Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rapids Get Good Road Point, Saved Something For LA

As I was saying:
1-1 draw, goal by Torres.  This is a tough one to call, long flight, short rest, but RBNY hasn't been setting the world on fire either.  If Pablo really does focus on just this game I think we can get a result.
Colorado went cross-country to the only undefeated team in the league on short rest and walked out with a point.  Its a good result and in a vacuum its a great result.  Given our season so far though a win would have  been really helpful and midway through the second half it seems that the decision was made to take the point and rest for LA on Saturday instead of press for the win.  Was it the right call?  I guess we'll have to see how the season goes.

General impressions:
  • Pretty sad that the team's announcers have to look at the RBNY feed to see a lat minute lineup change from the Rapids.  somebody should be able to feed them that info (or hey, actually send them to the game) before they see it simultaneously with the fans.
  • O'Neill only made the bench because of the late scratch of Moor.  It seems odd that a U-23 regular and possible National Teamer can't make the bench while the USL callup gets the start at RB.
  • I now know why we sold Brown, because the cloned him into Badji before we sold him.  Badji had 2-3 great chances and didn't finish.
  • Powers did most of the work with a great FK but Torres did just enough to get the goal.  That's a goal in 3 of the last 4 games for Gaby.
  • The PK was bad by Newnam.  That was a clear PK when he let Sasha K get goal side of him.
  • Newnam also almost had an own goal in this one.  Rough introduction to MLS.
  • There was a 5-10 minute period early in the second half where Sam was just living in the seam between Sjoberg and Harington.  I was surprised RBNY didn't score.
  • Bringing Cronin in for Torres and Eloundou in for Badji felt like we were compressing and accepting the draw instead of going for the win.  A reasonable move in a vacuum but we let so many chances to win go already this season so it kind of hurt to see.
  • There were two non-calls in this game that have some fans feeling like we got screwed.  The first was the take down of Badji just outside the box right before half.  Unfortunately Badji's inexperience cost us.  Instead of just going down on contact he took a step and collapsed.  Geiger, a ref who handled a knockout round game in last year's World Cup, wasn't going to buy the dive.
  • Then late in the second half Eloundou went down in the box.  To me it was a good defensive play.  The NY defender poked the ball first before going shoulder-to-shoulder with Eloundou.  We've seen less called for a PK in MLS but I have no objection to not calling it.
  • Sjoberg had a good night, getting in the way of a number of dangerous chances.
  • LaBrocca returned to his normal depth player level after a good game on Friday.
  • The PK is the first goal we've allowed on the road.
  • After going scoreless in our first 4 games we've score in our last 4, but our record is only 1-2-1 and we've only scored more than 1 goal once.  Baby steps I guess.
  • Torres now has 3 goals, nobody else on the team has more than 1.  Powers noww has 4 assists, nobody else on the team has more than 1.  Torres and Powers are our offense right now (they each have 1 assist and goal respectively as well).
  • The lack of a finisher on this team is criminal.  We have to hope Wolves lose this weekend and Doyle becomes available to us earlier because it doesn't look like the FO is going to fix t he problem otherwise,
Man of the Match: Juan Ramirez.  He was quick, took on the defense, and moved the ball into good locations.  He needs to work on his shooting but he's showing why he was worth the young DP designation.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ridiculous Schedule Starts Tomorrow

This is close to what the Rapids will be doing

The Rapids are in NY tomorrow to face the Red Bulls on their first leg of a cross-country trip that will have them playing in LA 72 hours later.  Ridiculous scheduling that should have been prevented by somebody when RBNY asked to move this game.  Game time tomorrow is 5:30pm MDT and Fleming and 'Celo will have the call on Altitude.

Injury Report:
OUT: M Marcelo Sarvas (knee operation); QUESTIONABLE: D Marc Burch (rib injury); M Sam Cronin (concussion)

Technically Sarvas is also suspended but he'll be out injured much longer than his suspension.  NY is only down one player so we'll be getting them at full strength.  My guess at the XI:

Pablo talked in the Post this week that he learned from last season to worry about the game in front of you, not look past it.  Because of that I expect pretty close to the same lineup from last Saturday.  Sjoberg is coming back from injury so I wouldn't be surprised to see O'Neill (or maybe Burling) in his place.  Badji had a bad game so I expect Badji to sit, Torres to move up, and Sanchez to slide into his spot on the right.

