Monday, May 28, 2012

Refs Give Rapids A Gift Of 3 Points

From Friday's game preview:
Prediction: 0-0 draw.  I expect some ugly soccer tomorrow.  One team is an expansion team and one team is missing up to 7 starters.  There will be a lot of tentative, conservative play and no scoring.
OK, so I was way off on the scoreline, but I was right about the ugly soccer.  The less-than-stellar play resulted in a combined 5 goals (the last with some help from the ref).  In general while the game was entertaining, it was not quality play.

As the Rapids have been in the habit of late they gave up an early goal.  some nice passing from Montreal found Bernier free in the box with Koz on the wrong side of him.  Pickens made himself as big as he could but couldn't stop the shot and the Impact had a 1-0 lead after 15 minutes.  It wouldn't last long though as 4 minutes later Wells Thompson (yes, Wells Thompson) was taken down int eh box for a PK and Larentowicz stepped up to level the score.

Colorado kept the pressure up and were rewarded with the best goal of the night.  In the 39th minute Rivero was fouled by Bernier just beyond the center circle.  Martin played a great free kick ball deep into the box and Drew Moor was able to head it inside the far post to give the home team the lead heading into the break.  Alas, much like the start of the game the Rapids would give up an early goal int he 2nd half.  Once again Marshall was caught in no-man's land not marking anybody, and Moor, in his haste to try to compensate, blew the offside trap keeping Wenger onside for the goal.

In the 13 minutes after Montreal leveled the score Tyrone Marshall picked up not one but two solid yellow cards, leaving the team a man down for the final 29 minutes.  At this point we saw the team get conservative to preserve the draw, with Palguta being subbed in for Akpan and Henao getting his first action in Colorado by coming in for Wells Thompson.  Somehow this plan backfired on Montreal, not Colorado, but not without controversy.  In the 83rd minute Rivero was once again fouled in the attacking half.  He played another great ball in that Scott Palguta headed towards goal but the Montreal GK pushed it onto the crossbar.  The ball bounced twice on the crossbar, then was pushed back into the field of play by the wind.  Castrillon was waiting when it fell off the bar and headed it home for the game-winner.

Or at least, that's how it looked.  Upon further review here it seems that the Rapids had help from an incompetent referee.  Watching that highlight you can see the referee signal for a corner kick before the ball comes off the bar and if the audio is synced up (always questionable with highlights) you can hear him blow the whistle at the same time.  A second later Castrillon heads the ball into the goal and the ref changes his call from a corner kick to a goal.  If that highlight audio is accurate though, play stopped when he blew the whistle so the goal can't be counted.  This is such a significant mistake that, if accurate, Montreal has grounds to protest the game and request a replay.  Now this is MLS, so I fully expect the league to look the other way and let the result stand, but Montreal really does have a legitimate gripe if that audio is accurate.

My key to look for was the ability of our makeshift lineup to work together.  Not really, but we did enough to get a win.  Still this was really ugly soccer and we desperately need our starters back.

Other Observations:
  • Marshall's yellow cards were really unnecessary.  He really shouldn't be starting at this point.
  • Drew Moor, despite being partially at fault for the second goal, was my MOTM until midway through writing this review.  He was great on the backline, plus got a goal.
  • Ginger Ninja was another candidate, and that's not even considering the great PK he took.
  • I'm not sure anyone but Akpan realized Akpan was playing in this game.  He was pretty much invisible.
  • I was shocked to see Akpan starting over Hill.  Hill has earned a start at this point, at least until C + C Goal Factory is healthy.
  • Interesting that the lineup was announced as a 4-3-3 with Thompson at striker.  I expected a 4-4-2 with Thompson in the midfield.
  • Hunter Freeman is settling into the left back role.  I think Zapata is probably back to being a backup.
  • Unless Kimura's poor play continues.  Everyone knows I love Koz, but he has struggled this season.  I'm hoping this off-time will help him get his game back to where it was.
  • Our next league game isn't until June 16th due to international play.  however we have a USOC game tomorrow night and if we win, another one next Tuesday.
Player Of The Game: Martin Rivero.  As I reviewed the match while writing this I realized that he drew both fouls that led to both of his free kicks that led to both non-PK goals.  Not only that, but ti was his through ball that Wells was running onto when he was fouled to draw the PK.  Two official assists after two drawn fouls and an unofficial assist to draw a PK.  I'm not sure you could ask much more from your #10.

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