Monday, March 24, 2014

Colorado Freezes Out Portland, Gets Pablo's First Win

Kudos to the C38 tifo group for their best one yet

In a freezing afternoon snow storm the Rapids used a pair of penalty kicks to get their first win of the season over the visiting Timbers.  For the first 15 minutes the Rapids controlled play, with Brown getting two good looks at goal in the first 5 minutes.  Portland got their legs under themselves though and re-balanced the field, but only managed a single shot on goal in the half.  Other than that it was a lot of back and forth but with little to show for it, though Colorado probably went to the locker room feeling better about themselves (and not just because they got to warm up!).

The second half was more of the same, with the Rapids taking more control as the half went on.  The critical moment of the game came in the 68th minute.  Powers played a through ball for Brown to run onto, beating the defense.  Ricketts came off his line to try to get to the ball, but at the last minute was scared off by the charging Brown and stuck his boot into Deshorn's gut.  Penalty, red card, and Ricketts was carried off on a stretcher after a long time on the field.  Sanchez stepped up to go 2 for 2 on PK's this season and COlorado had a 1-0 lead.

5 minutes after Ricketts' foul (and just about 90 seconds after Sanchez scored the PK) it happened again.  Powers stole the ball in the attacking half, played a ball to Sanchez, and Portland;s backup keeper came out to stop him.  This time Sanchez played the ball to the outside before getting tripped up, so it was only a yellow cared and a PK.  Reversing roles Brown stepped up to take the PK Sanchez earned, and hit a weak one nearly down the center.  Weber saved it, but the rebound came back to a charging Brown who finished it for his first goal of the year and a 2-0 lead.

The game ended by being marred by a pair of yellow cards on Jose Mari.  Then, in stoppage time, Portland got two good looks at goal but Berner came up with the save each time.  My strategic concern was that Portland had shown the ability to come back late, but leaving a 2 goal lead until stoppage time was a bit much for them. ;)

Other Observations:

  • I've been to some cold games at the Dick, but this was up there as one of the worst.  The combination of the wind and wet snow was unpleasant to say the least.
  • Amazing tifo by the C38 tifo crew.
  • Interesting to see Torres start on the bench.  I haven't seen any explanation for it, but I hope its not a regular thing.
  • There were some grumblings from some Portland fans about both penalties, but there was nothing to really complain about.  The first was 100% a penalty every time.  The second was a little harder to see live, but on replay you can tell it was the right call.
  • Jose Mari's second yellow was soft on replay, but from the ref's angle it looked like an elbow to the head.  Up a man in midfield there's no reason for Jose Mari to make that challenge and give the ref an excuse to even the teams.
  • Dillon Powers completely set up both goals with great passing.
  • Burch did well in stepping in for Klute.  Solid and unseen, just like you want from a defensive player.
  • Once again we did well with Buddle on the field, but Buddle didn't do much himself.  That's great for the team but I still wonder if that's enough from the highest paid player on the team.
  • In two games the Rapids have faced a total of 5 shots on goal while putting 13 on frame themselves.  Great early defensive effort.
  • Some fans are concerned that 2 of our 3 goals this season have been PKs, and the 3rd was a rebound from a PK.  If we hadn't had as many good chances as we have I might be concerned, but we're creating chances.  Without the PK Brown would have easily finished his chance.
  • 4 points from our first two games is a great start to the season, given the competition.
Man of the Match: John Berner.  Really tough call on this one.  Powers did the work setting up the PKs and Brown and Sanchez each drew a PK and scored a goal.  I went with Berner though.  Through 2 games, as a rookie, against the two conference winners last season he's given up 1 goal, and that to a world-class player in Thierry Henry.  He deserves some kudos.

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