Monday, June 17, 2013

Rapids Streak Comes To An End

Well after today's big trade news, back to Saturday's game.  I predicted a 2-1 scoreline, which we got, but with the wrong team winning.  The Rapids put themselves in a hole early and while they almost got out of it they came up just a bit short.

The first half was generally ugly soccer from both sides but particularly ugly from Colorado.  In the 11th minute the back line got peeled part high up the field, leaving Lenhart open for a long bomb that beat Clint Irwin for an early E-Quakes lead.  Seven minutes later Atiba Harris lived up to his reputation as a hack and lunged into a two-footed tackle, rightfully seeing red.  Colorado would play the final 72 minutes down a man and a goal.  Other than the San Jose goal, the only shot on goal in the first half was a long shot from Dillon Powers that was parried away, only for the follow up header from Brown went over the bar.

The second half started much like the first, a quick goal from San Jose.  7 minutes in the back line was again shredded and Irwin was left hanging as the Quakes went up 2-0.  After that though the game changed, largely due to the insertion of Rivero at halftime.  Had you asked a fan to start watching at halftime the assumption would have been that San Jose was the player down a man as Colorado dominated the game.  In the 65th minute Jaime Castrillon made his return from injury, 2 minutes later a Mullan cross found Nathan Sturgis who headed it home to half the deficit.  From that point it was almost an all-out assault on the Earthquakes goal, with Castrillon, Buddle, Thomas, and Rivero all getting looks but the team couldn't convert and San Jose escaped with 3 points.

My key to the match was taking San Jose out of the game early.  Instead we gave them a goal advantage and a man advantage in the first 20 minutes.  Pretty much the direct opposite of what we needed to do.

Random Thoughts:
  • So last game I started this section saying Harris had earned a pass from being slammed after his play the last couple of weeks.  That assumed he wasn't going to something as asinine as making a two-footed tackle at midfield on somebody going away from goal.  Idiot.
  • Drew Moor might have had a worse game than Harris.  He was pulled completely out of position on the first goal, leaving Lenhart unmarked.  He was also out of position ont he second goal, though with the Earthquakes up a man that may have been unavoidable.
  • Had Sturgis header missed, there was a clear PK to be called.  He got a hard shove in the back just before he made contact.
  • Of course, given some of the other calls missed, the ref may not have seen it.  The worst was a knock-down of Castrillon in the box in stoppage time that went uncalled.  Immediately after that the center ref touched his earpiece like his assistant ref was talking to him.  Maybe to let him know he blew the call?
  • That said, the ref isn't why we lost.  San Jose should have had 4 goals as they completely blew two gift-wrapped chances in the second half through nothing but their own incompetence.
  • Castrillon had a great header that forced a diving save just minutes after coming on and generally was much sharper than I would have expected after so much time off.
  • Buddle, on the other hand, was invisible other than the one chance he had late.  Not good enough.
  • Brown needs to learn to stay onside.
  • This game really showed the difference between the potential of Powers and the skill right now of Rivero.  Powers made som good plays but the Rapids play in general went up a notch when Rivero came in.
  • Hendry Thomas got in a shouting match with the San Jose bench shortly after half when interim coach Mark Watson kicked a ball back towards him.  Watson appeared to be out of line, but Thomas has to have a longer fuse than that.
  • The loss breaks the Rapids 6 game undefeated streak.
Player of the Match: Nathan Sturgis.  Not only did he score the goal but he had more than one good pass to set up other opportunities.

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