Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ladies And Gentlemen, Sanna Nyassi!

Apparently Sanna Nyassi saw an opportunity with Casey's injury to claim a starting spot and he took full advantage. He was a couple of inches short of a first-half hat-trick, but got his hat-trick and staked the Rapids to a 4-0 lead right after half. After that it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.

Nyassi got the game started with a bang, as he played a 1-2 with Cummings at the top of the box and slammed it home for a 1-0 lead after just 77 seconds. NY would quickly try to level the score, with Dane Richards getting a good look but putting it over the bar and Henry getting a cross right in front of the box that Pickens parried away (And Thompson almost put back in for an own goal!). Int he 26th minute Nyassi closed on an open ball 35 yards out and fired one in, just to hit the inside of the post and bounce out. Thompson was there to clean up the rebound (possibly with a hand ball), and double the lead. 4 minutes later Nyassi took a pass from Cummings, split 4 different Red Bull defenders, and made it 3 goals in the opening 30 minutes for the Rapids.

Things quieted down after that with both teams getting some possession in and the Rapids coming up with a couple of good chances but not converting. After the break it was more of the same with Cummings and Nyassi making the NY defense work. In the 61st minute Nyassi again took a pass from Omar, put it past the NY defense, and ran past everyone to beat the keeper to it, sliding it inside the near post for his hat-trick and a 4-0 lead. Thierry Henry is too good a player to keep out of a play completely and he followed up a shot unmarked and beat Pickens from the top of the area to get one back, but despite a couple of close chances that's all NY could get. Colorado ceded possession but not goals for the last quarter of the game and took their 4-1 win.

My key to the game was how well Cummings pairs with whomever started in Casey's place. Omar got 3 assists on 3 goals by his strike partner, so I think they partnered fine. ;)

Stats Of The Game:
  • Cummings 3 assists tied the team record for assists in a game
  • Nyassi's 3 goals and 1 assist was the best single-game offensive output in team history. The only other Rapids to be involved in 4 goals was Henry Zambrano in 2000 at New England. he had 2 goals and 2 assists. 3 goals and 1 assist is more impressive than 2 of each in my opinion.

Other Observations:
  • I blamed a lot of the loss in Seattle on Gary Smith. Everyone was questioning his decision to start Nyassi, at least for the first 76 seconds of the game. Now he looks like a super genius. ;)
  • Wells Thompson, aka Supercuts, was very lucky to be on the field to score his goal. He had an early tackle on Solli that should have been at least a yellow and could have easily been a red.
  • That said, that's two games in a row with a goal, so he's off the bad list for a while.
  • Pablo and Larentowicz didn't allow anything to develop in midfield, they forced all the play to the outside.
  • Kimura and Mullan double-teamed Henry to the point of pretty much making him a non-factor in the game.
  • Kimura in particular obviously didn't care who Henry was, I love seeing that in a defender.
  • Ballouchy getting a yellow for diving was hilarious.
  • Since Nyassi got the start and Folan and Akpan were the subs, I think we can say Amarikwa is the low man on the striker totem pole (which is actually the position of honor, regardless of how the phrase is used).
  • Great job by the fans last night as well!
Player of the Game: Sanna Nyassi. Need I say more?

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