Big Tall Bald Guy! Yes, indeed, Conor Casey came up with the goods, notching a hat-trick to take the Colorado Rapids to a 3-2 victory against LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center. In truth, they weren't the hardest goals the big fella will ever score but he took all the chances perfectly, including the opening goal 17 seconds into the game, and the Rapids came away with a vital win at a place that has so often been a major disappointment to them. The first two goals were very similar as Omar Cummings exploited the acres of room presented to him to use his pace and cross perfectly for an unmarked Casey to slide the ball home. The winning goal, just a few minutes from the end of the game, saw Colin Clark rob the ball on the counter attack and put a perfect pass behind the defense. Casey had more to do this time but kept his composure to round the keeper and slot home.
The Rapids really had few genuine chances on the night but, the few they did, they managed to score. The team worked very hard and maybe their relative youth compared with the ageing Galaxy and their extra fitness ground out the deserved victory. Nobody worked harder than Casey. I really felt it was time for him to be subbed before that winning goal and let Gregory Richardson's pace torment the tiring center backs for the remaining minutes (turns out Richardson was not actually on the bench this time). It would be nice to see Cummings and Richardson interact at some point this season but, for now, we all pray that Casey and Omar don't get badly injured. They complement each other very well with the their respective strengths and they have now managed five goals between them in the opening three games as well as Omar's two assists yesterday.
Talking of subs and watching the game at the British Bulldog, there was no doubt who the Class VI fans wanted to come on after his blistering performance last week against the Wizards. Terry Cooke duly came on at what seems to be his normal time with about 25 minutes to go, replacing a tired Pablo Mastroeni after the captain's exploits for the US during the week. Cooke wasn't able to repeat last week's virtuosity but the fans were happy to see him as witnessed by the chants in the pub. Jacob Peterson and Ty Harden also got some gametime towards the end. Expect increasing time for Harden in central defense as he works his way back into fitness after such a long break from the game.
I can't honestly put my hand on my heart and say this was a great performance. We didn't create that many chances and we let LA into the game on at least one defensive mistake. Maybe we didn't control the midfield as much as we should have done. However, you cannot fault the effort of the team and the skill of Casey to finish so well. The Rapids now stay in LA for Tuesday's Open Cup game. I'm sure the likes of Casey, Cummings and Mastroeni will be on the flight back to Colorado today but the bulk of the squad will remain in LA awaiting some reinforcements from those players who didn't travel for yesterday's game.