So much hope about a new era but the Colorado Rapids crashed to a 3-0 defeat against DC United on Saturday. After going into the game almost like a line of combat soldiers, we lost the battle. The question is have we lost the playoff war also?
The team was in the game for the first 40 minutes or so. It was pretty even. I noticed at one point that I wasn't even aware Cory Gibbs was playing because the defense and midfield seemed to be in such control that there was no apparent danger. When Gibbs did make a couple of very good tackles towards the end of the first half, that was when the screws loosened before coming off completely later in the game. The Rapids conceded a good goal by Joe Vide right on the halftime whistle. Almost immediately afterwards, Nick LaBrocca had one of the best chances for the Rapids in the first half but the DC keeper, who looked vulnerable to me and whom we didn't test enough, saved well.
Interim coach, Gary Smith, then made a decision which, in hindsight, sort of decided the game. He took off two players, Ballouchy and Peterson, at half-time. I think one was injury-related. With substitute Greg Dalby then himself going off injured in the 58th minute, it meant all our subs were used up before the hour mark. We had no striking options up front to help Conor Casey and we never looked like we would score. With Pablo Mastroeni limping out of the game in the 80th minute, it meant we only had ten players for the last quarter of an hour or so. Any coincidence DC scored twice in the last ten minutes of the game to seal it? I think we need someone else up front to support Casey. I know we scratched the win against Kansas with him playing almost as a lone striker but there were signs there the experiment may not work consistently. And so it proved on Saturday. McManus, Cummings and Herculez Gomez will be working extra hard in training this week to persuade Smith they should be playing a role in the team for the game on Friday against Real Salt Lake.