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.

3 comments:

Sean said...

No doubt about the loss. Rapids took it to Houston in that final 15 and Onstaad's performance was both jawdropping and disappointing. The better team won but Rapids could've come away with the point. Still plenty of season to go, I would say Coach Smith's team and their tone are solid going forward. What they still lack is that killer instinct to finish and that could be accomplished by creating earlier chances by applying more constant pressure throughout the game. It seems at times the Rapids play with more aggression when they are down a goal and are behind the 8 ball.
More incentive to destroy LA at home..

Josh said...

On a side note....in three reserve matches Richardson is directly involved in 6 goals by my count (4 scored, 2 assists). Of course they are all agaist college teams but haven't not actually seen him play live I wonder if he could be an option at AM or withdrawn forward? Once he earns his stripes of course

Nick Thomas said...

Great comments, guys, as always. I couldn't agree with you more, Sean, that we are still afraid to win. We do seem to buck up and play good soccer when we are 1-0 down rather than playing good soccer for 90 minutes. I've said it before that the Rapids do remind me of the English national team for that very reason. It's all about confidence. This may be the season they live with the other bigger teams and then go on next year to be better than them.
I just posted something on Richardson, Josh. He is very skillful and would be fun to watch off the bench. He's certainly doing all he can to warrant a chance.