Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rapids' Setback as Houston Ease to 3-1 Win

Well, maybe it's a bit broken now. Defensive lapses in the opening 20 minutes of this game put paid to the Colorado Rapids' recent unbeaten streak. Brian Ching showed his class as he scored twice in the opening seven minutes, the Rapids both times giving him far too much room. A poor clearance from goalkeeper, Preston Burpo, in the opening minutes found its way to onrushing Houston forwards and the defense could not keep up with Ching. Minutes later, from a dangerous free-kick, he had a free header which crashed against the bar and was then bundled in. In between, Conor Casey had knocked one in for the home side via another Terry Cooke cross from a corner and there were shades of last week's crazy game. Houston made it 3-1 with a beautiful shot from Ricardo Clark who had acres of space to curl one in past Burpo. And that was all in the opening 18 minutes. The game was effectively won. Houston had the luxury of missing a penalty early in the second half with a good save from Burpo. Casey was sent off for a second yellow in the 54th and Houston shut up shop. Cooke crashed one against the bar late on and then missed a penalty with the last kick of the match. Lots of frantic pushing forward by the Rapids but Houston were always in control after that crazy first 20 minutes. Very unfortunate.
The Rapids, with Chivas winning and Salt Lake drawing, now face an uphill battle in the final three games. The next two are away in Los Angeles with the Galaxy first next Sunday followed by Chivas. There may be changes in the defense following the laspes last night but, perhaps more importantly, we have major difficulties upfront. With the red card, Casey will miss the LA game as will Omar Cummings, last night's man of the match and a player in very good form. Cummings has been called up for the Jamaica national team for the next two World Cup qualifiers. That means an injured Tom McManus and probably Jacob Peterson upfront, an untried partnership. Maybe the formation will be changed and Christian Gomez may get a chance to be at his creative best and maybe save his career in an attacking midfield position just behind a lone striker? I'll keep you posted.


BMer916 said...

i must sound like a broken record, but how do you go down a man (Casey's red card) and not use all of your 3 subs earlier? using one sub to replace Petke was interesting, then Peterson. i thought the Labrocca sub was way too late, Mehdi was practically invisible for most of the night.

That two bad games in a row for the D-line with Kimura standing out with many defensive mistakes, and Gibbs looking a little shaky again. I hope we can figure this thing out in the next 2 weeks.

Casey's red was also ridiculous, he is sure is playing well right now!

cabellew said...

Just a quickie on Casey's red card. We were at the game and I have to say the crowd reaction told you all you needed to know. It was one of the worst calls you're likely to see.

Casey has been playing great and the call wasn't even close correct. Last time I checked, if someone jumps up over/on your back the whistle goes against him not you. The ref made poor calls against the Rapids all night, but he really seemed to feel guilty about that one. He gave the Rapids a couple minor calls after that ...

Houston sure is a good team, though.

The Rapids are playing like a playoff team -- I believe they can do it!

Scott said...

I was sitting almost directly in front of the call against Casey that gave him the Red card and at first I thought the call was against the other guy. It was bad. At the same time from where the ref was standing what he saw was Casey's arm go right at the neck of the Houston player. That being said, this ref was a lot better than the one at the last home game.

Houston is a good team and they out played the Rapids in the midfield. The Rapids had some horrible first touches and Houston knew how to pressure the Rapids so that their build up was effectively stopped most of the night. I was shocked at how well Houston played in the midfield after watching the Rapids handle both Chicago and New England fairly well in that part of the game.

With the schedule we have left I still think the Rapids will make the play offs though LA will be interesting with the players missing. I hope that Christian Gomez gets a chance and I bet the Rapids are wishing they hadn't traded Herc away right about now.