Strategic Consideration: Force RBNY to the wings.  They don't have the attackers to play a crossing game, they want to play down the middle.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Torres.  This is a tough one to call, long flight, short rest, but RBNY hasn't been setting the world on fire either.  If Pablo really does focus on just this game I think we can get a result.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sarvas Out 4-6 Weeks

Marcelo Sarvas had his knee scoped today and will miss 4-6 weeks.  For a team that can't score losing its one significant established MLS offseason offensive upgrade is a big blow.  Presumably we'll see Cronin and LaBrocca filling the hole this creates.  In a perfect world (like one where we had an actual striker on the roster before July 1) we could drop Powers back, put Torres underneath the missing striker, and move forward but that's not really an option with our lineup.

If we're lucky we could see him back in time to help with our 3 Cascaida games in a wekk the last week of May.  More likely we're hoping he's available for the first RMC match on June 7th.  That's 8 games from now.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rapids Tie Another League Record

That record being consecutive home games without a win (10).  A somewhat lethargic first half gave way to an energized second half, helped on by a Dallas red card, but the Rapids could only take partial advantage in getting a 1-1 draw.  That puts us at 7 points in 7 games with a tough two-coasts-in-3-days road trip coming up this week.

General impressions:
  • First of all, thinking good thoughts for assistant coach Steve Cooke, who was stretchered off from the sideline in pre-game after collapsing.  Reports are he's going to be fine so that's good.
  • The Rapids need a finisher.  After this game they were second in the league in shots and shots on goal (with a game in hand on the 1st and 3rd placed teams), yet in a 5 way tie for 12th in goals.  We're creating opportunities, sometimes great opportunities, yet we have nobody who can put the ball in the net.
  • I'm not sure what happened on the red (the replay doesn't show much) but it made a huge difference in the game.  Colorado was essentially on a permanent power play after that, barely allowing Dallas to have any possession in the Rapids' half.
  • If that hadn't been a red, the Acosta tackle a minute later right in front of 108 probably would have been red instead of yellow.
  • It was good to see the team push so hard until the end of the game.  They were energized and focused, but just couldn't get more than 1 goal.
  • Torres looked good in the first half but faded in the second.
  • Our defense got turned all the way around by Castillo on the Dallas goal.  You would hope somebody could have stopped him but that was some really nice ball movement and footwork.
  • Both a possible Save of the Week and Goal of the Week candidate against us, again.  This is getting old.
  • Badji had a bad game, Sanchez as his replacement didn't do much better.
  • Good to see Bork back in the lineup.  O'Neill needs to get int here somehow though.
  • I liked the speed and footwork from Ramirez.  His shooting needs work but he's young.  He's so small that he's easily shoved off the ball but he's doing a good job of making defenders commit a foul to do it.
  • Now we're on to the utterly ridiculous trip to NY and LA in 72 hours.  I don't know why we agreed to let NYRB move our game against them from a weekend in July to this week of all weeks.
Man of the Match: Nick LaBrocca.  Once or twice a season Nick pulls one of these games out of nowhere.  He had the goal and came closest to another goal with an early strike that the keeper just barely tipped into the post.  I'm glad he picked a game he was starting to play one of his typical top games of the season.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Didn't We Just Do This?

Pareja two weeks ago

Same bat time (well almost) same bat channel.  Tomorrow night the Rapids and the team-formerly-known-as-the-Burn face off on the second Friday night in two weeks on UniMas.  Colorado scored 4 of their 5 goals this season on that night two weeks ago and hopes to continue to jump start the offense.  Game time is a late start 8pm so the tailgate starts at 5.  UniMas is channel 648 on Comcast's systems here in Denver.

