Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cynicism is OK But You Can't Win Without Goals

The relatively inexperienced midfield for the Colorado Rapids may have to inject a little more cynicism into its play to avoid making the kinds of mistakes that saw the team allow a similarly inexperienced Columbus player last week waltz through it and score the winning goal. Goalkeeper, Bouna Coundoul, said in this week's radio show, "From The Pitch", that Emmanuel Ekpo should have been fouled further up the field. After all, a yellow card is a lot easier to stomach than a goal. It looks as if he had been listening to coach, Fernando Clavijo, who said he had played that moment over in his head all week and, no doubt, had not let his players forget about it either. "We were punished again for our mistakes, both defensively and in attack," said Clavijo at training today. As has been the case in the past weeks, it is our finishing that continues to let the team down and we are being punished for that as well as our defensive errors. I understand the need for a little more cynicism, maybe, but that does not escape the fact that we need to score more goals.
Maybe some of the punishment is being meted out by some tinkering with the line-up for tomorrow's game against New York Red Bulls. You can expect Mehdi Ballouchy to start ("very positive with lots of energy this week," Clavijo noted), maybe in place of John DiRaimondo. Jordan Harvey may drop to the bench with a back three of Ihemelu, Erpen and Mastroeni. Christian Gomez looks to be back to full fitness so we should see an attacking formation tomorrow which includes Terry Cooke and Colin Clark on the wings/side of midfield. Conor Casey and Tom McManus will get the nod up front.
A quick word on poor old Justin Hughes. The goalkeeper had patiently battled back from a hernia injury and was finally given the all-clear this week to train at full pelt. On Tuesday, he managed to dislocate his shoulder. He will have an MRI next week but will surely be out for a few weeks at least. He is accepting his fate very philosophically but this is another tough break for the promising goalie. We wish him all the best for a speedy return. Mike Petke, another long-term absentee, looks to be very close to full fitness and trained hard today. Clavijo has said Petke could be back for consideration next week against San Jose.

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