Thursday, May 5, 2011

Unlikely Goals, Unlikely Win

A very even game turned on some very unusual Rapids goals last night. The first half was almost uneventful, with only one shot on goal combined, but there was one major incident with long-term ramifications for Colorado. Late in the half Cummings was battling with a Dynamo defender to run onto the ball. In the melee Cummings stumbled and rolled his ankle. He was immediately subbed out for Folan and today the Rapids announced that he's got a notable injury to his ankle. He flew back to Colorado while the rest of the team went to Boston for this Saturday's game.

The second half went much like the first until the last 20 minutes. Houston grabbed more and more of the momentum and it finally paid off in the 71st minute when former Rapid Colin Clark made Scott Palguta and Matt Pickens look bad by nutmeging Palguta to beat Pickens to the near post for a 1-0 lead. It was a goal that either one of them should have stopped.

The lead lasted all of 2 minutes before one of the bigger goalkeeping blunders of the year allowed the Rapids to level the score. Jamie Smith played an in-swinging free kick into the box from the left sideline about 40 yards out. For some reason Houston's keeper Tally Hall read it as an out-swinger and took two steps out to make a play on it, at which point he could just flap at it as it went over his head and into the net. 10 minutes later Colorado doubled their weird goal total, as Folan and Amarikwa managed to knock each other off a Wynne throw-in but as Folan went down he toe-poked the ball to the top of the box where an on-rushing Palguta slammed it home for his first professional goal to give the Rapids the lead and eventually the win.

My key to the game was Cummings and his partner being on the same page. His partner was Akpan and generally they weren't. Unfortunately Omar only got 40 minutes to work with Akpan so who knows what might have happened.

Other Observations:
  • Good to see Folan, Wynne, and Amarikwa get some time off the bench coming back from injury.l Hopefully they'll be able to start against the Revs on Saturday.
  • For the second game in a row Akpan looked better than Cummings. It will be a toss up as to who gets the nod with Folan, Akpan or Amarikwa.
  • I'm not so sure the Cummings injury isn't a bit of a blessing in disguise. Omar has not played as well this season as he's capable of and maybe some time off will get him refocused.
  • The Rapids, once again, couldn't figure out the final touches in the attacking third, leading to no real threats on goal other than the goals themselves.
  • Koz is our Energizer bunny, he just never stops.
  • Thompson and Palguta (goal aside) had poor games. Hopefully Wallace or Wynne can start on Saturday. I'm not sure Nyassi or Thompson has looked good in replacing Mullan.
  • Pickens had a poor night. Not only did he commit the cardinal sin of getting beat near post on the goal, but twice he went on a Bouna-style walkabout only to not get the ball. Luckily Marshall covered both times to prevent Houston getting a decent shot off.
  • Huge come from behind road win for the Rapids. Maybe that's what we needed to jump-start our season!
Player of the Game: Jamie Smith. Honestly nobody had an outstanding game, but that was a great goal.

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