Monday, October 3, 2011

Rapids Learn You Wynne Moor With Good Defense

Sorry for the double pun. ;) Saturday night a solid game from Colorado resulted in a much needed 3 points. Much like MLS Cup (but not quite as bad) the game wasn't pretty but it was successful.

The Rapids had the better of the play for most of the first half, punctuated by 2 shots on goal between the 23rd and 26th minute. The first forced a big Hartman save off a Sanna Nyassi blast from about 25 yards out. The second was a header from Drew Moor crashing the box on a corner kick. That one was not saved and the Rapids had a 1-0 lead. Dallas wasn't going to go away quietly though and turned up the pressure at the end of the half. In the final 5 minutes the former Burn forced Matt Pickens into two huge saves to preserve the lead and a 3rd play right at the post that probably would have gone outside the post but better safe than sorry.

The second half was more even and much sloppier. Despite the ugliness of the play though, only one shot on goal was recorded. Jamie Smith blasted it from 30 yards out to force another save. That doesn't mean there weren't plenty of chances. Nyassi missed an open net from a wide angle 30 yards out. Dallas had a chance to hit an open net when Pickens came out and didn't get the ball but they put it over the crossbar. At one point a Dallas attacker had it on his feet at the 6-yard box but couldn't get a shot off. Things got really interesting in the final 15 minutes when Comminges (correctly) got his second yellow and the Rapids played down a man. At that point though it looked like Colorado outplayed Dallas for the rest of the game.

My key to the game was how well splitting the team worked. Well 2 wins in a week is about the best you can ask for.

Other Observations:
  • Once again Gary Smith proves that what he says to the media and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar (to paraphrase the great Jayne Cobb) On Tuesday he was quoted as saying that anyone who went to Metapan would play no more than a sub role in this game, leading me and others to question why he was sending Omar Cummings. Saturday night Cummings started.
  • Drew Moor's goal was a textbook example of a corner kick play. Perfect cross into the box from Nyassi and Moor crashed in to hammer it home.
  • Pickens really showed the two sides to his game this season. Great saves at the end of the first half, but twice in the second half he looked indecisive on whether to stay on his line or come out. The first was cleared by Wynne, the second resulted in that chip over the bar mentioned earlier.
  • Kimura may never turn out to be a great player, but he's turned into a good one. just another solid performance from him, especially after he had his bell rung.
  • Along those lines, buy a Kimura shirt to support Japan relief!
  • Comminges got two correct yellow cards. The first for time wasting when he grabbed the ball for a throw-in then wandered over to the bench for water. If he gets the water before grabbing the ball he probably gets away with it, but that was too blatant. The second was for clearing out a Dallas attacker that was going to beat him.
  • Dallas was forced to make a sub in the first half to bring Jackson off before he was red-carded. The difference was that Jackson committed a yellow-card foul, and committed a second close-to-yellow-card foul a few minutes later. By not being as obviously a yellow card as Comminges foul it allowed the ref to give Jackson a stern talking to, which prompted Dallas to sub him out.
  • Nyassi really should have hit the mark on his 30-yard miss. Hartman charged out but Nyassi beat him to the ball and Hartman slid to block a shot before Nyassi did anything. Nyassi could have taken an extra second to make sure he got it on target, touched it around the sliding Hartman and shot it on target, or with his speed touched it around Hartman and dribbled in closer before shooting.
  • Great use of subs by Smith. Marshall came on for Mullan to restore the 4-man back line after the Comminges card, Thompson came in to spell Smith and add some defense to the midfield, and Kandji came in for Cummings to run at the tired Dallas defense.
  • Kudos to Gary Smith for getting two wins with his strategy this week. I'm still not convinced we couldn't have done that with Smith coaching both games though.
  • The 3 points gets us 2 points from clinching a playoff spot, and as teams below us knock each other out I'm feeling fairly confident that our current 45 points will be enough.
  • Still, the next game is the Rocky Mountain Cup match against FSL. We need to win that to win the Cup back and as an added bonus we'll clinch a playoff spot. The Rapids have released the first of a Kings of the Rockies series of videos. you can see your humble writer holding the trophy at the 1 minute mark and again about 1:40.

Player of the Game: Marvell Wynne. Time and time again when a Dallas attack looked promising he was there to shut it down.

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