Monday, March 19, 2012

Colorado Steals 3 Points In Philly

Somehow the Rapids won a game they should have lost, easily.  Outplayed most of the match and down to 10 men for the last third of the game Colorado managed to hang on for a 2-1 win.  The first half was ugly soccer from the first whistle.  Literally.  Within the first minute Drew Moor tripped an onrushing Mwanga at the top of the box and should have had a foul called and a card issued.  Probably a red card, though a case could be made for a yellow.  Instead referee Geiger waved play on.  That set the tone for what turned out to be a physical match but despite the poor play the Rapids made it to the locker room with a scoreless draw.

In the second half Colorado started to control the game more.  Out of the 10 shots the Rapids had in the game, 8 of them came after the break.  Cummings got a shot off in the 54th minute, then broke free for a cross in the 56th.  Philly's GK MacMath tried to grab the cross as Mullan challenged him for the ball and he fumbled it right to a wide open Jamie Castrilon who put away the easy goal for a 1-0 lead.  The joy was short lived though.  After picking up a very orange yellow card just before halftime Larentowicz dove into another poorly thought tackle in the 58th minute, resulting in a red card for the Philly-raised midfielder.  The Union immediately tried to take advantage, pushing forward to search for an equalizer.  Surprisingly the next goal came from the side in burgundy as rookie Tony Cascio chased a long ball down the left sideline.  Union defender Chris Albright (who I met 12 years ago at LAX while he was en route to Sydney as part of the Olympic team, met Joey DiGimarino as well) slipped as he chased the ball town and Cascio was free for a 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper.  He got the keeper leaning left and slammed it to the keeper's right.  MacMath got a foot on it but couldn't keep it out of the net.  Suddenly the Rapids were up 2-0 despite being down a man.

5 minutes later the Union finally broke through the Colorado defense for the first goal against the team this season.  On a free kick the Rapids backline seemed to get confused as they all stepped forward while the Union attack went the other direction.  An unmarked Pajoy headed the ball right past Pickens, who was a bit slow to react, and suddenly it was hang on for dear life time.  Pajoy would get another great look right before the end of the 90 minutes but put his shot just above the corner of the goal and that's as close as the Union got.

My key to the game was the back 4 shutting down the Philly attack.  Their success was a mixed bag.  Moor in particular had a bad game, almost getting red carded in less than a minute, losing his mark on the Union goal, and generally not being sharp (though he had one amazing save right before half).  Wynne and Zapata had big plays though, and many of the problems the back line had was due to them being constantly under pressure due to poor midfield play.

Other Observations:
  • A really bad game from the midfield.  Ginger's red card was due to two badly timed tackles, the second in particular was a really poor choice.  Castrillon had the goal but was otherwise invisible.  Mastroeni didn't do anything bad but that wasn't enough to make up for a general sense of poor play from the whole unit.
  • One depressing note from the game on Pablo.  The commentators said he had told them he's one serious concussion from retirement.
  • Cummings still hasn't found his mojo.  He had a couple of good chances including one late that would have put the game away but couldn't get the chip on target.  He's still dangerous, but he needs to find the final piece of the puzzle.
  • Cascio is learning fast, but he's still a rookie.  Great goal but he has his poor moments as well.  Good to see him not taking any crap from the Union backline after the whistle though,
  • Geiger allowed a physical game, but called it consistently both ways.  He missed the call on Moor early but other than that did well.  That's back to back consistent games from the refs, which is nice to see.
  • Zapata had a great clearance off the line to preserve the win.
  • Kimura took a nasty fall (self-inflicted) onto his neck and then bounced up and kept playing.  It really takes a broken bone to stop him.
  • The commentators noted that last week Kimura was the first defender in league history to have 2 assists on opening day.
  • Pickens might have done better on the goal, but came up with some important stops.
  • The Rapids are 2-0-0 for only the second time in their history.  The first was last year.
  • They've also never lost in Philly.
Player Of The Game: Marvell Wynne.  He cleaned up for Drew Moor's poor game, making some crucial interceptions and tracking back with his speed.  This was a hard choice because nobody really stood out in a game we shouldn't have won.  Mullan and Pickens were also considered.

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