a goal. Unfortunately Cunningham is on such a run that the Rapids defense won't be able to keep him off he board and Dallas will also get a goal.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Playoff Scenarios

It's that time of year again, when we run the numbers and figure out what result can clinch us a playoff spot when. The Rapids can clinch as early as this weekend if they win, depending on two other results.

If the Rapids beat Dallas:

FSL must not beat Toronto


New England must not beat Chicago

If the Rapids draw or lose to Dallas they can not clinch this weekend. They can clinch no worse than a tie for the final playoff spot with a draw though, if DC doesn't beat Columbus, Chicago beats New England, and Toronto and FSL draw. In that case, even with a loss the next week against FSL, the worst case scenario is that FSL, New England, and Colorado would tie for the last playoff spot. If Seattle were to lose thee last two games it would be a four-way tie for the last two playoff spots.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekend Roundup 10/3 - 10/11

Colorado Rapids - The Rapids 4 draws in 4 games has put them 5th in the West and 7th overall in MLS. They are officially out of running for the Supporters Shield, but can still finish anywhere from 2nd to 12th. Colorado is tied with Columbus for the second best offense and have the 6th best defense.

Queen of the South - Two weeks ago QoS hosted Morton and apparently decided to take the first 60 minutes of the game off. The visitors were up 2-0 at the half and 3-0 after 60 minutes. Queens stopped the bleeding but wasn't able to do anything themselves until the end of the game. Wilson finally scored in the 86 minute followed by Dean in the 90th minute. Their hole was too big though and they couldn't get the 3rd goal they needed.

On Saturday the Doonhamers took some lessons from their guests the week before as they traveled to Inverness. Queen of the South's Holmes scored inside of the first minute on the road. They gave the goal back after 19 minutes and the rest of the game was a close fought affair. In the 83rd minute Holmes got his second of the game to edge QoS in front, and he completed his hat-trick 7 minutes later. With the 3-1 Queens moved to the top of the First Division at the quarter-mark by 1 point, though there are 4 teams right behind them and 3 of them have a game in hand.

Blackburn Rovers - Two weeks ago the Rovers traveled to London to face the Rapids' partner club Arsenal. Blackburn took the early lead after 4 minutes, only to give it back 13 minutes later. In the 30th minute Rovers once again took the lead at what turned out to be the high point of the match for them. 60 minutes and 5 unanswered goals later they were on the wrong end of a 6-2 loss. Always a tough match, but the team looked particularly bad in the second half. Blackburn are in a 5 way tie for 14th, but have a game in hand over 60% of the league. Their next match is the renewal of the derby with Burnley at home.

CD Tenerife - Last week CDT hosted Deportivo La Coruña at the Estadio Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Blue and White were undefeated at home going into the game, another one I got to watch on! Unfortunately, much like the last game I watched, Tenerife had good control but couldn't convert and Coruña was patient and waited for their chance, which they got right after the break. The 1 goal was enough and for the first time the home fans went home disappointed. The loss dropped them to 15th, just 2 points above the relegation zone.

Kildare County - Two weeks ago County hosted 11th placed Meruve United in possibly their final chance to avoid the relegation playoff. Unfortunately like much of this season they couldn't convert on the opportunity and lost 1-0, all but sealing their fate. The team has 2 draws in 12 games at home. Last week they traveled to Limerick, and like the rest of the season they were better on the road, winning 3-2. County has 13 points in 15 road games, almost playing to the "draw on the road" part of the "win at home, draw on the road" rule of thumb. I have no idea why the team is so bad at home, but maybe the manager should take the team on a bus ride before every home game! The Thoroughbreds are still last, and have to make up 8 points in 4 games. They could "clinch" the relegation playoff with the right (wrong) results this weekend.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Yanks Are Coming!

Conor Casey led the Nats to a 3-2 win in Honduras last night. With the win the U.S. clinches World Cup Qualification and can book trips to South Africa next summer.

After going down 1-0 Casey battled for a Davies header and beat the Honduran keeper to it. off his shoulder the ball looped up and over the onrushing keeper and rolled across the line. 11 minutes later Casey received a pass from Donovan inside the box and beat the keeper to the far post to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead. Those were Casey's first two National Team goals in 15 appearances. 5 minutes later Casey drew a foul just outside the box and Donovan converted the free kick for a 3-1 lead. Honduras would get one back late which led to some nail-biting in the last few minutes but the Americans were victorious. Casey was unanimous MOTM and increased his chances of joining the team in South Africa next year.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Season Ticket Holder Gift Photos

These were taken quickly with my cell phone, but you should get the idea.