Injury Report:
QUESTIONABLE: D Marc Burch (rib injury); M Sam Cronin (concussion); F Dominique Badji (hamstring injury)

Disciplinary Report:
SUSPENDED: M Marcelo Sarvas (through 4/29, DisCo action)

International Absences:
U.S. U-23: D Shane O'Neill; M Dillon Serna

Well, that's not good.  That's a lot of talent missing from a lineup that can't afford it.  Dallas has 3 players missing but that's it.  My guess at the XI:

Other than LaBrocca for the suspended Sarvas that's the same lineup we saw last week.  Given our options I don't see us doing much different.

Strategic Consideration: Finish.  Creating chances isn't good enough if we can't put the ball in the net.

Prediction: 0-0 draw.  Losing Sarvas and Serna from the attack leaves us with very little to pin our hopes on for scoring.  Our defense is still as strong as it was two weeks ago but I don't see us scoring.  Expect our fourth scoreless game of the season.

Sarvas Out (Temporarily), Solignac In?

As expected the MLS Disciplinary Committee suspended Marcelo Sarvas today for two games for the stomp on Dempsey he committed last week.  Chad Marshall was suspended one game for his tackle on Sanchez.

Those seem reasonable, though i would have gone an extra game each.  Sanchez had a similar foul to Marshall's last season and got 2 games so I would have used that as the standard for Marshall and then given Sarvas a game more because what he did was worse than Marshall.

Where the DisCo completely dropped the ball was on this play.  Ramos will be suspended the standard one game for a red card and no more.  That's unbelievable.  The same league that gave Mullan 10 games lets that go with only 1?  I wish I could say I was surprised but, well, I predicted this 4 years ago.  I stand behind what I said then and this tackle is a good example of it.  Ramos is very lucky no not have seriously injured Francis, but a 1 game suspension for the red card isn't much disincentive not to do it again.  This is how players get hurt from tackles that don't belong in the game.

On to better news.  There's a report out of Argentina that forward Luis Solignac has bought himself out of his contract with Nueva Chicago to join the Rapids.  I know nothing about Solignac other than what's on his Wikipedia page but we need forward depth and a 24 year old who scored 20 times in 40 games in Finland is nothing to sneeze at.  Yeah, its Finland, but it show he has a nose for goal.  If this report is accurate it appears to be another case of the influence of Claudio Lopez helping the Rapids.

Colorado has one open roster spot and one open international spot once Doyle joins, so we do have room for him.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day Roster Notes

Two roster notes for today.

First, Serna and O'Neill got a callup for tonight's U-23 National Team match against Mexico and both got the start (the game just kicked off).  They will be unavailable for Friday night's game against Dallas.

Secondly, due to injury and missing players the Rapids have recalled Eloundou from Charlotte.  He's already back in Denver and will be available Friday night.  No word on if he'll return to Charlotte once we're back and full strength.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Rapids Continue To Be Gang That Can't Shoot Straight

Saturday provided a sstark contract between a top team in MLS and a team that...isn't.  The main difference was shown in the ability to finish as Seattle had 3 goals in 17 shots, including two goal of the week nominees (and Martins will probably be a goal of the year candidate) while Colorado had 1 goal in 27 shots.  Both teams had the same 9 shots on target and once again the opposition will probably have a save of the week nominee.  In the end though those are all excuses, what matters is wins and we failed to get one again.

