Sunday, September 28, 2008

New York Score Four and We Still Win?

Everyone got their breath back? The final whistle blew almost 24 hours ago and I can't seem to shake this game out of my mind. The image of Mehdi Ballouchy's fantastic cross onto Conor Casey's outstretched boot in the final minutes of the game remains largely fixed. It was not that the defenses were so poor on both sides. It just seemed that, after a crazy opening ten minutes when three goals were scored, both teams threw caution to the wind and devoted themselves to playing carefree attacking soccer. Even when the Rapids had to pick themselves up off the floor when conceding the equalizer in the 75th minute to make it 4-4, the boys in Burgundy refused to tighten up and continued to go all out for victory. The Red Bulls, God bless them, did the same and it made for a fantastically exciting game culminating in Casey's poke into the corner in injury time.
Honorary mention must of course go to Casey for his fine, aggressive hat-trick but praise also to his partner up front, Omar Cummings, who not only pounced in the second minute to score the opening goal and set the tone for the match but also probably played his best game in a Rapids' shirt. I hope former England star, John Barnes, was watching Cummings in his new role as Jamaican national team coach. In midfield, Nick LaBrocca and Pablo Mastroeni were everywhere. LaBrocca also caused the penalty which Casey converted to equalize at 3-3 and almost scored twice in a minute in the second half. Mastroeni performed his usual heroics defensively and was unfortunate to give the penalty away. The defense, as you might expect with four goals, was maybe not at its best, but two of the goals came from a penalty and a poor backpass. Preston Burpo, and rarely can this be said for a goalkeeper who conceded four, was absolutely heroic in goal, especially in the second half when he came out time and again to pick up the final ball behind or over the defense. This was truly a performance of great heart. Well done boys! With Chivas and Salt Lake both winning, the Western Conference remains as tight as ever with just four games to go. The Rapids return home next week to play conference leaders, Houston, October 4. Kick-off at DSG Park is 7.30pm.


Doc said...

The game was fantastic! Also, LaBrocca was a beast on the right and his impact was obviously felt when he came off late in the 2nd. He is still my MVP for this year.

Casey had a great game, but I think the man of the match goes to Mehdi(as much as I hate to say it). He created numerous chances, as well as hitting the corner to Petke and the absolutly beautiful cross to Casey to win the game. He still made alot of bonehead mistakes and bad sloppy passes.

I can't say enough about Burpo who played amazing in goal. Obviously we dont know what the outcome would have benn if Bouna was in goal. His confidence rose as the game went on, thats after giving up 4 goals!

Gibbs and Harvey were our only real bad players on the field. Both were beaten and looked like highschool players out there.

Sorry I just have so much to sa about this game. As of now I hope that Gary stays as head coach for next season.

David said...

What a game!
The best Rapids game I've seen, my vote as the most entertaining of the season.
The three points are absolutely life saving as the western conference remains as close as it could get.
I am so proud to see what the team has accomplished, of course the credit goes to Gary who is refining such a great team.
I share the same opinion that as a team they played fantastic, great performance by all of them EXCEPT Gibbs and Harvey.
They really played like in high school, I hope they improve their performance as this would not help at all against Dynamo.
This week is tough for all of the teams and I hope to see another game like that vs. Dynamo.

BMer916 said...

that was quite a game, i think the 4-4-2 was plays to our strength, Casey needs help up top because he's more of a target and not really quick enough to beat people. NY playing a 3-5-2 also helped out a bit.

I don't understand the subbing though, we're on the road in NY, playing a fast-paced game and we only used 1 sub (Peterson came on in like the 91st...) and that was for Labrocca who was awesome. I thought Mehdi ran out of gas and could have been replaced, as well as a defender; Gibbs, Kimura and Harvey were all pretty bad.

I can't complain since we got a win, but those last 10 minutes sure were crazy, some fresh legs would have helped, i wasn't impressed with Dalby at all.

Labrocca for MVP!!

Nick Thomas said...

Thanks for all your comments guys. Never worry about saying too much! I think you are all trying to get your breath back after watching such a cracker. It's hard to analyze when the game was just so damn exciting and a little crazy to say the least.
Bmer, I think you have it spot on that NY helped us with their formation. Gary Smith was talking about this the days before the game and he nailed it, as did you.
It's hard to think that Christian Gomez has any future with the Rapids if he can't make it on for this game. Ballouchy, despite his cross at the end, was done far earlier. I guess the Dalby substitution was to make it more defensive and shore things up a bit. I think Cooke came on for LaBrocca a bit earleir than you think, Bmer. LaBrocca was everywhere and, I agree, a candidate for MVP though it's hard to argue with someone who notches a hat-trick. Peterson was just a classic timewasting trick to break up rhythm. He still managed to get a yellow card in the nanoseconds he was on the field. Bring on Houston!

johncos said...

What fun! It was a roller coaster, but I never felt like we were out of it. There were a couple of time this summer that when we were down a goal it felt like we might as well have been down 3. I sure am not missing FC! Omar had the game of his life and as always Pablo is the heart and soul of this team! No disrespect to LaBrocca... he has been a great surprise for us this year. It has also been wonderful watching Ballouchy grow up. He seems to improve every game, but in my opinion, Pablo is hands-down our MVP of the season!

Scott said...

I am still trying to grapple with the fact that a month ago I had just about given up on the Rapids season and now I see them making a run at the top spot in the West (a win on saturday would sure help that cause). Read the article today on about C. Gomez and think the long and the short of it are simple and true. It has certainly been a great season for all the young guys on the team and I hope the Rapids can continue that trend long into the future. It will make the potential absence of Pablo easier to take next season.