Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rapids Burn Fire For A Point

The Rapids played their worst game in about two months and still got away with a point last night. The game started on a down note as Julian Baudet was injured in a non-contact injury just 2 minutes into the game and replaced by Scott Palguta. There was only one bright note in the first half, Omar Cummings great strike from about 16 yards to give the Rapids a 1-0 lead. It was set up by a series of passes from Ballouchy and Casey. Other than that the Rapids looked awful, and gave up the tying goal within 5 minutes on yet another free kick. A dumb foul by Drew Moor just outside the box gave them an opportunity, and Ballouchy pulled a DeGuzman by jumping out of the wall and giving the ball the hole it needed to beat Pickens on the near post. right before half the constant pressure from the fire paid off again as Pappa was somehow unmarked int he box and took advantage of a rebound to give the Fire a 2-1 halftime lead.

Gary Smith made an adjustment at halftime, inserting Wells Thompson for Ross LaBauex and switching back to more of a 4-4-2. The team played better in this half, and the game turned into a balanced affair between the teams. Around the 70th minute the Fire started pulling back into a shell to preserve their lead and the Rapids were quick to take advantage. Colorado had multiple chances, including a volley from Casey off an Earls cross and another Omar Cummings shot that should have gone in, but managed to find the eighth of an inch of the inside of the far post that would deflect the ball out of the goal. Jamie Smith was inserted late and once again the substitution would pay off. 1 minute into stoppage time Smith cut inside, launched a good cross tot he far post, and Casey got free of his man to head home the tying goal. If Casey had missed, Drew Moor was waiting unmarked to clean up. The Rapids were lucky to get the draw, but sometimes its better to be lucky than good.

My key to the game was midfield control, something the Rapids lacked all game. Marco Pappa had free run of the midfield, and scored a brace. The Rapids really missed Pablo last night.

Other Observations:
  • The second fire goal was the first legit goal the Rapids game up from the run of play this season. The only other one was the goal in San Jose, which after further review was offside.
  • The Rapids are 1 point off the "win at home, draw on the road" maxim going into the break.
  • Back to back games Jamie Smith served up a late-goal scoring cross. Maybe he should be playing more?
  • Ross LaBauex, ouch. He needs more time before starting again.
  • Pablo was really missed last night. There was no stopper in midfield. Neither LaBauex or Larentowictz look ready to step into his shoes.
  • Great goal and assist by Casey, but he also failed to get a number of good feeds on goal.
  • Danny Earls got burned badly last night. He really needs to get his game back.
  • Hopefully the 18 day break will allow Baudet to fully heal. Palguta did a good job coming on unexpectedly, but the defense really needs a leader back there.
Player of the Game: Matt Pickens. He had 2 or 3 huge reaction saves that kept the Rapids close enough to steal a point. Omar Cummings, with a goal and another couple of dangerous shots, was a close second.

1 comment:

NovaGrad70 said...

I disagree - Moor and Palguta run circles around Baudet in the "leadership" category and all he does is piss Pickens off repeatedly during the game. Baudet is a distraction and not half as good as his hype. Moor and Palguta in central defense will take us to the playoffs.