Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rapids Lose Finale To FSL Despite Man Advantage

The Rapids starting XI for last night's Desert Diamond Cup finale:

Riley - Burling - Sjoberg - Harrington
Sarvas - Pittinari
Sanchez - Torres - Serna

Interesting that Badji and Riley got one more shot with a mostly first team in support around them.  The Rapids would only make one change, replacing Serna with Alvarez in the 78th minute.  It only took 8 minutes for FSL to find the hole in defense and put themselves in the lead.  Garcia was left unmarked on the far post (Riley seemed to be the closest Rapid) and Gil found him on the cross for the early lead.

Then the game intensity was turned up a few notches as a couple of long-time FSL players (Saborio, Beckerman) decided to remind everyone that these two teams plain don't like each other (TM Keith Jackson).  A couple of quick yellows from both of them.  Credit to the Rapids ass they fought their way back in the 28th minute.  Rimando spilled a Sanchez shot and Serna was there to clean up the rebound.  Saborio was lucky not to see a second yellow after taking out Irwin just before half and we hit the break 1-1.

It didn't take long after the half for FSL to regain the lead.  An unnecessary free kick was given up in the 50th minute.  In the aftermath of the foul Saborio got tangled up with Harrington and picked up that second yellow, leaving FSL a man down.  However Morales finished directly from the free kick to give FSL the 2-1 lead before the Rapids could touch the ball with a man advantage.

Sadly, after that point, Colorado seemed to have no plan and no answers to break down the FSL defense.  It felt very similar to 2014.  Its a good indicator that we didn't do enough to help our strikers which isn't a surprise since at this point we've done exactly nothing to bolster our strike corps.  Badji looks like he's going to get a contract, either in Colorado or Charlotte, and Doyle sounds like he'll be coming eventually, but until then its probably going to be Brown or Torres up top and that doesn't look like its going to be good enough.  The game ended 2-1 with FSL standing on the ball as much as possible.

And with that the preseason is over.  Next stop is Philly for the season opener at 2pm on Saturday.  That assumes that the players union and the owners agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) this week or come to some understanding to start the season while negotiations continue.  I expect that to happen though, which seems to put me in the minority of fans.

Between now and next Saturday I'll have a season preview and some season predictions.  Also on Thursday night we'll have the reveal of the new road/alternate jersey.  My real job has a release on Thursday so that may prevent me from going in person but I'm sure we'll have images and press releases to discuss by later that evening.  Then my first game preview on Friday night.

For those that don't know Centennial 38 will be hosting its season kickoff party at the Celtic Tavern in LoDo on Saturday.  Party starts at noon and there will be drink specials, a silent auction of Rapids merchandise. door prizes, and a FIFA tournament.  In prior years we've also had special guests (last year it was Pablo signing his contract) but with the team actually playing in Philly I doubt anyone will be available. ;)  That will all wrap up by 2 for the season kickoff.

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