General impressions:
  • That first half was as entertaining a half we've seen at the Dick since probably the second half of the Montreal game on May 24th last year.
  • Sadly the second half was back to the play we've seen far too often since that May 24th date.
  • My strategic consideration was to keep the momentum going and not get down if things don't immediately go our way.  We did a good job of that in the first half, but I wonde what would have happened with our momentum if Powers' early shot hadn't hit the post and had been scored instead.  We would have been up 1-0 instead of almost immediately being down 0-1.
  • A disturbing trend in this game is that right after we did something really good (Powers almost goal, Torres goal) we did something bad (both of Neagle's goals).  They say the 5 minutes after a team scores is a critical time for them not to lose their focus.  We losst it on Saturday.
  • The Rapids bench on Saturday: MacMath, Sjoberg, Newnam, Watts, O'Neill, LaBrocca, Serna.  That's a GK, 3 CBs, a general D, a DM, and a attacking winger.  Horrible choices if we were behind, which we were.
  • Despite that Pablo still screwed the Sanchez sub up, putting in LaBrocca and giving us 3 DMs behind two central players and a winger while down a goal.  Not surprisingly our attack immediately disappeared.
  • Sanchez was a dssiapointment in this game.  I'm really starting to think that the team has moved passed the need for him to be on the field all the time.  He tries to do too much and he doesn't seem to be in sync with the rest of the team.  We needed him the last two years when our talent was so low, but with Serna, Powers, Torres, Pittinari, and Ramirez available we've taken care of that.  He needs to transition to being a super sub and let Serna get time as the starter.
  • Of course, when Serna did come in Pablo put him at left back.  Because that's where you want the reigning goal of the week winner.
  • Riley was a disaster this game.  On the first goal Burling is out wide keeping an eye on Neagle just inside midfield.  As Seattle moves the attack into the attacking third Burling starts moving into his central position presumably expecting Riley to move back to his outside back spot.  Instead Riley just stands in space and Burling moves back out to take Neagle.  Burling backs off too far and Neagle hits a great shot to the upper far corner but the whole time Riley does nothing.
  • And that was his better goal.  The second goal was a complete mess.  Neagle runs right by Riley who's looking right at him.  Burling has his back to Neagle while covering Martins but sees the problem and both Riley and Burling run afer Neagle.  Irwin saves Neagle's shot and Burling pulls up but Riley charges straight into Irwin and in the process kicks the saved shot behind Irwin, where Neagle follows up his own shot and taps it in.
  • The third goal was mainly just a jaw-dropping touch from Martins.  Moor is right behind him and Burling is crossing in front of him but Martins one-tocuhes it between them while spinning 360.  After the touch Burling is going the opposite direction fromm the ball and Moor can't ctach up.  Tip of the hat to Oba on that one.
  • On the positive side Torres now has 2 goals and an assist in the last two games.  He did a good job in this one one-timing it through a narrow seam for the goal.
  • At this point the only players I feel confident in in front of goal are Torres and Powers, and that's just not enough for this team.  Ramirez, Sarvas, and Sanchez all had chances and couldn't hit the net.
  • Clint Dempsey needs to STFU.  Agreed he has a right to complain about Sarvas (see below) but his whining started before that even happened and continued until he was subbed out (while reportedly taunting the crowd).  And he played lousy.  Makes it harder to root for him as a Nat when you see a performance like his on Saturday.
  • The MLS Disciplinary Committee is going to have some work to do out of this one.  Chad Marshall's tackle on Sanchez early in the game was a clear red (here's where Dempsey started whining about he gift yellow) and should at least get a game.  Based on Sanchez' suspension on a very similar tackle in last year's 4th of July game it should really be the same two games Sanchez got.
  • Then you have this.  No excuse for Sarvas on this one.  While you could make the case that it wasn't intentional I find that a hard sell.  I expect a multi-game suspension.  And Dempsey has every right to complain about the bad call on that (Dempsey was called for the foul).
  • Interesting note, Torres' goal was the first time all season the home team scored in a Rapids match.
Man of the Match: Clint Irwin.  Odd to see the GK get it when he let in 3 but he couldn't do anything on Neagle's first andhe saved Neagle's second only for his defense to fail him.  He might have been able to do more on Martins shot but he saved so many others I'm not going to ding him for that, especially since we lost by more than a goal.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Current Town Versus Home Town

Can we do this again?

Tomorrow night we're back home for our first "regular" 7pm Saturday game.  The Sounders are in town for the annual (almost) 4/20 game.  The means fish tacos at the tailgate!  With kickoff at 7 the tailgate starts at 4.  Bundle up as we're going to have temps possibly in the 30s.  Those  of you that can't make it can watch Fleming and 'Celo on Altitude.

Injury Report:
OUT: M Carlos Alvarez (ankle); M Sam Cronin (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: D Marc Burch (rib injury); D Axel Sjoberg (foot)

Seattle has two players questionable, including Dempsey.  That's a huge question mark going into the game.  The Rapids have the same missing players as last week, though Drew was doubtful last week and played so maybe Burch or Sjoberg are available?  My guess at the XI:

If it ain't broke....  I expect Pablo to go with the same starting group as last week since it worked so well.  But this is Pablo so who knows.

