Monday, March 12, 2012

Moor Of That Please!

That is how you start a season!  The boys in burgundy controlled the game and kept attacking and were rewarded with a 2-0 win.  A stat indicative of the Rapids dominance is attempts on goal, with Colorado having 17 to Columbus' 5.  The biggest negative to the match was the home side's inability to convert those attempts to shots on target, only getting 5 accurate strikes off (compared to Columbus' 3).

The first 30-35 minutes of the game looked much like last season (from both teams).  The Rapids left too much space between the defense and midfield which made it difficult to play out of the back and we saw the long balls up to the forwards.  After that though Colorado seemed to get it together and control the game more.  right before half they got the first goal of the season.  The Crew keeper fumbled an easy ball over the endline for a corner.  The initial cross from the corner was cleared but right to Kimura.  Koz crossed it back in and found an unmarked Drew Moor inside the 6-yard box.  An easy put-away for the MLS Ironman who ran to the sideline to celebrate Oscar Pareja's first goal as a head coach.

The second half started like the first half ended, with the Rapids controlling play.  Unfortunately the Rapids backslid as the half went on, losing some of their attacking focus and pulling back into the 1-goal lead defensive shell we've seen far too often the last couple of years.  Columbus almost made them pay with their only real good shot of the game in the 78th minute, a header that looked like it was going in until Pickens stretch just enough to tip it into the crossbar and over for a corner kick.  That seemed to be the wake-up call the team needed as they re-took control for the last 10+ minutes, finished off by a Goal of the Week candidate from Qunicy Amairkwa in the 89th minute to put Colorado up 2-0.

Other Observations:

  • Great first win for Pareja.  You can tell how excited he was by the way he was cheering in front of the fans after the game. :)
  • Other than the one save off the bar Pickens made the only other times he had to do anything were a worm burner that might have hit the post or just missed it on either side and a shot from midfield that he had easily.  Solid defense from the Rapids.
  • Cascio looked like a rookie that could be as good as I hoped.  He had a great chance to one-time a shot on goal but thought he had time to set it up for the perfect shot, only to learn how much faster MLS is than the NCAA.  While he'll probably move back to the bench when Casey's healthy he'll be pushing for that 3rd forward spot next to Casey and Cummings soon.
  • Castrillon and Zapata were solid but quiet.  That's better than we've done at other times though so a good first step.
  • Kimura is tied with Dallas' Blas Perez for the league assist lead with 2.  I'm not sure he really deserved an assist on Qunicy's goal, Amarikwa did most of the work, but good for him!
  • Wynne certainly didn't lose any speed in the offseason!
  • I've called Amarikwa the "coked out hamster" recently, but if he can continue to play how he did on Saturday I'll have to stop using that.  He had his bad moments but his goal was class and he forced another good save before that.
  • The one dark cloud was Pablo being subbed out due to another head knock.  His 2011 ended with a concussion and he left the 3rd place match in Hawai'i after a head knock.  Let's hope the trainers are just playing it save and we're not seeing another Taylor Twellman or Sidney Crosby situation.
  • Cummings was very active, but had a hard time getting shots on target.  hopefully the activity is a positive sign but Omar really needs to find the scoring touch again.
  • Great work on the huge Colorado flag by the Pid Army!
Player Of The Game: Drew Moor, and not because he got the winning goal (though that obviously helped ;)).  Moor was in the right place on multiple occasions to break up a promising Crew attack and keep their forwards frustrated.  Combined with his dangerous positioning on Rapids free kicks he stood out over Kimura, Cummings, and Amarikwa.

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