SANDY, UT - APRIL 13: Alvaro Saborio #15 of Real Salt Lake watches as goalie Matt Pickens #18 of Colorado Rapids tracks down a shot during the first half of an MLS soccer game April 13, 2010 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
1 Total Update since April 13, 2011
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Colorado went into Salt Lake tonight to face Real Salt Lake and once again – as per last year – left with a lot less than they should have.
The Rapids started off the game in a surprisingly strong fashion, with Jamie Smith defending much better than we’ve come to expect from him in the middle replacing Pablo Mastroeni. Tyrone Marshall also started the game in the center of the defense with Anthony Wallace out, Drew Moor shifted over to take Wallace’s usual spot. Wells Thompson filled in at right midfield. Real Salt Lake came out with their usual formation and most of their usual players, with Will Johnson obviously missing after his red card against the New England Revolution.
Colorado played quite well as the game went along, although similar to the Dallas game they lacked much creativity in the midfield since Pablo was missing – they still very much miss his talents in the midfield and his being back for the game against the Seattle Sounders on the 22nd will be vital – but with Jamie Smith mounting the position rather than Joesph Nane, there was enough offensive talent to keep the ball moving.
The defense quite impressed me tonight, stealing the ball away with great frequency even without Anthony Wallace and with Drew Moor playing left back, a position that isn’t really his usual forte. Except for the numerous offside attempts by Salt Lake, the attack was basically squelched and although they gave away a couple too many corner kicks, they handled them quite well in the box, I don’t believe there were any overt chances off of their corners although they had nine all told to the Rapids two.
The second half began with Quincy Amarikwa being brought in for Omar Cummings, who had looked somewhat tired and slow on the pitch to that point. Not a minute later, a vicious tackle brought Amarikwa down – there was no card on the dangerous tackle, by the way – and Sanna Nyassi had to get brought in in his stead. Amarikwa’s talent up top was missed quickly as Nyassi tried to adapt a high midfield role, sort of a mid/striker hybrid if you will, and was unable to make much of it. Nyassi eventually did create one of the best chances for the Rapids, a cross right near the byline which probably would have made it to Caleb Folan if not for a diving Nick Rimando. Andre Akpan was brought in later in the game after Caleb Folan got a knock – although Caleb did stay on the pitch, the sub was most likely to get some extra striking talent up top – but wasn’t on long enough to make any sort of real impact.
As the game had gone along, Baldomero Toledo was fairly quiet and other than a couple of questionable calls that we see from pretty much every referee and a couple of routine cards to Tyrone Marshall, Javier Morales and Marvell Wynne. In the second minute of stoppage time, he finally decided to make his move, calling a foul mere feet from the box after Brian Mullan got the ball in midair with his leg and caught an RSL player on the way. Perhaps a foul in some games but far worse had been left to play on earlier in the match. Fabian Espindola ran in offside – I know, what a shock to see him offside! – and took the free kick from off the post off another Salt Lake player and stuck it in. A double salvo of questionable calls, if you will.
A surprisingly chipper game to watch considering how bad the Rapids looked against Dallas. Good offensive movement and several close chances on goal with shutdown defending only ruined by the call at the end where just about any team above the high school level probably could have scored. Pretty good play by the Rapids fails again due to referee interference, but at this point I think we’re used to it.
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Now here's another game that was a lot more exciting to talk about a couple of weeks ago, before the Pablo Mastroeni and Conor Casey injuries left the Colorado Rapids a bit floundering, losing 3-0 to Dallas and not looking particularly good while doing so. Injuries aside, Colorado is one of the few teams that has shown the ability to play Real Salt Lake to a fierce battle each and every time the two teams play. Both games against the Royals last year ended in draws which were forced by Salt Lake, taking away a Rapids lead at literally the last second.
Salt Lake remains the best team in the league and the best team at home in the history of the league, as they haven't dropped a game at Rio Tinto in well over a year in any competition. Colorado hasn't really shown themselves on the road, with a 1-1-0 record right now. Their loss was to a ferocious Dallas team and their win was against a weak Chivas team, albeit with Colorado starting their second string up top with both Conor Casey and Omar Cummings out that week. With Pablo missing from the line-up, it's likely that we'll see a 4-4-2 with Jamie Smith taking on a role that we don't usually see out of the Rapids, creative attacking central midfielder. Time will tell if that experiment will work, considering what a disaster the Joesph Nane experiment was.
Baldomero Toledo will be doing the refereeing tonight, which means that somebody is going to feel some pain in this match, we just won't be sure who until the game is over. Toledo's last vintage showing was last week where he awarded 3 red cards and a Penalty kick. We can only imagine how he plans to top himself this time around.
It may take a bit of luck - or a bit of Toledo magic - if the Rapids want to have any chance of going into Rio Tinto and taking any points from their Rocky Mountain rivals. At this point, getting a draw would have to be considered a win for the Rapids, especially since that would make getting the Rocky Mountain Cup back a much easier task for themselves near the end of the year at Dick's.