Strategic Consideration: Keep the momentum going.  We need to build on last week's success and not get our heads down is things don't happen right away.

Prediction: 1-0 win.  Goal by Torres.  This assumes Dempsey doesn't play as I think our defense is good enough to stop one of Martins and Dempsey.  Meanwhile Seattle's defense is soft and I think we can find a goal.  If Dempsey plays 1-1 is more likely.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spurs Announced As ASG Opponent

This morning MLS announced that Tottenham Hotspur will be the opponent for the MLS All-Stars at the Dick on July 29th.  A bit of a step down from last year's Bayern Munich but then most choices would be.  Ticket details were also released today.  Rapids season ticket holders will get a code tomorrow morning to buy tickets, they'll go on sale to the general public next week:

MLS All-Star Game (July 29th)
Midfield: $120
Sidelines: $70
Corners: $60
South Endline: $40

MLS Homegrown Game (July 28th)
General Admission: $10

You'll also have to pay for parking at the ASG but not the Homegrown Game.

I have no real interest in Spurs and at those prices I think I'll pass.  I am going to try to go to the Homegrown Game the night before.  There will still be festivities at DSG but $10 compared to $40+parking at minimum is more palatable.  Plus there will probably be more Rapids playing time in the Homegrown Game (O'Neill, Serna) than the ASG (Irwin?), though I will miss the Conquistador coaching the main event.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Rapids Burn Dallas For Four Goals

Well that was fun.  The offense finally started to start the season and did so in a big way with four goals while the defense put up another shutout.  Torres finally got on the board with a goal and an assist while Ramirez chipped in with his first MLS assist.  For the icing on the cake Serna bombed in a goal of the week for our first win over Pareja.

General impressions:
  • Final ugly stat update, then we can put that whole horrible run behind us:
    • 602 minutes without a goal (team record, second worst in league history)
    • 18 games without a win (team record, ties league record)
    • 362 minutes without a goal to start the season (team record, second worst in league history)
    • 2 points in last 14 games of 2014 (team record, league record for worst single-season run of form)
    • 6-0 loss to LA (team record worst loss, tied for 3rd in league history)
  • DRRRREEEEWWWWW!!!!!!   Great to see the captain back.  In a game we didn't think he'd even be available on the bench he starts and goes 90, and plays well.
  • The yellow kits look better in use than they did in the publicity photos.  Still not my favorite but not bad.  Zlatan would look at home in them. ;)
  • Badji, Powers, Torres, Serna, Sarvas, and Ramirez all got goals or assists in this one.  Really the only one left out was Sanchez, who only got in for second half stoppage time.  Nice distribution.
  • A nice problem to have all of a sudden is too many options at CB.  I think Moor and O'Neill should be the starters but Sjoberg is pushing for time once healthy.  Burling is a little too physical for my tastes but could also be a starter.
  • We've only started the same back 4 twice (Houston & NE) and we still have 4 shutouts in 5 games.  Some of that is the good play of Irwin but some of it is just real consistent defense regardless of who's back there.
  • The team could have easily taken their foot off the gas after 2 or 3 goals.  Good to see them still pushing all the way to the end.
  • Lopez looks like a natural on the sideline.  I wouldn't be shocked to see him become a head coach in a couple of years.  Did he remind anyone of the Argentine Mark Harmon though?
  • The Rapids now have the second best goal differential in the league.
Man of the Match: Dillon Powers.  Great pass to set up the first goal, great shot to score the second.  Great work all night.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Our 260 Day Nightmare Is Over!!!!!

More later but the streaks are over!!!!  Rapids win 4-0!!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rapids Try To Avoid 19 In A Row In Dallas

Pablo in better times

The Rapids get introduced to the league's new Friday night UniMas schedule with a game down in Frisco against our defeated MLS Cup foes FC Dallas.  Colorado is still riding an 18 game winless and 600 minute scoreless streak.  If they fail to score in the first 25 minutes tomorrow they'll set a new record for longest scoreless streak to start a season at 385 minutes.  Kickoff in Frisco is at 5pm tomorrow.  UniMas is channel 648 on Comcast digital.  Its also on Univision Deportes (705).

