Monday, August 15, 2011

Rapids Get Ref Assist In Win

A wild and crazy game in San Jose saw Colorado return to the Rockies with 3 points. They got some help from the refs and some good play from the midfield but this game could have easily gone the other way.

San Jose had more possession but Colorado had better chances early. Seven minutes in Folan slammed a Mullan cross off the post from his head. A long ball was sent in to Folan right in front of goal, but he was tripped up by a San Jose defender. Then San Jose broke through on a cross that was tipped towards goal. Pickens reacted well and parried it away but it fell to an unmarked Gjertsen on the back post who tapped it in for the lead.

The Rapids kept the pressure up and right before half it paid off. Mastroeni tracked a ball down on the end line and crossed it back towards goal. It went behind defender Sam Cronin, but his trailing arm blocked it out of play. A penalty was called and Folan converted it to level the score. given the play a tie score at halftime was an accurate representation of the game.

The second half started out equal as well. Things changed in the 50th minute as Cronin slid in from behind on Mastroeni and received a straight red card for it. Right after the card it seemed that Colorado was the team playing a man down as San Jose really turned up the pressure. Colorado absorbed it though and turned the play back towards the Earthquakes. In the 71st minute Wells Thompson was pushed from behind right outside the box. Ginger Ninja stepped up and slammed the free kick home to give the Rapids the lead.

After the goal once again San Jose poured it on and it really felt like there was an equalizer coming. Colorado made it through a couple of tricky situations though, including a big save from Pickens to get the three points.

My key to the game was what lineup the Rapids played. Somewhat surprising to me was that we saw 8 of regular starters plus part-time starter Thompson. Only Cyanide didn't start and Cummings got 30 minutes of work in at the end. I'm not sure we get a win if the regular group wasn't starting.

Stat of the Game: The Rapids tied their quickest trip to 40 points in the post-shootout era with this win. They got to 40 points in 26 games in 2002 and 2010 as well.

Other Observations:
  • There have been, not surprisingly, a number of complaints about the officiating. Honestly I think Ward lost the game after the PK. The Rapids benefited from it, but it wasn't pretty.
  • That said, the PK call was a good one based on what MLS has called this year.m Its at least the second time this season I've seen a sliding defender called fora handball on his trailing/support hand. A bit of a grey area in the "unnatural position" part of the handling rule but at least they're consistent.
  • The red card wasn't a good call, unless MLS is setting a new standard for tackles from behind. It wasn't particularly hard or dirty, and probably should have been yellow at worst.
  • However earlier in the game Wondolowski took down Drew Moor with a scissor tackle from behind, that probably should have been red. That, along with the tripping of Folan in the box before the first goal that looked like a possible PK means the Earthquakes were on thin ice before the calls started going against them.
  • on the PK, Mastroeni immediately turned to the Assistant Ref and 4 times yelled "You f****** saw it!". I chuckled at it but it really wasn't a great move by Pablo. According to reports the ref was already making the signal for a penalty so it didn't influence the decision at least.
  • Folan had a better game, but I'm still not impressed. He goes down far too easy for a big man and his "legs spread, bent at the waist" move when the ball is too far for him to make a real effort is getting very old.
  • Good to see LaBauex getting another chance, but he didn't have a great outing. I don't thing withdrawn striker is his spot.
  • Kimura was caught completely ball watching on the Quakes goal. He's not going to make the Blue Samurai that way.
  • I'm coming around a bit on Wells Thompson. I still don't think he's any better than a journeyman MLS player, but he's not a hindrance to the team any more.
  • Now the big challenge of the Champions League starts!
Player of the Game: Drew Moor, for tying the MLS Ironman record for field players at 67 consecutive complete games, also held by former Rapid Peter Vermes. That's a tough record to match and he should hopefully set a new record Saturday against Chivas.

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