Monday, April 23, 2012

Rapids Outscore Galaxy, Still Lose

Colorado was thoroughly outplayed in the first half, mounted a comeback in the second half, got a gift PK that would have given them a draw, and then blew the PK (with the help of a couple of a$$hole fans) and lost.

The first half was ugly soccer from the home side.  There were, once again, no shots on goal.  The closest the Rapids got was a cross from Cascio that the Galaxy goalkeeper parried to the top of the box and Hill volleyed just above the crossbar.  That didn't make up for the two clear chances Cascio had early that he botched to the point of not even getting a shot off.

Meanwhile on defense the Galaxy made us pay.  Beckham was given a free kick about 25 yards out in front.  Magee drifted into the near corner from out wide, unmarked (so unmarked that I can't even tell who should have been marking him) and headed the free kick back across goal.  Wynne got a head to it but redirected it into the net for an own goal.  If Wynne hadn't hit it though it would have been a contest between Zapata or an oncoming attacker so it may have ended up in the net anyway.

18 minutes later the Galaxy used a seven pass sequence to go box-to-box and find an unmarked Landon Donovan who beat Pickens between the legs to  double the lead.  The Galaxy did a nice job with crossing routes to confuse the defense and free up Donovan on our right side.  Kimura tried to scramble back to his side to cover but didn't make it and Donovan found the hole right past Pickens leg.

Colorado came out playing much better in the second half, though some of that can be attributed to the fact that the Galaxy was sitting on 2-0 lead and didn't need to press.  18 minutes in Cummings decided to do it himself.  Picking up a loose ball just outside the center circle he sprinted to the top of the Galaxy box and blasted in a goal of the week candidate to get the Rapids within a goal.  Colorado didn't quit either, they controlled possession most of the half and in the 90th minute they got a gift for all of their hard work.  Akpan chased down a long ball in the box and went airborne to try to make contact but missed.  The center official signaled for a PK though.  On replay its pretty clear Akpan went airborne on his own and wasn't really touched.  Andre wasn't diving, he was trying to make a play on the ball, but there was no foul.

Of course the Galaxy erupted, surrounding the ref and showing some obvious dissent (something Larentowicz got carded for earlier in the game).  Beckham alone delayed the PK by a minute or so by meandering around in the box until the ref finally stepped in to deal with it.  Right about then a couple of a$$holes in the BSD side of the terraces decided to start throwing beer cans at Beckham.  One of them was caught, ejected, and banned for the year.  After that was resolved Cummings finally stepped up to take the PK, only to get to cute and ending up with a weak shot that was easily saved.  A fair result from an unfair call though.

My key to look for was midfield-forward linking.  There was an improvement from the last couple of games, but the Rapids still struggled to consistently create chances.  They had 4 shots on goal total (which includes the goal and the penalty shot), all in the second half.  That's just not good enough to win.

Other Observations:
  • The jacka$$ fans who delayed the corner kick aren't Rapids fans.  There's no excuse for that.  I'm glad they weren't BSG regulars and that one was caught and ejected.  The BSG is looking for any information they can find on identifying the other guy.
  • Pickens really should have done better on the second goal.  Donovan is the best striker in league history, but the ball rolled under Pickens while he misread it and left his feet.
  • Cascio had an awful game.  Besides whiffing on two golden chances his touch was poor and he wasn't on the same page as most of the team.  The ups and downs of being a rookie.
  • I hate to say it, but Old Spice has still got it.
  • Hill was a late addition to the starting XI after Rivero had hamstring issues in warm ups.  Other than his missed volley he didn't do anything impressive.
  • Castrillon was too quite for the guy who's supposed to be the engine in our midfield.
  • Cummings had a great goal, but other than that he still struggled as the forward striker.  I think he's going to look much better once Casey takes that position and Cummings can move back to the right side.
  • I think we get at least a draw, if not win, if Casey were able to start this game.  He makes the PK and his ability to hold the ball would have greatly improved our first half play.
  • Kimura had another off match.  He doesn't seem to be adjusting to the 4-3-3 well so far.
  • Great tailgate from Class VI and the Pid Army!
Player Of The Game: Luis Zapata.  The Colombian played good defense and made some great runs up the left side to get into the attack.  In a game where most players were either invisible or had big highs and lows Zapata was above average with no real flaws.

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