Monday, July 1, 2013

The 8 Year Streak Is Over!

On July 4th, 2005 the Rapids were losing 1-0 at half, but came back to win 2-1.  That was the last time Colorado trailed at half and won a regular-season game (there was MLS Cup of course)...until Saturday.  Down 2-1 at half and 3-2 in the 75th minute the Rapids came back to win 4-3 on a last minute goal.

The game started fairly well with the Rapids putting pressure on the Impact goal early.  In the 24th minute a cross from Dillon Powers found Atiba Harris in the middle of the box who put in a looping header that beat the Montreal keeper for Harris' team-leading 5th goal of the season.  The game started tipping towards Montreal after that though, and 12 minutes later the Impact leveled the score.  Clint Irwin badly misjudged a corner and whiffed on it, then fumbled the ball when it was knocked back to him allowing Camara to pull of a bicycle kick goal from his backside (scoring the #1 spot on SportsCenter's top plays Sunday morning).  4 minutes later Di Vaio was given way too much space in midfield to find a streaking Paponi who expertly turned Drew Moor around and curved the ball past Irwin to give Montreal the dreaded halftime lead.

Full credit to the Rapids, they came out of the break at full speed looking for the equalizer.  In the 59th minute Dillon Powers took what appeared to be a harmless pass in the box and suddenly one-timed it to the near post, beating the Impact's keeper to even the score at 2 apiece.  That only lasted 13 minutes as Paponi once again found space between the center backs and scored an easy goal to give Montreal what I expected to be the winning goal.  Apparently Colorado  had other ideas though.  5 minutes later Brown took a shot that was deflected wide in the box and Chris Klute collected the rebound with a one time cross that found Brown following his own shot and he was able to volley it home to get the game tied for the 4th time (if you include 0-0) at 3.  At that point I was just happy to get out with a point, but nobody told the Rapids that.  After defending a late attack in the last minute of stoppage time Chris Klute slid in to win a ball in the Rapids defensive third, popped up, and went on a long attacking run in the 96th minute.  his attempted cross to Brown didn't get anywhere close to him, but the defensive clearance went right to Tony Cascio outside the box.  With nothing to lose, as the referee was set to blow the final whistle, Cascio wound up and powered a shot it.  The shot was deflected and beat the keeper near post to give the Rapids a last second 4-3 win!

My key to the match was defense, because Montreal had the best offense int he league.  Only the second time all season we've given up 3 goals (after the 3-0 loss in Portland last weekend) but that didn't matter as the Rapids scored 3, and then 4, goals for the first time this season.  

Random Thoughts:
  • All kinds of records were broken in this one, just a few:
  • First time in 8 years the Rapids won when losing at half
  • First time this season the Rapids won when giving up a goal
  • First time in MLS in 4 years that rookie teammates scored in the same game (Pontius/Wallace DC '09)
  • First loss for Montreal at home this season
  • Great mental toughness from the Rapids in this one, it would have been easy to just give up and go home multiple times.
  • Pareja should get credit for his subs.  Brown and Cascio scored and Wynne settled down the defense.
  • The defense in general didn't look too good.  Mera clearly is not the answer and Sturgis and Thomas gave Di Vaio way too much space in front of the defensive line.
  • Clint Irwin also had a rough match.  his play has declined recently, many people believe he's hearing the footsteps of a healthy Pickens and is losing confidence.
  • The midfield completed something like 90% of their passes in this one, just insanely good.
  • Buddle had a good first half but dropped off in the second.  We need full 90 minutes like his first 45.
  • Atiba Harris, back on the good side of the ledger.
  • A couple of Impact fans have complained about the 3rd Rapids goal, because an Impact player was down injured.  Sorry, but those are the rules these days.  You didn't see any Rapids fans complaining on the 2nd Timbers goal last week when Drew Moor was down with a head injury.  Besides, when your player goes down after a head ball and grabs his calf while waving his arm at the ref it doesn't look real convincing...
  • If you had Montreal scoring 3 goals in Montreal and the Rapids winning, you're lying.
Player of the Match: Tony Cascio.  Powers or Klute probably deserve it but after being the goat for hitting the post in Chicago, Cascio gets the nod for the game-winning goal in Montreal.

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