Monday, April 2, 2012

Colorado Leaves Slim Pickens For Chicago

Getting back home is apparently just what the Rapids needed.  In the best example yet of what the new 4-3-3 can be Colorado controlled the game and had a somewhat easy 2-0 victory.  As expected Martin Rivero got his first opportunity as a Rapid, taking Pablo's spot in midfield.  Otherwise it was the same starting group we've seen when every one's available.  The burgundy boys controlled most of an uneventful first half.  Neither team was able to score before they headed to the locker rooms at half but Colorado had to feel better about their first half performance.

After those of us in the East stands got out of the blazing sun for a few minutes the second half started much like the first, with the Rapids making good passes and working the ball around while covering well defensively.  Finally Colorado found a way past the Fire backline.  Rivero played a ball all the way to the end line that Mullan was just able to catch up to.  Brian turned the ball back to the top of the box where Cummings was unmarked running onto the ball.  Omar hammered it at goal and while the Chicago keeper got a hand on it Cummings' had put enough power behind it that it still went in the net.

The home side relaxed a bit after the goal and the Fire had a couple of chances but Pickens and the defense were up to the challenge.  Colorado thought they had gotten a 2 goal lead after a Cummings shot was deflected to Castrillon in front of the goal and Jamie made sure to put it away, but Cummings was offside initially.  The Rapids kept the pressure up though, subbing in new signing forward Kamani Hill, and with less than 2 minutes left it paid off.  After a give an go with Wells Thompson Hill took a shot from the top of the box only to see it parried away by the Fire keeper.  Learning from a similar experience earlier in the game Hill had followed up his shot and finished the rebound to clinch the game for the Rapids.

My key to look for was Rivero's work in the midfield.  While I don't think he was as good as some are making him out to be he added a stability to the center of the park that we needed in the absence of Pablo and did well finding passing lanes to use.  Plus he started the sequence that let to Omar's goal.

Other Observations:
  • Maybe it was the oddity of 80+ degrees on the 1st of April but the sun was brutal.  I can't wait until we get back to the normal 7pm starts at the Dick
  • You can see int his game what a player like Larentowicz means to this team.  The midfield did a much better job maintaining possession with him in there over Thompson and LaBauex last week.
  • Great to see Cummings getting goals in back-to-back games, but Omar could have had a hat trick.  His confidence isn't there yet and/or he's still not comfortable being the forward striker.
  • Zapata and Kimura both struggled with the balance between offense and defense in this game.  That balance from the fullbacks is really key to a successful 4-3-3.
  • Moor and Wynne had much better games than they did last week.  Of course the Fire's impotent attack helped.
  • What more can you ask from a new player than to score on his debut?  Hill didn't have much playing time but he scored.
  • Wells Thompson is still Wells Thompson, for the good and bad things that represents.
  • Now on to the Rocky Mountain Cup!
Player Of The Game: Matt Pickens.  He only had to make a couple of big saves but every time the Fire got into a dangerous position Pickens was where he needed to be to shut it down.

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