Friday, October 28, 2011

One Game Down, Three To Go

A cold night in Commerce City worked to the Rapids advantage as they got a first half lead and then suffocated any chances the Crew might have had to get back into the game. Colorado won 1-0 and moved on to the Conference Semi-Final round to face Kansas City.

The Rapids took control early as they had the majority of play in the first half. With the exception of about a 10 minute period in the middle of the half Colorado had the run of play and were the most dangerous team. At halftime they had 62% of the possession. The attacking paid off right before half on a nice bit of passing from the team. Mullan played a ball through the Crew defense that Kimura ran onto. Cummings came in as the trailing player and was left unmarked and Koz played the ball back to him. Omar one-timed it past an airborne Hesmer for a great way to end the half.

The second half the Crew came out a bit more aggressive and the Rapids had to absorb more pressure. Slowly though Colorado retook control and wore the Crew out. With the cold weather and the altitude Columbus will seemed to fade as the half went on. By stoppage time the Rapids actually had the best two chances, but were unable to double their lead. That turned out to be unnecessary though as the team closed out the win and sent Columbus home for the season.

My key to the game was how Ginger and Nane/Thompson controlled the midfield. It turned out Jamie Smith partnered with Ginger and brought a good deal of stability to the center of the park. While things weren't perfect the Rapids dominance in possession was largely due to the midfield paring.

Other Observations:
  • The goal was a textbook example of moving the ball and finding the open man. It reminded me of how Cummings and Casey have linked up in recent years. Maybe this will give Omar a jump start for the playoffs.
  • The Rapids played one of the better team games of the season. Players were interchanging well and working together more cohesively than in many games.
  • That said, Folan was awful. There was no desire in his game and no effort in his play. There's no reason he needs to be on the field in a Rapids jersey again.
  • The bad news out of this game was the injury to Jamie Smith. Today's MRI revealed that he tore his right ACL and has months of rehab ahead of him.
  • The Wells Thompson sub was made at the right time, I just would have taken Folan off.
  • Nyassi and Cummings made some Crew defenders look stupid last night. It was fun to watch.
  • I was surprised to see Ross LaBauex as the sub for Smith, I was expecting Nane.
  • The Rapids move on to face KC at the Dick on Sunday. Kickoff is at 5:30.
Player of the Game: Brian Mullan. He drove the offense multiple times and set up a great goal. He was the engine of the team last night.

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