Monday, August 1, 2011

Colorado Gets Very Definition Of Ugly Win

The Rapids used two of the prettiest goals you'll see all season to get an ugly win in Philly. The heat and humidity gave the home team an advantage and they took full advantage, controlling play and out-shooting Colorado.

Despite that, it was the Rapids who went up first, from an unlikely source. A simple tackle played the ball out of bounds where Mullan grabbed it to restart play. After looking for an outlet Pablo made a run towards the box and nobody marked him. Mullan saw the opening and hit him with a perfect throw-in. Mastroeni chested it down, cut inside the Philly defender with his right foot, and curved the ball around Mondragon for a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute. As far as pure skill and ball control, probably the best looking goal of Pablo's career.

Colorado wasn't done yet. In the 45th minute Thompson broke up an attack in the Rapids defensive end. He hit Cummings at midfield and Omar headed towards goal. Near the top of the box the Union defense closed him down but Cummings was able to slip a ball through just as Nyassi broke the offside trap. Sanna hit a first time shot to the far post and Colorado had a 2-0 lead at halftime.

The second half was mainly Colorado trying to absorb the heat and the Philly attack to claim 3 points. Their job got easier in the 64th minute. Thompson slid in on Sheanon Williams and knocked him tot he ground. Williams went down calling for a card, but also embellishing the contact. On replay Thompson probably deserved a yellow for the foul, but the AR waved off the foul call. Williams jumped up and yelled at the AR, and the CR came over to break it up. Williams turned and swore at the CR, drawing a yellow card. In reaction to the card Williams swore at the CR again, generating a red card. Honestly the red card was probably unfair, but given that Sheanon Williams was the same guy who spent the Philly game in Colorado getting booed by the whole stadium, then tweeted the next day we were a bunch of HATERS, I can't feel too bad about it. ;)

Even down a man the Union seemed to be the better team, peppering the Rapids goal and forcing Matt Pickens to come up big on multiple occasions. Finally the Union broke through when Torres beat Drew Moor and Marvell Wynne in the box, leaving him a wide open shot on goal. Pickens couldn't do much and Philly got it to 1 goal in stoppage time. With the final kick of the game a cross found Torres at the 6-yard box, but his header went right at Pickens and he parried it away to preserve the win. Matt collapsed after the final whistle, having been fighting the effect of heat exhaustion since late in the first half.

My key to the game was if Smith would tinker with the lineup or give us the best chance to win. with the exception of Jamie Smith, unavailable due to injury, he put the best eleven out there and we won.

Other Observations:
  • I don't think you can over-emphasize the effect of the heat and humidity on the Rapids. By the last quarter of the game they were playing more slow and sluggish than I think I've ever seen them.
  • Folan came into the game up 2, not up 3 like I said last week. ;) Unfortunately for him he pulled his groin late in the game.
  • Cummings and Nyassi appear to be the new Cummings and Casey. Cummings has 4 assists on 4 Nyassi goals in the last 3 games, and Nyassi set up 2 of the other 4 goals the Rapids have scored with unofficial assists.
  • If Cummings and Casey were C+C Goal Factory, what are Cummings and Nyassi? Suggestions so far are NC-17 or Cyanide (CN is the chemical formula for cyanide).
  • Great game form Pablo yet again. Anyone who says he's past it isn't paying attention.
  • Palguta game in for Marshall, who was obviously gassed and nursing a hurt groin. He gave up a stupid free kick on an intentional handball. That's why he's not starting except in the case of injury.
  • On top of the injuries to Folan and Marshall Pablo also pulled his calf. We could be walking wounded next week.
  • Next week we'll hopefully have Mac Kandji back though, so that's a boost.
Player of the Game: Matt Pickens. 5 saves and everyone of them was a big time save I think. Two huge ones in the last 8 minutes and stoppage time, including the final kick of the game. All this while fighting the effects of the heat.

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