Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rapids Send United Packing in Dominant Display

That's more like it. Everyone got very excited about the thrashing of the LA Galaxy on opening day but this victory over DC United was maybe as dominant and impressive. The midfield largely ran the show with DC's dangerman, Gallardo, barely featuring. I can't really remember Bouna having to make a real save because the defense marshalled things so well and the attacking play was frequently exciting to watch.
It took everyone a few minutes to work out the line-up. No starting place for Cooke, Clark or Burciaga and three strikers on the field. Well, two and half really. Jacob Peterson really played as more of an attacking right midfielder with Omar Cummings and Tom McManus up front. Finally, Christian Gomez had two strikers to play with. There were also starts for Ugo Ihemelu in central defense and a first MLS start for reserve team captain, Jordan Harvey. It was kind of a 3-4-1-2, certainly going forward anyway, with Harvey playing a little more forward than the rest of the back line and then reverting to a regular left back when defending. Full marks to coach Clavijo for trying something a little more edgy.
And it worked. The Rapids could have had a few goals in the opening ten minutes. Cummings and McManus both came close with headers and probably would have expected to score. Both full backs, Harvey and Kimura, were linking very well in attack and, just as importantly, getting back comfortably to their places when defending, something that was missing against Chicago last week. LaBrocca and Mastroeni were pretty tireless winning the ball in midfield and it was very good for the team that Pablo got 90 minutes under his belt. Despite all the chances and the dominance, it was scoreless at halftime with the deadlock only broken in the 52nd minute when Jacob Peterson walloped in a screamer from about 15 yards after a pass from Christian Gomez. I know a lot of people have been frustrated by Christian Gomez since his much-heralded arrival but he was instrumental in both goals today and played a really important role in the game. His ballwinning also led to the goal for his fellow Argentine, Facundo Erpen, who headed in a delightful chip from Terry Cooke who had come on as a substitute for Peterson barely a minute before. Cooke, himself, should have made it 3-0 a few minutes later when he pushed a shot wide after a good move from Herculez Gomez and Colin Clark. These two substitutes combined very well when they came on and created a lot of chances. Food for thought for Clavijo with the next game selection. Herculez had come on for Cummings in the 60th minute. Cummings played well and will have done his chances no harm for possible call-up to the Jamaican national squad whose coach was watching in the stands. His striking counterpart, McManus, who had impressed so much in his recent games, was not at his best today, his first touch letting him down a bit. But he ran his heart out and deserves a good run in this team. Great stuff overall. The boys are back.


BMer916 said...

first - i don't like McManus' new haircut, i had a hard time telling him from Peterson (thanks spanish channel!)

what a great game, we could have easily won 5-0, Cooke, Herc, Omar and McManus all missed great chances, but no matter!

I Think mcmanus was really frustrated, he couldn't get a call and i think it took him out of his game.

my only complaint is Christian's corner kicks. they're terrible, some are way too high, and most others land short of the goal, giving no one a chance to score. he should be at the top of the box and let someone else take ( i know cooke wasn't in, but they has to be someone else)

way to go Rapids!

johncos said...

What a great day. The weather was perfect, the supporter's club (NCC / C-Firm) sounded great in their new section and rapids dominated!

I have to admit that I was baffled by the line-up... but it worked! Christian's corners were not sharp, but he and Pablo really dominated the midfield. All and all I think Pablo and Christian were the best players on the pitch and the key to the mach!

Anonymous said...

I was rough on Christian and Facundo last week so I need to give both of them props for their performances yesterday. Christian's fast-paced spin move to feed Jacob for the goal was pretty nasty. Solid game for the Rapids, exciting to see the team come out ready to play. Good to see the crowd into it at the end with the wave (or the "Mexican wave," as the Brits like to call it). I like this McManus dude, he is all hustle.

George said...

bmer, i TOTALLY agree about mcmanus looking like peterson. i thought it was mcmanus who scored that first goal until i saw it on the replay on the big screen. peterson might have an inch or two on mcmanus, and i think mcmanus has ankle braces. otherwise, the two are hard to tell apart.
FC Rocky

Nick Thomas said...

Just ask McManus to open his mouth if you get the two confused, that should clarify things. He's a really good bloke and has a great sense of humor, and he can play a bit too. Have to thank Joey for finally helping me understand a line from Aretha Franklin's Respect about giving her her "props" when she gets home. I never really understood that line until now, not being familiar with props. Rapids, Aretha Franklin, it's all good.