Monday, April 29, 2013

Electricity And Water Cancel Out In Houston

Colorado outplayed Houston for much of the match, but yet again an untimely injury changed the match and Houston managed to scramble back into it for a point.  The Rapids were the dominant team in the first half, pressing Houston repeatedly and not being afraid to get physical with them.  Harris had the first two chances but couldn't get them on frame.  He followed that up late in the half by bringing the ball into the box and dumping it across to Mwanga just as he collided with Houston keeper Tally Hall.  Mwanga had an open net but a Dynamo defender managed to race back and clear the looping shot.  Minutes later in 1st half stoppage time Mwanga put a shot on target that was parried out for a corner.  Powers whipped in the set piece and Moor headed home the goal I predicted would come last week against Seattle.

The second half started much like the first.  Jamie Smith hit the post just 6 minutes in, almost doubling the lead.  Immediately after that though came the critical point in the game.  Hendry Thomas tried to clear a ball and jammed his leg, being carried off on a stretcher.  Initial tests pointed to a left hamstring pull.  Nathan Sturgis came in for him, and the Rapids midfield lost its bite.  Suddenly Colorado was on the back foot and Houston was taking the game to them.  14 minutes later Giles Barnes made us pay.  A long clearance from GK Tally Hall took an unlucky combination of bounces off of Shane O'Neill and Sturgis and fell to the feet of a charging Barnes.  Drew Moor cut down the far post angle but Barnes hit a Goal of the Week blast that beat Clint Irwin near post.  Houston would keep the pressure up for another 10 minutes or so before the introduction of Mastroeni returned the bite in the midfield the Rapids needed to pull back some control.  A couple of late chances by the Rapids weren't enough to get the win though.

My key to the match was scoring more than 1 to win.  We needed to, and we didn't.  Once again, too many "oh, we almost had it" moments.

Random Thoughts:
  • Great to see Rivero and Pablo back on the field.  That gives us some much needed reinforcements in midfield.
  • The goal really was a laser but its tough to see a keeper get beat near post, especially when Moor was cutting off the far post.  I have to wonder if Irwin couldn't have done a bit better.
  • Harris' collision with Hall in the box should have been a PK.  Considering how close Moor's goal came after that though, I doubt it would have been scored if Colorado was up 1-0 already, so its had to say we got screwed.
  • Mwanga has had 3 golden chances in the last two games and finished none of them.  That's inexcusable from a attacking player.
  • As BigSoccer poster DavidJames put it, "Harris can navigate the traffic on I25 into Denver but he sucks at parking the the car." Atiba does some things well but he doesn't do multiple things well at the same time, which leads to getting into good positions but taking a bad shot, or receiving a tricky ball but hitting a bad pass.  Acceptable in a player like Brown and Powers who are still learning, not acceptable in a player in his 8th year in the league.
  • Hill was invisible in this match.
  • Smith on the other hand showed that he's able to play at a high level as a starter.  I didn't think he had it in him at this point.
  • Another solid game from Powers and Irwin.  Got to love the youth movement.
Player of the Match: Drew Moor.  Got the goal that I felt like was coming for a couple of weeks and generally played another solid game.  The goal just gave me an excuse to recognize his good play over the last few games.

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