Front Cover



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Impressive Season Ticket Holder Gift

When I got home from work tonight I had a package from the Colorado Rapids. Inside was my 2009 season ticket holder's gift, a notebook cover with the Rapids logo on it. included was a note and a insert that explained that the notebook cover was made from the Rapids old banners and billboards as part of their Go Green and Play Clean initiatives. The notebook covers were made by a local company called Ecologic Designs in Boulder as part of their Green Guru Gear line. Along with the old Rapids billboards and banners the company uses recycled #1 plastic from bottles and containers and re-purposed bicycle inner tubes in the making of the notepad cover. The included Rapids notepad was signed, in my case, by defender Rob Valentino but fans have reported other signatures including Facundo Diz and Drew Moor.

I have to say I've very pleased with this gift. It s unique and functional, something that you can't really say about last year's picture frame. Not only that but its environmentally conscious and supports a local business. This was well planned by the Rapids Front Office, kudos to them!

Pictured is the generic notebook cover from the Green Guru line. If I have a chance in the next few days I'll take some pictures of the Rapids-themed one I received and post them.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rapids Drawn, Playoff Chances Quartered

OK, quartered is an overstatement, but we didn't do our chances much good with only 1 point in our final home game. The Rapids once again went down early only to get bailed out by a PK to get a 1-1 draw.

The first half was pretty quiet. The first of two notable events happened very early as Ballouchy was lining up for a free kick. The referee told him to wait for the whistle, set the wall, and put the whistle in his mouth. Ballouchy took the kick and right after the referee blew the whistle. Since Ballouchy went early he killed the play, brought it back for a restart, and carded Ballouchy in the 9th minute! Complete over-reaction to what happened but it was an indicator of what was to come from the referee. The other event was the New England goal. Kimura committed an unnecessary foul out on the wing. The free kick was perfectly floated in and Dube got above Cummings to head it home.

The second half was much more eventful. In the 57th minute Cummings was moving through the box. He felt pressure on his shoulder and collapsed. The referee decided there was enough contact and called the PK. It was a weak call, the only thing is that we couldn't see the right hand of the defender being Cummings so there may have been more of a tug, but I doubt it. Casey converted for his 16th goal of the season. A minute later Baudet got into a pushing match with Dube. As he shoved him away with his arm his hand caught Dube in the face. Dube went down like a ton of bricks and the referee bought it, showing Baudet the straight red. This call was even weaker than the PK call. Oddly enough the Rapids played better after that, controlling the game and generating a couple of good chances including a cannon shot from Cummings off the crossbar. There was no beating Reis though.

My key to the game was Pablo Mastroeni vs. Shalrie Joseph. Joseph did almost nothing in this game, so Pablo, with help from LaBrocca, won that battle. The Revs really didn't have many chances other than the goal. Unfortunately that's the only chance they needed.

Other Observations:
  • The Rapids really need a win in the final two games to make the playoffs. 2 draws might be enough but it would probably require winning a tiebreaker
  • Harvey struggled at left mid this game, probably due to the wider field. I'm not sure the 3-5-2 works on the wide fields we're going to be playing on the rest of the season
  • Not sure who was supposed to be covering Dube on the goal. I find it hard to believe we put Cummings on their only true forward. Moor seemed to be in the middle covering nobody so I'm guessing it was supposed to be him and Cummings (and at the end, Harvey) we're trying to fill in the gap
  • Ballouchy was a waste, I'm not sure how many balls he gave up on
  • Ballouchy's yellow card was a joke though, and it will leave him suspended for he game in Dallas (along with Baudet)
  • 4 games, 4 draws, and our only goals have come from 3 PK's. We need to find our offense quickly
  • Casey's goal ties him with Cunningham for the golden Boot, but Cunningham has one more game to play than Casey
  • Cummings, Gibbs, Kimura, and Palguta are now safe from yellow card suspension for this season
Player of the Game: Pablo Mastroeni. Keeping Joseph that quiet was a job well done, even if Pablo risked a yellow card late in the box. Honorable mention to Baudet who didn't deserve the red card and had a couple of our best shots of the night off of corner kicks.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oct 3rd, 1777 - Americans March To Germantown

On October 3rd 1777 the American revolutionary army under George Washington began its march to Germantown to face the British. On October 3rd 2009 the Revolution under Steve Nicol will march into Commerce City to face the British-led Rapids. The battle of Germantown was a victory for the British, let's hope history repeats itself tomorrow night. Its the final home regular season game for the Rapids and kickoff is at 7pm at the Dick. The supporter's tailgate starts at 5pm.

A special congrats go out to Class VI members Josh and Greta who will be missing this game for a more important event, their wedding. May you have many happy years together.

