Monday, April 20, 2009
Penalty Miss Condemns Rapids
Conor Casey had the chance yesterday to make it three weeks in a row where his personal contribution would change the game for the Colorado Rapids in the last ten minutes of a match. He won it for the Rapids in LA, equalized against Columbus and, after a brilliant run that outfoxed several Dynamo defenders, won a penalty against Houston in the heat of Texas. As we now know, his penalty was saved brilliantly by Houston's veteran goalkeeper, Pat Onstad, who then proceeded to even more brilliantly save a rebound header from Terry Cooke which looked certain to go in. Cooke then wasted a golden opportunity at the death to make it 1-1 and the Rapids had lost after a valiant second half effort. Make no mistake about it. The Rapids are extremely disappointed at failing to pick up anything from the game yesterday. I spoke to a couple of players today and they know they lived with the MLS champions of 2006 and 2007. Granted, the first 20 minutes or so was pretty constant offense from Houston, offense which led to the only goal of the game from Brian Ching who got in front of Scott Palguta to head over Preston Burpo. But the Rapids fought back well in the second half only to miss out on the penalty chance and Cooke's opportunity at the end of 90 minutes. It wasn't pretty stuff for most of the game. The midfield was largely bypassed, for example. But it would not have been unfair for the Rapids to have come home with a point. Instead, they have to put the loss behind them and focus on the next two home games, a welcome respite after a difficult road trip. Gary Smith, head coach, had said previously that he wanted to be in a good enough position to come out of the pack after these tough opening games, and he is. Two good performances at home over the next two weeks and the Rapids will be right up there.