Monday, August 25, 2008

Have We Lost The War?

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.


Jeannine said...

Nick, isn't Dalby considered a d-mid type? Assuming that's the case, I thought it weird that Smith brought in Dalby for Ballouchy when we were down a goal. Is Gomez hurt or in the doghouse?

johncos said...

Any news on Ballouchy's or Pablo's injury? Nick, if you get the chance will you please inquire about why Peterson started and then was replaced at the half and why Christian Gomez is getting so little playing time.
I guess I don't get the paradigm about not changing the lineup after a win....that hasn't worked once all year! Just play the BEST 11!

Nick Thomas said...

Great comments, thanks. I think Ballouchy may have been substituted because of injury. I know Peterson was injured from the previous week so maybe he ws feeling the effects of that. Gomez is clearly struggling for form. I would suspect he may get a chance this weekend. Tune in to From The Pitch tomorrow as Gary Smith is expected to be a guest. I'll try and get your questions answered by the end of this week.

Scott said...

This was certainly a tough one for the boys. I really hope this isn't the end of the war though. As frustrating as a bad season is I think you still have to pull together and make a push with everything that you have. I would like to see the players respond better in the next game. And as far as I know, I think the Rapids need to change their formation for every game. It seems that first game in a new formation is always good but the second game is not. How much of what Mr. Smith is doing is carrying over from FC and how much of it is doing what he thinks is best? The sub situation sounds like a nightmare.

BMer916 said...

i though the lineup was a disaster from the start. Starting Peterson over Clark was wrong, and wasted a sub later by having to bring Clark in. Pablo was probably a little tired from USMNT duty so you might have gone with just him or Labrocca and added CGomez to the mix, that would have saved another sub. now bringing in Dalby just makes no sense to me, especially wiht us losing, and having Labrocca and Pablo, and 4 in the back already in the game.

wasted spots, we needed offense and we left Omar, McManus, and Herc on the bench, and didn't even bring in Clark until halfway through. i hope Gary Smith learned something here.

Nick Thomas said...

Kind of with you Bmer. Jeannine agrees with you on the Dalby front. If you were listening to From The Pitch last night, Smith said that both halftime substitutions were for injury reasons. Can't do a lot about injuries but I think, maybe in hindsight, that the Peterson one could have been foreseen as he did limp out the previous week against Kansas. That's a call by the coach who obviously thought he was fit to go. Smith said last night that he prefers a 4-4-2 overall so I would expect to see one of McManus, Cummings or Herc to start with Casey on Friday. You may also see Christian Gomez as Ballouchy did get a concussion. Thanks for the comments as always.