Official Injury Report:
OUT: MF Colin Clark (L ACL tear); MF Jacob Peterson (R ACL tear); MF Jamie Smith (L knee strain); DOUBTFUL: GK Matt Pickens (R knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Cory Gibbs (R thigh strain)

Official Discipline Report:
ONE CAUTION FROM SUSPENSION: Mehdi Ballouchy, Conor Casey
TWO CAUTIONS FROM SUSPENSION: Omar Cummings, Cory Gibbs, Kosuke Kimura, Scott Palguta

The Revs have 6 players who are questionable or worse on the injury report and Wells Thompson is suspended from a red card he got in their midweek game against Dallas. Both teams are going to be playing patchwork lineups for this one. My guess at our lineup:

Moor - Baudet - Palguta
Pablo - LaBrocca
Kimura - Ballouchy -Harvey
Cummings - Casey

This is the same lineup we used in Kansas City last week. It did well on the defensive end but didn't generate many chances on the offensive end. Still these are our best eleven players on our roster that are healthy and the most logical way to get them on the field.

Key To Look For:
Pablo Mastroeni vs. Shalrie Joseph. Despite what others may say I think these are the best two defensive midfielders in the league. Joseph is also the best healthy forward the Revs have right now, and they'll be looking to him to run the offense. He's reportedly a little banged up and if Pablo can take him out of the game New England will have a hard time doing anything tomorrow night.

Prediction: 1-0 win, goal by Conor Casey. I think the home field advantage is enough of an edge for the Rapids to get a win. It won't be pretty soccer, what with the Rapids midfield injury issues and the Revs playing a second game in 4 days, but 3 points is 3 points.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rapids Salary Info - 2009 - October 1st Update

The MLS Players Union has updated its list of 2009 salaries. Its current as of the roster freeze date on September 15th.
There are 8 Rapids added and 5 removed since the last release on March 15th. We finally get the number for Palguta and Holody, it moves Moor, Noonan, and Valentino from their former teams to Colorado, and it adds the salaries for Baudet, Diz, and Jamie Smith.

Here's the list of the current Colorado salaries. The first number is their base salary, the second number is their guaranteed salary for 2009. For comparison, the 2008 numbers are here.

Ballouchy Mehdi M $100,000.00 $118,000.00
Baudet Julien D $ 156,000.00 $169,750.00
Burpo Preston GK $57,871.99 $57,871.99
Casey Conor F $200,000.00 $200,000.00
Ceus Steward GK $20,100.00 $20,100.00
Clark Colin M $85,000.00 $90,000.00
Cummings Omar F $65,000.00 $73,750.00
Dalby Greg M $34,650.00 $34,650.00
Diz Facundo F $42,000.00 $42,000.00
Gibbs Cory D $110,000.00 $117,142.86
Harden Ty D $34,008.00 $34,008.00
Harvey Jordan D $50,000.00 $51,250.00
Holody Michael D $20,100.00 $20,100.00
Kimura Kosuke D $52,500.00 $52,500.00
LaBrocca Nick M $70,000.00 $72,500.00
Mastroeni Pablo M $255,000.00 $300,500.00
Moor Drew D $132,000.00 $149,188.89
Noonan Pat F $175,008.00 $175,008.00
O'Brien Ciaran M $ 7 0,000.00 $ 103,750.00*
Palguta Scott D $54,999.96 $54,999.96
Peterson Jacob F $100,000.00 $118,750.00
Pickens Matt GK $125,000.00 $127,500.00
Schunk Ross F $34,008.00 $34,008.00
Smith Jamie M $159,600.00 $169,600.00
Valentino Rob D $39,600.00 $57,100.00*

* = Generation Adidas players that do not count against the salary cap, only the roster limit

The Rapids have 25 of 24 roster spots filled because Ceus and O'Brien went on season-long loans to the USL which means they don't count against the roster limit (But Ceus still counts against the salary cap).

At 170K Baudet is getting about what I expected, as are Holody at 20K and Palguta at 55K. There were no surprises with Moor, Noonan, and Valentino as their salaries were included on the original 2009 list with their teams. Jaime Smith's 170K is a big hit on the salary cap for how quickly he got injured, but its hard to fault anyone. You can't really see a blood clot coming. The biggest surprise to me is Diz, who's only making 40K. I realize that the Argentine economy isn't great but I expected it would take more than just over development salary level to get him to leave home and come to MLS.

Conor Casey Called Up For World Cup Qualifiers

Casey was on the 22-man roster announced today for the final two World Cup Qualifiers on 10/10 and 1014. Oct. 10th is our bye week, we don't have a game after Saturday's match until Oct. 17th. Casey will probably travel with the team to Honduras for the match on the 10th and to DC for the final game of the hex on the 14th. The U.S. needs one win to qualify or a draw against Costa Rica in DC.