Sunday, June 26, 2016

Euro and Copa Wrap-Up

Now that all the relevant Rapids teams have been eliminated from the Copa and Euros lets see how it went.

We'll start with the easy one, the Euros.  Albania was 3 and out, being the worst third placed team with one win and two losses.  Still, not bad for their first ever major tournament and their win over Romania was a major victory for them.  The whole team has been given diplomatic passports in honor of their victory (if your wondering they just get the passports, not diplomatic immunity.  Essentially they can now speed through customs and the TSA.  Not a big deal for most of the players as they play in Europe where there's a lot of free movement but I'm sure Gashi appreciates it).

Gashi only got 8 minutes in the tournament, in the opening game against the Swiss, and I'm guessing he'd kind of like to forget them.  He had a great chance 1v1 with the Swiss keeper to level the score late in the game but his shot was nothing special and the keeper made the save.  After that he watched the last two games from the bench.  Based on his twitter Gashi returned to Albania with the team for the celebrations this weekend but I'm sure he'll be heading back to Commerce City in the next couple of days.  He may fly straight to Dallas and meet up with the team there for Wednesday night's USOC match.

The Doyle-less Ireland squad finished as the 2nd best third placed team after beating Italy and drawing Sweden.  This got them into the Round of 16 where they faced France earlier today.  Despite leaving the match for over 55 minutes they were eliminated 2-1.

Now over to the Copa which was much more interesting from a Rapids POV.  After a lackluster match by the whole team (including Jones) against Colombia Jones roared back with the Yanks against Costa Rica.  After a 4-0 win JJ was named Man of the Match as the U.S. rescued their Copa chances.  Another strong match against Paraguay with a surprise win by Costa Rica put the U.S. on top of the group and in a quarterfinal against Ecuador.  Jones went the full 90 against Paraguay playing well.

The quarterfinal against Ecuador was eventful.  Shortly into the second half, with the U.S. up a goal, a double red was handed out putting both teams at 10.  JJ was the recipient of the red card and while it might have been light it wasn't unfair.  He brought his hand up and (possibly unintentionally) made contact with the face of the Ecuadorian player which is a textbook red under the new rules.  Both sides traded goal and the U.S. moved on to the semis but with 3 suspended for the match.

Missing those 3 (including Jermaine) cost them as they never looked like they were in the game against Argentina, who blew them off the field 4-0.  This sent them to the 3rd place game which was a replay against Colombia.  As it was the last game of the tournament Klinsmann gave Tim Howard a chance in the nets and he didn't disappoint.  While the Americans lost 1-0 (and improvement from the 2-0 loss to Colombia ins the group stage) but Jones and Howard played well.  An argument could be made that Jones was one of the best 3 Americans at the tournament alongside Wood and Dempsey.

Total game time:
Gashi: 8 minutes on Jne 11th plus heavy international travel
Howard: 90 minutes yesterday
Jones: 388 minutes in 5 games over 22 days which is equivalent to a busy MLS schedule but not overwhelming.

Depending on when Gashi returns he could play on Wednesday just to knock some rust off.  Jones will probably get a break to have him at full strength for the home game on the 4th of July.  Howard won't be eligible until the 4th and I'm sure he'll play.

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