Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tale of Two Halves

Rapids v Chivas (Courtesy of MLSsoccer.com)
Facing Chivas USA, Colorado starts in the new 4-3-3…blah, blah, blah…….Rivero back in the lineup…yeah, uh huh…Pierce and Angel  are two players the Rapids will need to watch… mm hmm. Colorado had quality possession that led to opportunities.. great. Omar Cumming was active and created chances, but unable to crack the defense. Good sign for the Rapids…..get on with it!…Alright already, the half ends 0-0.

To start the second half, Coach Pareja replaced right back Kosuke Kimura with Hunter Freeman, a January signing. This was his first action with the first team.

Within the first 5 minutes, Colorado had the buildup of play which led to a shot from Jamie Castrillion that Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy was able to push wide, but Brian Mullan was there and able to earn a corner. Martin Rivero played the long corner which Tony Cascio was able to chest down and bend it in low to the far corner.

A few minutes later, Colorado’s defense was a little sloppy with the marking of Laurent Courtois and Juan Pablo Angel whose shot was deflected wide by Freeman. The ensuing corner found Courtois alone in the six yard box. Fortunately he was unable to get anything behind his header which bounced off the ground and then off the underside of the crossbar. Pickens punched it away, but only as far as Heath Pearce who played a great ball through the six yard box which three Chivas players missed. The Goats had two golden chances to equalize, but missed both.

Seconds later the Rapids let Angel get free between the defenders. Hunter Freeman caught him in time to put off his shot and allow Pickens to make an easy save. Angel wanted the penalty kick.

60th minute, Nate Labrocca made a spectacular run out of the midfield and put his shot just wide. Don’t sleep on Chivas, they can score in a hurry. Colorado needs to tighten up.

62nd Cascio took a shot from the corner of the eighteen that forced Kennedy to push it wide. The rookie has looked good and displayed tremendous confidence in the past couple games whether starting or coming off the bench.

The Rapids were playing good, smart and effective football. Passing and moving, bringing it out and resetting when there wasn’t a way between the defense.  The runs that the “forwards” are making are the correct ones. They were not running to run, they were making effective runs and possesion wasn’t squandered. All around good play and decisions with the ball.

Colorado caught Chivas sleeping on a rapid (pun intended) counter attack initiated by a Matt Pickens goal kick. After a corner for The Goats was harmlessly headed wide in the 81st, Pickens quickly received a ball and played it out to Tony Cascio who dribbled close to midfield before passing it to Omar Cummings making the diagonal run behind the backs. Cummings played an unselfish ball with one of his first touches across to sub Kamani Hill who showed patience to wait for the sliding Heath Pearce to pass by before burying it in the back of the net. Great goal from all aspects.

A minute later Jeff Larentowicz showed some skill with a nifty nut-meg on Ante Jazic that got him in the box and forced Jazic to pull him down from behind. Larentowicz sent Kennedy the wrong way and gave the Rapids a 3-0 lead. The first of the season for last year’s leading scorer.

Finally, the moment Rapids fans have been waiting for, Conor Casey making his return to the first team. He waited patiently on the side line for the ball to go out of play for what seemed like an eternity. The Colorado fans were cheering his name and urging for the ball to be blasted into the tenth row in order to allow Casey to enter the game.

Casey was involved within seconds and his first touch was an attempt to chip Kennedy. It would have been a storybook beginning, but Kennedy climbed the ladder to grab the ball. His second touch was a toe-poke that came off a Brian Mullan shot.  It was blocked to Kamani Hill who put in his second goal of the game.

That was the last action of the game. Colorado wins 4-0. They improve their record to 4-4 and take 5th in the Western Conference.

Dicks Sporting Goods Park was somewhat barren this past Saturday due to the cold weather and I must admit I was one of the Deverites that decided to skip the game for the comfort of my couch. I regret it and I am sure most that missed do also. To make matters worse, the Rapids play the next three games on the road starting with the New England Revolution.

News and Notes: Colorado Rapids have signed Colombian midfielder Harrison Henao and Brazilian forward Edu over the past two weeks. Salary and international slots are posing roster issues. Read more at:  http://www.coloradorapids.com/news/2012/04/how-latest-additions-may-affect-roster  

Ending on a positive note……Conor Casey has officially returned from injury.  

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