Monday, June 28, 2010

Rapids Shake Off Rust, Find A Point

The Rapids got back into the swing of things in Houston. Much like the U.S. team the Rapids went down early and battled back to get a result. All the players showed rust from their down time and it became a matter of which team could get the gears turning first.

The Rapids started out slowly, and Houston made them pay with a 30-yard bomb off a corner kick from Danny Cruz. Casey made a poor attempt to stop it and Pickens was rooted to his spot. He may have been shielded but I think he could have done better. Right at halftime the Rapids leveled the score. A bad touch by defender Eddie Robinson allowed Ballouchy to steal the ball and run at goal. He dumped it to Casey, who with a nice step-over and some good footwork got Dynamo keeper Pat Onstad to go to ground, giving Casey the opportunity to line up his shot on an open net.

The second half was an end-to-end affair. The Rapids finally broke the deadlock off a Jamie Smith corner. Cummings pressed to get to the ball and forced Palmer to play it off his thigh for an own goal and a 2-1 lead. The Dynamo didn't go away though, almost tying it right back up off another Cruz bomb that deflected off of both posts before spinning back out into the field of play to be cleared Eventually some Keystone Kops defending left Ngwenya open at the penalty spot to put home the tying goal. Both teams had another couple of chances but couldn't find a winner.

My key to the game was which team could turn back on the fastest. Well neither one really did. Lots of sloppy play, especially late, and mistimed passes. Not a surprise coming off a break but something that needs to be fixed quickly.

Other Observations:
  • Our 4+ year record of not winning when giving up the first goal continues, sadly.
  • Jeff Larentowicz has to take most of the blame on the second Dynamo goal. He misplayed the ball starting the break, then got into a shoving match instead of tracking back, and it was the hole he was supposed to fill that Ngwenya found space in.
  • The Rapids had a great shot at their first goal when a simple forward pass would have put Cummings in 1v1 on Onstand. Showing the rust Casey completely overcooked it giving Omar no play.
  • Cummings tired quickly late. In his last few minutes his only plan seemed to be go at goal and fall down when touched, hoping to get a call.
  • I'm a big Colin Clark fan, but I can't blame G.Smith for starting J.Smith. Clark is not back to 100% yet and J.Smith has not gotten an assist in the last 3 games.
  • We need our backline to get healthy. The 4 we have are doing the job but we need the size of Baudet and the option of Kimura.
  • Great to get a point on the road, but it hurts knowing we were close to 3.
Player of the Game: Mehdi Ballouchy. He had the assist on the first goal and was making dangerous runs all night. The 4-5-1 may not be the ideal formation for all of our players, but it seems to be what Ballouchy has been looking for.

No comments: