Monday, September 9, 2013

Buddle Burns Old Team For 3 Points

A pretty average game of soccer had one big highlight for the Rapids, with Edson Buddle hammering a long shot for the only goal of the match.  Due to an long-running high-school football game we didn't see the first action of the match as LA forced a big save out of Irwin less than 2 minutes into the game.  After that neither team could find their aiming point as there wasn't another shot on target until after the 30th minute.  What a shot it was though, as Irwin barely got just a fingertip to it, but that was just enough to force it into the outside of the crossbar where it spun away from the goal.  Colorado got two shots on target right before the break to end was was a rather dull half outside that LA shot.

The second half didn't start much better, with LA getting the only on target shot before the 75th minute.  Sometimes you only need one good shot though, as Buddle would then prove.  After some great work from Sanchez who stole the ball, got into position, and drew defenders he dropped it back to an on-rushing Edson who one-timed a laser beam into the upper left corner for a 1-0 lead.  Then the LA offense woke up.  Suddenly they were all over the Rapids box, and only some desperate defending and a pair of great saves from Irwin kept LA off the board.  Colorad had one more good chance they didn't convert and they got out of their last trip to SoCal with 3 points.

My key to the game was bouncing back from last week.  It was a little difficult to see at times, but the desire was certainly there and you can't complain about 3 points out of the home of the defending champs.

Random Thoughts:
  • Altitude took some, IMO unnecessary knee-jerk, abuse from Rapids fans on BigSoccer and Facebook.  There was no way they were going to get a high-school football game done in the 2.5 hours they scheduled it before the 30-minute pre-game show, but 3 hours should have been enough.  They just got unlucky that the game went into OT, and in the end they only missed the first 5 minutes of the Rapids match.  Just bad luck.
  • That said, going to a long commercial between the football game and the Rapids game was BS.  That was a screw-up.
  • I've rightfully beat up Buddle for his lack of results this season, so he deserves credit for scoring in each of the last 3 games.  Apparently the pressure of Torres has gotten him involved.
  • If there was an assist of the week award, Sanchez would get it for the work he did to set up Buddle.  Vicente might be the best mid-season signing in MLS so far, and yes, I'm including Dempsey.  (I assume Dempsey will pass him eventually.  So will Torres)
  • The Rapids defense looked really sketchy for the 5-10 minutes after the goal.  That's been our weakness this season and we still haven't completely figured it out.
  • Brown and Rivero were obviously going to be the first two subs, but they needed to happen sooner as you could feel momentum shifting for a few minutes before Pareja made the call.  They could have happened at half IMO.
  • Neither one of those two show up on any statistical leader lists for this game, but the tone of the game changed in our favor when they came in.
  • I think Harris has finally been played out of the starting XI once Torres is back.  He's not on the same level as the rest of the starters and almost gave up a PK early.
  • With other results, next week's Colorado-Dallas game is pretty big for the playoff race.  A win gives us a bit of cushion, a loss makes it very tight.
  • Right now we'll make the playoffs by winning our last 3 home games (Dallas, Seattle, Vancouver).  That would put us at a team record 51 points and a 1.5 pts/game average.  I can't see how that won't be good enough.  Our road games (Portland, San Jose, Vancouver) are places to build up a cushion should we stumble at home and improve our positioning.
Player of the Match: Clint Irwin.  His saves kept us in the game when we needed a goal and kept the lead once we had one.  (Yes, this is the same write-up I used two games ago for Vancouver.  It applied equally well here)

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