Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rapids Go Into Break On A Streak

A draw that felt like a loss.  Shows up how far we've come in a short time.  For the last couple of years most draws felt like wins.  Despite that Colorado goes into the Copa break on a 9 game undefeated streak, tying a team record.  They also sit on top of the league in both total points (though they could be passed by Dallas on Wednesday but we would have 2 games in hand) and points per game (it would take any team at least 3 straight wins to catch us in that stat).

General Impressions:
  • Interesting note on that team-tying undefeated streak.  Pablo now owns the longest winless streak in team history and the longest undefeated streak (tied).  The prior coaches to hold those records were/are Fernando Clavijo.
  • The style of play on Saturday was very reminiscent of 2015.  Lots of cycling the ball around, resetting it back to the defense, etc.  Also lots of chances created with nobody taking a shot. It lends some credence to the belief that our improvement this year is due to better talent over better coaching as only 3 new 2016 players played Saturday night (MacMath, Williams, Azira).
  •  Philly's goal was only the 2nd given up by MacMath this month, which is a huge improvement in his play from March/April.  Its made him a finalist for Player of the Month.
  • Solignac's goal was correctly called offside, though Solignac was not offside.  The call was on Kevin Doyle for making a close play on the ball from an offside position (even though he didn't make contact).  Even if the AR had let that slide I believe that Doyle could ahve  been called offside on the shot as he was standing right next to the keeper and could be seen as interfering with his chance to make a save.
  • Doyle was left in Colorado to get playing time with his team before the Euro roster decision.  Sadly it wasn't enough as he wasn't on the final roster released today and never left Colorado based on his tweet of the team hike out of Boulder today.
  • Cronin's goal might have been off the captain's shoulder.
  • 3 crossbars in one match is really lousy luck.
  • A couple of players showed why they haven't been getting playing time.  Hairston did not look real sharp off the bench but after he knocked the rust off he did have some nice passes.  Powers looked bad all game.  His miss of an almost open net was criminal.  At this point you ahve to wonder if he's on the trading block in the summer window.  There's a whole lot of salary tied up in somebody who doesn't look like he's going to be worth it here.
  • The swap of Burling for Watts was odd.  I can only assume that Burling picked up a knock because otherwise its a move that doesn't make much sense.
  • Hairston made a poor decision in stoppage time when he tried the through ball to an offside Doyle.  It immediately let Philly cycle the ball back to the other end of the field where they socred.  I'm not blaming Hairston for the goal but the smart move there would have been to pull back, keep possession, and kill the clock.
  • It was Williams (and to a lesser extent Azira) who lost his mark on the Philly goal.  Ball watching is the term for what Hairston was doing.  It was a really well placed shot though.
  • The Rapids have a home USOC game two weeks from tomorrow against the winner of tomorrow night's match between AZ United and Colorado Springs.  Then they have the Fire at home on the 19th before going to LA on the 22nd.  Then another break until the 4th of July match and the welcoming of Tim Howard.
  • Because of the break there probably won't be much to talk about.  I'll have some posts on the Copa (Jones and Howard) and the Euros (Gashi) but other than that expect this blog to be quiet unless some news breaks.
Man of the Match: Axel Sjoberg.  This year Sjoberg has shut down Joao Plata, Graham Zusi (twice), and Giovinco, among others.  This week it was CJ Sapong's turn to wear Sjoberg as a second jersey and much like the rest of them he largely disappeared from the match.  Sjoberg had good flashes lat season but this year he's turned into a quality MLS starter that some national media are already considering for the All-Star Game.  Performances like Saturday's will only help.

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