Injury Report:
OUT: M Carlos Alvarez (ankle); M Sam Cronin (concussion)
DOUBTFUL: D Marc Burch (rib injury); D Drew Moor (ACL); D Axel Sjoberg (foot)

Discipline Report:
SUSPENDED: Coach Pablo Mastroeni (ejection 4/4)

I'm assuming Pablo will be suspended, that's usually what happens to a coach that was ejected.  Dallas has 4 players out injured including former Rapids Stephen Keel.  My guess at our XI:

I would prefer Torres up top with powers behind him and Sanchez on the right but my bet is that we see Badji again.  Riley seems the obvious choice for right back with Burch out.  Everyone else are no-brainers, but that doesn't mean Pablo won't make a change.

Strategic Consideration: Put good shots on target.  Enough wasting great chances with lousy shots.

Prediction: 1-0 loss.  Sadly I see our scoreless streak continuing and with it our winless streak.  Prove me wrong Rapids, prove me wrong.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

News Catch-Up

Catching up on some odds and ends over the last week or so.

  • First and most important, today Glenn 'Mooch' Myernick was posthumously elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.  Mooch was the Rapids coach between 1997 and 2001, leading the team to two of the three finals in their history (1997 MLS Cup, 1999 U,S. Open Cup), losing both.  I never had a chance to meet him but from other Rapids fans that did I've only ever heard great things about him both as a coach and a person.  A well-deserved reward for somebody who was involved with U.S. Soccer and every level both as a player and a coach.  There was some talk a few years ago of the Rapids honoring Mooch with some sort of permanent display in the stadium (Gallery of Honor, statue, something), maybe they'll figure out something to do after his induction now.
  • Marlon Hairston joins Berner, Calvert, and Eloundou in Charlotte for the season.  This seemed likely after he got healthy since the Rapids are heavy in defenders and he's the most natural young guy to go get minutes in the USL.
  • Colorado Rapids linked with move for Carlos Puyol but deny any interest.  My response?
  • Luton Shelton is training with the Rapids while he evaluates his options (including an offer from Colorado).  Unlike Puyol this would be a good move fro us.  Shelton is Jamaica's all-time leading goal-scorer, can hold up the ball a bit as well as play to his speed, and is only 29 years old.  He would be a good stop-gap signing until Doyle arrives and the Rapids have an open international roster spot.  The only question is what happens have Doyle gets here and what his salary demands would be.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Revs Run Over Rapids

The Rapids made some chances but were out-muscled by New England, ending in a 2-0 loss.  It was more of the same in the attack, great opportunities, no finishing combined with a couple of defensive miscues that led to Revs goals.  This was Colorado's best chance at a win in April and they didn't take it.

General impressions:
  • Ugly stat update:
    • 600 minutes without a goal (team record)
    • 18 games without a win (ties league record)
    • 360 minutes without a goal to start the season (24 short of the league record)
  • There's not much you can say about the team that hasn't been said.  This team has no punch and no ability to score.  You can only expect the defense to hold for so long.
  • That said this wasn't the best performance from the defense.  The first goal started when March Burch was muscled off the ball on the sideline by Kelyn Rowe.  Burch has 3 inches and 30 pounds on Rowe.
  • The PK was a mistake by Watts (again) but he had to cover after Burling was out-muscled by Charlie Davies, who normally goes down in a stiff breeze (as we saw when Watts tugged him seconds later).  Burling has 7 inches and 25 pounds on Davies.
  • I realize a small guy can out leverage a big guy, but if we're going to play with a big back line (which seems to be the MO based on our off-season acquisitions) we have to expect not to be out-muscled to balls.  Poor showing by Burling and Burch.
  • Tip of the cap though to Rowe and Agudelo on that fist goal.  A great cross from Rowe perfectly touched by Agudelo.  Nothing Irwin could do.
  • Of course the big talking point from the game is the PK/not-PK on Ramirez.  In the end I think the refs got the right call for the wrong reason.  The sequence started with a handball by Badji.  Bazakos waved play on but to me its a call that's normally made.  That was followed by Ramirez being taken down in the box (clear PK) and Torres gathering the lose ball after the foul from an offside position.  Torres was offside but it doesn't matter as the PK occurred before the offside violation.  Bazakos correctly called the PK but then waved it off when he saw the offside flag up.  Incorrect call but it should have never gotten to that point as the handball should have been called IMO.
  • Even if you disagree on the handball though, the ref didn't cost us the game.  The PK New England got was weak, the PK we didn't get was weak, but New England scored a gorgeous goal and we didn't.  That was the difference.
  • On to Dallas where a lack of a goal in the first 24 minutes will set one MLS record (longest scoreless streak to start a season), a lack of a goal in the full 90 will set another (Officially the longest winless streak in league history)
Man of the Match: Clint Irwin.  Could do nothing on either goal.  The first is a Goal of the Week nominee and the second was a PK.  But mainly for this post-game tweet:
Losing gets old for fans and players. Thank you to those that made it out today. We need to do more to repay you.
I wish we had seen more of that attitude out of Pablo during this streak.  Irwin gets it.

