Monday, September 23, 2013

Wherefore Art Thou Torres?

The Rapids brought no offense and one defensive lapse and left Portland with a 1-0 loss.  Outside the goal the teams combined for one shot on goal each, so while there was a lot of action in this game if it weren't for the defensive blunder it would have been a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The big question as the game started was our offensive lineup with Buddle, Harris, Rivero, Powers, and LaBrocca starting while Torres and Brown were on the bench while Sanchez wasn't in the gameday 18.  The latter was easily explained as Sanchez didn't feel right while practicing on the the turf in Portland so he was held out to be safe.  The other two, particularly Torres, were question marks that have not yet been explained.

The lowlight of the game was in the 13th minute as Drew Moor cleared a ball from the back right.  He made a pool clearance putting it right on the head of Portland's Rodney Wallace.  Wallace saw the open space in front of goal that was left by Moor being out of position and headed it right into the path of Valeri, running into that space.  Moor got back and enough in the way to force Valeri into a nice chip over the on-rushing Irwin for the lead.  Shortly after that Valeri put Urruti through into space that was available because Moor was out of position, but Irwin came up with the big save to keep it a one goal game.  Colorado's one shot on goal was late int eh first half and it was an tight angle shot from Harris that Ricketts easily smothered.  The only other piece of excitement was Buddle getting in 1 on 1 and pinging the shot off the post, but he was called offside anyway.

My key to the game was controlling Diego Valeri.  He scored the only goal and set up their only other shot on goal.  Pretty much failed on that one.

Random Thoughts:
  • Why did Torres start on the bench?  It was understandable last week as he had played 180 minutes in Panama's World Cup qualifiers then flown back from Panama, but this week there was no excuse.  The Rapids and KSE didn't go through a long saga to make Torres out first DP for him to be a super-sub.  In a game in which we struggled to find any good offensive chance, seeing our star striker on the bench into the second half has many fans (including me) questioning Pareja's choice.
  • Bad enough that Torres was left on the bench, but its been reported that had it not been for Sanchez' late scratch Rivero would have started on the bench as well.  Hard to understand why the team is strongly considering paying the rumored million-dollar transfer fee from Rosario Central and making him a second DP for a player that can't even crack the starting XI when everyone is healthy.
  • I'm not sure what Pareja thought an attack of Buddle backed up by Harris and LaBrocca was going to do.  Buddle is streaky and has been hot, so I get starting him, but Harris and LaBrocca aren't exactly dangerous players. Start Buddle, but pair him with Torres/Brown/Castrillon (who turned out to be our 3 subs) to give him somebody dangerous to play off of and to relieve the pressure on him.
  • Not surprisingly Harris picked up a card for another hack foul, this time in the first two minutes of the game.
  • Rivero still looks rusty, especially on free kicks.  He said after the game that he still doesn't feel quite 100%.
  • Powers appears to have hit a rookie wall.  He's lost some of the focus he had most of the season.  Maybe giving him a couple of games off and getting Rivero some work would be good to set Powers up for (hopefully) the playoffs.
  • Portland had a break late in the game that allowed Wynne to remind everyone that he's still the fastest man in the league.  He was 12 yards on the attacking half of the field when a bad turnover by Brown started the break, and he was on the midfield stripe, 7-8 yards behind Ryan Johnson, as Johnson received the ball in stride.  By the time Johnson hit the top of the box lining up his 1 on 1 with Irwin, Wynne was able to slide in and tackle the ball away.
  • Thomas bounced back from his sloppy game against Dallas with a solid outing.
  • Irwin misjudged the play on the goal.  Moor takes the lion's share of the blame but if Irwin realizes Moor is going to at least make life difficult for Valeri and stays on his line its a much harder shot for Diego.
  • The Rapids really deserved a point from this one, especially after Torres and Brown came on.  Colorado was controlling the game and pushing hard but could not get a shot on target.
  • The other results didn't hurt us too much.  We took a bit of a hit with the loss, but LA drawing and Dallas losing kept us in control of our playoff chances.  We win our remaining two home games and it would take a amazing effort from Dallas, Vancouver, or San Jose (2.2 pts/game or better over the last 4-5 games) for them to pass us. 
Player of the Match: Shane O'Neill.  He was a beast on the back line and got into some good attacks as well.  Great to see from the 19 year old.

No comments: