Sunday, July 26, 2009

One Man's Woe is Another's Gain

The Colorado Rapids ended up sealing a comfortable 4-0 victory against the unfortunate New York Red Bulls last night. I'll stick my neck out and say this wasn't the best performance by the Rapids and that the final scoreline flattered them. That sounds a little negative when you think of a 4-0 result but, a couple of decisons going the other way, and the outcome could have been very different. Credit to the boys in Burgundy and Blue, though, for exploiting the lack of confidence in the New York team and making sure of the victory in the opening minutes of the second half when the second goal went in. After that, any crumbling resistance the Red Bulls may have had floated away and Nick LaBrocca and Mehdi Ballouchy put the seal on an emphatic victory.
I have to declare an interest at this point. I was covering the game for MLSnet for the Red Bulls so my focus was on them and not so much on the Rapids. I can tell you that there were a lot of dejected players in that New York locker room after the game, not least homecoming king, Bouna Coundoul, making his debut for the Red Bulls, and Juan Pablo Angel. I also have to say here that Angel is a class act both on and off the field. He is very unhappy about the situation he and his team find themselves in but he was gracious with me and a true gent. Not a bad player either. I wished them all well because I felt sorry for that team.
As I said, things could have gone diferently in that first half with chances falling to Angel, Kandji (very good player) and Rojas. But the early goal dented already fragile confidence and the disputed sending off totally changed the game. Another example, I am afraid, of how poor referring can be in this league. Did the guy even stop to think that it might only be a bookable offence? It wasn't the greatest challenge but the referee weakened under pressure from the home dugout and the Bulls were cursed again.
Let me briefly discuss a couple of things about the Rapids unless you think I may be turning into a New York fan. Pablo Mastroeni was back last night to his imperious best after a couple of disappointing games from the captain. He owned Sassano in the midfield and gave the unfortunate Ubiparipovic lots of trouble before the midfielder's sending off. Kosuke Kimura, who came on as a second half sub, was again marvelous and you have to wonder what he has to do to get a regular start. Congrats also to Pat Noonan for his first goal in Colorado uniform and compassion to Julien Baudet who looks to have sustained a broken wrist or arm and will surely be out for some time. One other observation. Terry Cooke, who has not featured in the last two Rapids games, looked a forlorn figure warming up last night. His rival, Jacob Peterson, has now won MoM for the last two games, just to rub things in. The unfortunate Cookie will surely be on his way next week and all true fans will miss him.


BMer916 said...

there was obviously a lot of positives coming from that game, so lets discuss the negatives!

First, i thought Ugo was pretty bad, surprisingly bad. maybe its time to see him sit for Kosuke? Even Gibbs was a little shaky with his touches, and it made for some nervous moments. i wish we had depth in the back like we do up front.

Mehdi started off with some really poor passes, but as the game went on and confidence built, he was solid. his free-kick was awesome.

i don't know how Smith is going to pick forwards, of course Casey/Cummings is the ideal lineup but Noonan and Diz are pretty good too.

Nick Thomas said...

I think Casey and Cummings would always typically start. I think he has more selection questions at the back. Baudet looks to be out for a while which does lessen the center back questions. I agree with you re Ihemelu/Kimura. What does Kosuke have to do to get a starting place consistently?

Scott said...

There were definately a few moments in the second half when the Rapids back line look weak with their touches. I am not sure the reason for this, but I did notice a significant drop as soon as Pablo left the game. I think his skill on the ball adds confidence to the boys in the back.

Baudet leaving the game injured and with a yellow card on the play has to stink for the team though Palguta did not seem like too much of a step down technically but I am wondering on the leadership side of things.

I am going to be very sad to see Cooke leave Colorado, but I hope he ends up somewhere he can get regular playing time and really bolster whatever team he does go to. Part of me hopes that he goes back over the pond and gets a good run with a team over there, his crosses are certainly good enough to play over there and I still think they are the best in the league here.