A lackadaisical Rapids side did just enough to get the win last night without expending too much energy. A late goal from Serna was enough for the home team to claim best team in Colorado rights for a second straight year. Other than the goal it was a fairly quiet night out in Commerce City.
Before the match we received some updated player news:
- Castillo was recalled from and Calvert sent to Charlotte
- Azira was suspended for the match due to a ed card in his last USOC match last year with Seattle (this was the trigger to Dempsey's infamous referee abuse)
- Burch came up with an unspecified injury
- Watts collided with Powers going for a header in training. It resulted in 5 stitches in Powers' skull from Watts' teeth and some time on the injury list for Watts due to damage to his jaw
- the USOC has a limit of 5 international players dressed for a game so Kevin Doyle was the odd man out of the Rapids 6 available internationals last night
All of that combined with our known injuries and international callups left a very thin bench, only 3 players. Froschauer, Hairston, and Solignac watched from the sidelines as every other available Rapid got the start including a recovered Marco Pappa and Eric Miller.
That was the most interesting thing about the game until the late goal. The Switchbacks were happy to sit back and hope to score on a counter while the Rapids took their time moving the ball forward. While the MLS side was clearly the better team they were unable to put that advantage on the scoreboard. Finally Serna got a ball cleared out to the top of the box and hit it low. It took a deflection and gave the Rapids the lead.
The next round will be played in two weeks. Tomorrow the USSF will split the reaming 16 teams into 4 groups of 4 based on geography. The teams in each group will be drawn into two games with the winners meeting int he quarterfinals. The groups will be paired up tomorrow for the semifinals as well so we'll know the full 16 bracket the rest off the way. Based on the results here's what I expect:
West Coast: Seattle/Kitsap, Portland, LA, FSL
Lower Plains: Dallas, Houston, KC, Colorado
South: Columbus, Chicago, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale
NorthEast: Philly, NY Cosmos, NYRB, New England
If Carolina pulls off the upset against New England then Carolina would go to the South bracket and Columbus would move to the NorthEast. I wouldn't be surprised if Houston and Chicago switched positions at that point to reduce travel.
I'd prefer to pull Houston 9or Chicago) in the next round out of those 3 teams we're going to be matched up against.