Monday, July 28, 2008

Bye Bye Bruno; Rapids Screwed by The Crew

He didn't come, he didn't see and he certainly didn't conquer. The Colorado Rapids today traded college midfielder, Bruno Guarda, to FC Dallas. In return, they received multiple draft picks and an undisclosed allocation. The Rapids picked up Guarda in the MLS lottery last week and the much vaunted SMU star immediately became the subject of many approaches from other teams. It was difficult to see how the Rapids could have fit him in so he instead will be reunited in Dallas with his old SMU coach, Schellas Hyndman.
How the Rapids could have done yesterday with some of the creativity Fernando Clavijo described Guarda as having when he signed him last week. Despite relentless atttacks, especially in the second half when Columbus escaped once upfield to score the game-winning goal, the Rapids could not break down a stubborn defense which included an outstanding display from Columbus goalkeeper, Will Hesmer.
The problem as I see it was more on the defensive side. We know the Rapids usually lose when they concede first. So they did yesterday and it was a poor goal. There was fatal indecision by Facundo Erpen and Bouna Coundoul which allowed Columbus striker, Steven Lenhart, to get enough room behind the defense and net the opening goal in the 21st minute. It wasn't the only time last night that there was a lot of indecision or poor decision making by the defense. Both Erpen and Ugo Ihemelu had poor nights yesterday. If it hadn't been for a dominant performance from Pablo Mastroeni at the heart of the defense, it could have been worse.
So, the Rapids were chasing a game again and they started to play some good soccer for the rest of the first half. They were further encouraged by the sending off of the goalscorer, Lenhart, who was rather harshly judged to have elbowed Erpen in the face.
There was so much pressure in the second half but it all came to naught. The Rapids were incapable of splitting the defense as Columbus had done to us on more than one occasion in the first half. There was wave upon wave of attacks. Colin Clark frightened the life out of All-Star Frankie Hejduk down the left. There was a shot against the bar from Terry Cooke. Even defender Erpen shot twice, showing how much pressure there was. But it proved impossible to split open a nine-man defense. Columbus played very smart soccer. They had two, maybe three chances all night and scored twice. They packed their defense in the second half hoping for a break away to secure the win and it worked. The Rapids, in contrast, ran around like headless chickens, full of sound and fury, and made bad defensive decisions which cost us the game. Very disappointing. The Rapids now face Everton in a friendly this weekend before two further games at home in the league against Toronto and Kansas City. Those games need to be won.

4 comments:

johncos said...

Nick
That game last night was one of the most frustrating sporting events I have ever whitened! It was the perfect storm in many respects. A great game by Hesmer, Bad defense, bad finishing, bad calls from the ref and a fair dose of bad luck. I think this game against Everton may really important to give us time to recover and re-group. I can see a loss like that being the turning point in the season and start a dreadful downward spiral... I sure hope veteran leadership of Pablo, Cooke and Christian can help the younger players get this game behind them! I know I am having a hard time.

Nick Thomas said...

John, good to hear from you again. I just hope that enough people show up at the Everton game and that Colorado can show off the MLS to the Premier league. I have my doubts as ticket sales don't seem to be going all that well and most people have no idea that a major team is coming here. Good to have you back!

Joey said...

While I wasn't able to "whiten" the game (as Johncos evidently did), I have to say I was expecting a letdown of that sort. Facundo Erpen making a huge defensive mistake? Wow, no way, that's a shocker. He has had a few solid games, but mistakes of that sort are exactly the reason that DC United was happy to see him go.

What was the deal with Pablo testing the waters to go to Europe? That looks like a laugher now given that he had zero interest. Was that his idea, or his agent's?

I'm looking forward to the Everton match, but I'm not expecting a good crowd given the apparent ineptitude of the monkeys working in the Rapids/DSG marketing department.

Nick Thomas said...

Joey, there may be a sound argument to give Petke and/or Kimura a go. I think the partnership of Ugo and Erpen is not working right now. Everyone says how unlucky we were given all the shots etc. but we were poor defensively. As for Pablo, I will try again and interview him this week. He is a difficult man to pin down and not overly media friendly. I understand that he got rid of his agent so I'm not sure how he can market himself to foreign clubs other than play well against the likes of West Ham and Everton.
Agree totally with your thoughts on the Everton game and the ineptitude of the organization in marketing this thing.