On a personal note I wasn't at this game due to the passing of my mother-in-law.  She had been fighting lymphoma for a year and had been really sick for a while (thus the sporadic posting of the last month) so it was her time but she will be missed.  Thank you for everything Kathy and rest peacefully now.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Jameson Night 2015

Behold the power of Jameson Night!

It only happens every two years now but it is once again Jameson Night!  That means, of course, new England is in town for their regular beat down in Commerce City.  The full history of Jameson Night is here but the up to date states are the Rapids have won 8 and drawn 4 since the start of the Jameson Night tradition with 27 goals scored and 10 allowed in those 12 games.  The last time New England won in Colorado was in 2002 which was also the last time Jameson Night was not held before a New England game.

Injury Report:
OUT: D Axel Sjoberg (foot); M Carlos Alvarez (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE:  D Drew Moor (ACL); M Dillon Serna (back spasms)

Bad to see Sjoberg out again but good to see Moor upgraded to Questionable, though there's no chance he'll play.  The Revs have 3 players questionable including Jermaine Jones.  My guess at our XI:

There's some talk in the Post that Pablo may go with Sanchez and Torres out wide with Badji up front and Powers and Ramirez on the bench but I can't take that seriously.  Surely Pablo's learned better by now hasn't he?  

Strategic Consideration: Score a goal, preferably before the 53rd minute so we don't set a new team scoreless streak record.

Prediction: 1-0 win, goal by Sarvas.  I called it in preseason and I still believe that this is the game where we break the winless streak.  Our defense gets to 300 minutes without conceding but we get the goal and the win, behind the power of Jameson.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Its Like Deja Vu All Over Again

Didn't we see this game already?  This was probably a more even game than the NYCFC game but the result was the same, a 0-0 draw.  Its amazing the Rapids haven't scored yet as whenever they seem to have broken down the opposing defense the goalkeeper pulls out an amazing save.  Tyler Deric has to win Save of the Week for his stop of Sarvas in the 31st minute.  Overall Houston outshot us 11 to 6, but Colorado put 3 shots on goal to Houston's 2.

General impressions:
  • Let's get the ugly stats out of the way:
    • 510 minutes without a goal
    • 17 games without a win
    • First team in league history to start a season with three 0-0 games
  • On the plus side the Rapids have gone 290 minutes without allowing a goal
  • If Colorado doesn't score before the 53rd minute against New England on Saturday it will be the longest scoreless streak in team history
  • You have to like the consistency of our defense.  3 different back lines, with Harrington as the only constant, 3 shutouts
  • One wonders though if the focus on defense is costing us offensive changes.  I'm all for heavy defending but we have to score to win
  • Ramirez looked much better than last week.  As he spends more time with the team I expect him to become a key component of our attack (when we find one)
  • I'm not sure I like both Cronin and Pittinari playing together, but they do make for a tough midfield to get through
  • Powers is out of position on the right, but its hard to say he should be more central with the way Torres and Sarvas are playing in those positions
  • Irwin's a stud, simple as that
  • Bonus points to whomever gets my reference in the first picture
Man of the Match: Marcelo Sarvas.  Had the best chance of the night and looked good running the offense from the attacking mid hole.  Certainly the "difference maker" we were hoping he was when we acquired him.