Friday, November 19, 2010

Colorado - Dallas: 2006

Finally we come to our last matchup with Dallas in 2006, also the last time we made the playoffs prior to this year. The Rapids finished 4th in the West, 11 points behind the leading Dallas team and were once again facing them int eh first round. The format was the same as 2005, a two game series with the second leg being at the home of the higher seed.

Dallas came into Invesco Field and did what you would expect a top seeded team to do, controlled the game. They got goals from Carlos Ruiz and Abe Thompson (now playing with Miami FC of D-II) early in each half. The Rapids answered early in the first half with a goal from fan-favorite Terry Cooke (now playing in Azerbaijan) but did not have a second half response. With two minutes remaining the Rapids went down to 10 minutes through a straight red card to Thiago Martins (now playing in Norway) and Dallas was comfortable with their victory.

A week later the teams met again in Dallas with Colorado being forced to go on the attack. This was made easier when Chris Gbandi (also playing in Miami) was red carded in the 29th minute. The game was still scoreless at halftime though Mastroeni had picked up a yellow.

Things got wild in the second half. Carlos Ruiz scored again right after halftime, putting the Rapids down two goals. Colorado turned to Nico Hernandez (now playing in Vietnam) to dig them out of the hole. Nico scored a brace in the 57th and 83rd minute, forcing the game into extra time. 2 minutes in Clarance Goodson (about to move from Norwegian team to Denmark) put Dallas in the lead. The Rapids were at the end of their rope with less than 10 minutes to play when Clint Mathis scored the biggest goal of his Rapids career with 6 minutes to play. The teams were back to settling things with PKs.

Both teams started strong in PK's with the first 3 being made by both sides. Dallas missed their 4th kick and Kyle Beckerman (now with FSL) made his to put the Rapids in the lead. Dallas put the pressure on by making their 5th kick, only for Aitor Karanka (now an assistant coach with Real Madrid) to miss his, forcing sudden death. Dallas keeper Dario Sala took the 6th kick for his side, only to miss it. Team captain Pablo Mastroeni stepped up to end the game and set off a crazy sequence of events.

After Pablo made his PK he immediately approached the Inferno Supporters Group behind the goal to return some of the taunting the Rapids had been taking all game. He was joined by some other players while Rapids keeper Joe Cannon tried to keep things from getting out of hand. Suddenly Dario Sala snapped. He leaped up from the ground and charged at the Rapids team. first he sucker=punched Jovan Kirovski in the back of the head, then laid out Hunter Freeman with a haymaker. Mike Petke came to his teammates defense with a flying kick to Sala's gut before Cannon leaped in to break everything up and settle things down. Sala would eventually be suspended for the first 6 games of the 2007 season for his actions, and Mike Petke was fined.

I bring this up because there was an article today where Sala blames Mastroeni for starting the scuffle and also suggests he's the only player of Argentinean descent who isn't friendly with other Argentinians. This is revisionist history at its best. Mastroeni was absolutely out of line with taunting the Inferno, but it was Sala that started throwing punches. I'm not sure why Sala is giving the Rapids bulletin board material 2 days before MLS Cup, but we'll take it.

The Rapids went on to lose the Western Conference Final in Houston 3-1 and that was the last playoff action we saw before this year.

No comments: