Friday, June 28, 2013

Rapids Make First Ever Trip To Montreal

I just don't get poutine

The Rapids haven't had much luck in Canada, being winless in Toronto when playing TFC and going 1-1-1 in Vancouver all-time.  Of course we also had our greatest triumph north of the border, winning MLS Cup in Toronto.  We open a third front in our Canadian war with our first trip to Stade Saputo in Montreal tomorrow.  Game time is 5pm and the game will be on Altitude.  For those of you out of the Altitude area its also on Univision Deportes. The Denver viewing party is at the Armoury.

Injury Report:
OUT:  DF Diego Calderon (R knee Surgery)
QUESTIONABLE: GK Matt Pickens (L arm fracture); MF Martin Rivero (L quad strain); MF Jaime Smith (R groin strain)

Disciplinary Report:

FW Charles Eloundou - Still waiting on International Transfer Certificate
DF Shane O'Neill - U.S. U-20 World Cup

Montreal is missing 3 players to injury, but it hasn't slowed them down as they're at the top of the league right now.  The Rapids are still filling holes in the line up and based on comments this week, Pareja is obviously getting frustrated by the lack of scoring.  My guess at what he'll do this week:

Despite giving up 3 goals to Portland I think Pareja gives this back 4 another try.  He may go back to a single striker but given the total failure of the offense in Portland I think we see the Buddle-Brown paring again.

Key To Look For: Defense.  Montreal has the best offense in the league

Prediction: 2-0 loss.  I don't see how we get anything out of this game.  The best we can hope for is not to get injured or suspended.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mid-Season Report Card

17 games down, 17 to go.  It feels weird to be at mid-season already and not even hit 4th of July, but that's what the early start does to the season.  At this point the Rapids have been eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup and it would take a miracle run to win the Supporters Shield, being almost a full point per game behind Montreal in that competition.  That leaves MLS Cup and the Rocky Mountain Cup as the only realistic goals this season (and right now the former is barely realistic).  Colorado is currently .32 points/game out of a playoff spot which translates to 5-6 points over the first half of the season.  They'll have to raise their game in the second half of the season not only to match how the rest of the West is playing but above that to make up those 5-6 points.  At least as far as the Rocky Mountain Cup goes the Rapids are in the drivers seat.  4 points from the first 2 games leaves them just needing a draw in the final game on Aug. 3rd to win the Cup.

Breaking the team down by position:
Goalkeeping: Clearly the strongest unit on the team.  When Pickens broke his arm in March the fear was that the season went down with him, but little-known Clint Irwin stepped in and became the best player on the team.  Irwin became the first keepers in league history to face PKs in his first three then four starts, guessing right on all four and saving one while forcing a second high.  With Pickens about to return from injury Pareja will have a tough decision to make between the team's 2012 MVP and the team's 2013 MVP (so far).  The only blight on the group is Steward Ceus' poor play in the season opener and in the USOC.
Grade: A-

Defense: A unit that looked great for the first 14 games fell apart last week.  In our first 14 games the Rapids held opponents to 1 or 0 goals 9 times, and only allowed 2 goals the other 5 times.  This was one of the top 3 records in the league.  In the 3 games last week they gave up 7 goals and at least 2 each game.  The major change?  Shockingly, Shane O'Neill.  He's been gone for the U-20 World Cup and our defense has fallen apart.  Now I don't think our defense hinges on a 19-year old 2nd year player but it shows the difference between a set back four and one that's in flux.  Drew Moor has looked less solid than previous years, Wynne has moved back and forth between CB and RB, Mullan clearly is not a RB, and Calderon got injured early.  The one positive sign is Chris Klute who seems to have locked down the LB position.  The only way the Rapids get back into the playoff picture is if the defense returns to the state it was prior to this last week of play.
Grade: C

Midfield: The center of this Jekyll and Hyde team.  Sometimes they control the game, sometimes they're invisible.  Of course they've also been the group most hurt by the injury bug.  Thomas, Rivero, Castrillon, Harbottle, Smith, Powers, etc. have all missed at least a game which makes it hard to get settled into a constant group.  Harris, surprisingly, has been the best of the group when he can keep his red card instincts in check.  Powers has done good filling in for the injured Rivero but he's no Rivero.  The team is much more dangerous with Martin on the field.  Thomas has taken over the destroyer role with Sturgis playing th ebox-to-bx midfielder role.  If those 3 are on the field we get control of the midfield, when we have to plug other pieces in we struggle.
Grade: C-

Forwards: Ugh, a mess.  Brown has been good, for a rookie, but other than that there's been no help from the attack.  Buddle is the biggest overpaid waste of space we have, which saves Mwanga from the title.  A total of 5 goals is not anywhere close to good enough from the strike force.  If this doesn't improve, and quickly, you can kiss the season goodbye.
Grade: F

Coaching: Pareja (along with Bravo) has put together some good young players, but the lack of the key MLS-caliber players is hurting this team.  Pareja seems to have finally settled on a 4-2-2-2 type system (when everyone is healthy) that seems to work but he struggles when he can't plug in the best pieces.  The second half of this season Pareja will be coaching for his job, right now I'm not sure he keeps it.
Grade: D

Overall: Had I written this review before the last week's games I would have said I was pleasantly surprised to be where we were given our injuries.  We're now closer to where I expected to be, which isn't good.  Colorado can still turn it around but its going to take a lot of work, and it starts against the current leader, Montreal.  Not the way you want to start.  The season is going to go one of two ways.  Most likely we're into the summer swoon and things go downhill from here.  Possibly we come home from this road trip, win two at home, and start a run that gets us back into the playoff picture.  I expect the former but am rooting for the latter.
Grade: D+

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Overseas Season Round-Up

Its a little late due to everything going on, but its time for the season round-up for the clubs overseas that I follow.

Queen of the South: As reported earlier QoS stormed through their season, being the first team in the UK to clinch a championship and the promotion that goes with it.  They also won the Ramsdens Cup over 1st Division Champions Partick Thistle.  Queens received awards galore including Manager of the Year and Team of the Year.   As soon as the offseason hit though, the negative side of their success appeared.  Leading scorer Nicky Clark will not be going up with the team as he was bought by another Second Division team, a little club you might of heard of called Rangers.  Just yesterday manager Allan Johnston agreed to a contract with Kilmarnock of the Premier League.  An impressive move by a guy who has 1 year (admittedly a great year) of managerial experience.  Next year the Doonhamers are back in the First Division after their one year absence.

Blackburn Rovers: A bad season for Rovers after last year's relegation saw them go through 5 managers and barely avoid a second straight drop, finally finishing 17th in the Championship.  Venky's ownership continued to spin the club out of control, leading to as many off-field problems as on-field problems.  Leadership seems to be getting sorted out but the club still has quite a financial crisis which will tie their hands for the coming season.  The bumpy ride isn't over yet.

CD Tenerife: After two seasons in the third division and coming oh-so-close to promotion last year they got over the hump this year.  They won their group by 3 points and then won their promotion playoff 3-2 on aggregate over L'Hospitalet.  Facing Alaves for the Segunda B championship they lost by a two-leg score of 3-2.  Next season its back to their normal stomping grounds of the Spanish Segunda where they'll meet their Canary Island rivals Las Palmas.

Melbourne Victory: The Victory bounced back from a rough season with a 3rd placed finish in the A-League behind Western Sydney and Central Coast, who ran away from the rest of the pack.  3rd place was good enough to get the A-League's AFC Champions League qualifier spot for the 2014 competition.  Much like MLS, the A-League's season is offset from much of the rest of the confederation which leads to a big delay between champions league qualification and actually playing.  In the A-League playoffs the Victory won their first round battle before losing to eventual champions Central Coast in the semis.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: This is a new club I've been rooting for, thanks to my sister and brother-in-law visiting that part of Germany a couple of years ago and bringing a scarf back from the club for me.  Hoffenheim was backed in 2000 by one of the founders of SAP, at the time they were playing in the 5th division of German soccer.  Between 2000 and 2008 they earned 4 promotions to end up in the Bundesliga. The club is also the home of 2 young German-born American Nats players, Daniel Williams and Fabian Johnson, and a 3rd American, Joe Gyau, who has played for the U.S. youth national teams.  This year Hoffenheim struggled in the Bundesliga, going through 4 different managers, ending in 16th place and in the relegation playoff.  In the playoff they beat Kaiserslautern 5-2 to keep their place in the Bundesliga for the 2013-14 season.

So, two teams promoted and none relegated, not a bad season.  Next year there's 2 top division teams (Melbourne and Hoffenheim) and 3 second division teams (Queen of the South, Blackburn, and Tenerife).

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rapids Crushed By Timbers

Worst game of the year.  The Rapids fell asleep at a basic U-10 tenet of soccer (don't turn your back on the ball), gave up a goal, and then just gave up.  1 shot on target all night (from Nathan Sturgis of all people) while giving up 3 goals.  If I were to name a MOTM it might be Sturgis because even though he got beat on the first two goals he was covering for defenders sleeping (on the first) or taken out of the play (on the second).  In reality though this game deserves no analysis or MOTM, why should I put any more effort into it than the players did?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Origial MLS green team vs. the Newbie MLS green team

'Celo's inaugural Rapids jersey

For the 3rd time in just over a week the Rapids take the feel tomorrow against the Portland Timbers.  Colorado has only ever lost to Portland once,  but that was their one trip to the Rose City last season.  The Rapids need to bounce back after two losses where they should have gotten points while the Timbers are flying high under new coach Caleb Porter.  Game time is scheduled for 5pm MDT but since the game is on NBC Sports Network that usually means 30 minutes of pregame, so my bet is that kickoff is around 5:30pm MDT.

Injury Report:
OUT:  DF Diego Calderon (R knee Surgery), DF Brenton Griffiths (R shoulder dislocation); GK Matt Pickens (L arm fracture)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Jaime Smith (R groin strain)

Disciplinary Report:

FW Charles Eloundou - Still waiting on International Transfer Certificate
DF Shane O'Neill - U.S. U-20 World Cup

The Timbers are down 5 players due to injury but it doesn't seem to be slowing them down.  The Rapids get Harris, Thomas, and Pareja back from suspension but have probably lost Rivero to the thigh injury he picked up Wednesday.  My guess at what we see:

I think Pareja saw how badly Mullan got beaten in Chicago and with 3 games in 8 days gives the veteran a rest.  Harris and Thomas will obviously go right back in at the expense of Castrillon and the injured Rivero.

Key To Look For: Apparently our defense has fallen apart over the last couple of games, so they need to get that focus back.  That's going to be tough against the highest scoring team in the league.

Prediction: 2-1 loss, goal by Harris.  Portland is scoring well and playing at home, a combination that I don't see this team overcoming.  Harris will find a goal to amke it interesting but the Rapids complete the hat-trick of 2-1 losses in 8 days.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chicago Derails Colorado

Last night the Rapids turned an early lead into a train wreck of a game an put up their second consecutive 2-1 loss.  Deshorn Brown picked Austin Berry's pocket in the 17th minute to put the Rapids up early but after that it was downhill.  6 minutes later Wynne gave up a  PK on a hand ball that Magee scored and the Fire were in control of the game.  Magee would score again in the first half, only for it to be called back for offside, and right before half a flurry in the box caused by a missed offsides somehow didn't result in a Fire goal.

The second half started with a bang for the Fire as Berry made up for his earlier mistake, getting on the end of a Ginger Ninja cross to make the score 2-1 in the 48th minute.  The Rapids had some good chances to get level, but couldn't the broadside of a barn from the inside.  Castrillon headed it right at the keeper.  Buddle put it high over the bar.  Rivero was unmarked with time to settle in the middle of the box from 12 yards out and went wide.  And the final insult was in stoppage time where Klute crossed the ball right in front of the goal to an onrushing Cascio who somehow hit the post from inside 2 yards.  Brown did get a goal on the board right at the end of the game, but it was correctly waved off as it hit Brown's hand as he controlled it.

My key to the match was refocusing after the San Jose game.  Apparently I had to be specific about how long to be focused for as 20 minutes didn't do it.  

Random Thoughts:
  • Mullan got absolutely torched on the first goal.  Wynne was at fault for diving in on the play and putting his hand in a place where bad luck could happen, but he was scrambling to cover for Mullan's mistake.
  • It appeared Sturgis had Berry on the second goal but it was a bit of a mess as the cross came after a corner was cleared out and people were disorganized.  There's been calls of offside from fans (including Richard Fleming) but a freeze frame shows it was a tight but good no-call.
  • It was good to see Castrillon starting, but he clearly wasn't on the same page as everyone else.
  • Buddle is really turning into a bust this season, for his money he should be producing more than he has.
  • If Buddle isn't the bust of the season, Mwanga is.
  • Mullan might have been our best offensive player.  Defensively though he was awful.
  • The team really missed the bite of a Thomas (or Pablo) in midfield.
  • At the end of the game Balboa was complaining about a lack of replays on the Brown non-goal.  Here's an idea, how about Altitude spend some money on their own production instead of just hooking onto the opponent's feed?
  • On to Portland Sunday, it doesn't get any easier.
Player of the Match: Chris Klute.  While he did keep Berry onside on the goal there wasn't much else he did wrong last night which is more than most of the team can say.  He kept attacks on his side to a minimum and whipped in a couple of dangerous crosses.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rapids Try To Get Back On Track In Chicago

The Zephyr ran from Denver to Chicago starting in 1936

A quick turnaround for Colorado as they're out in Chicago to start the post-Pablo era.  The Rapids may have wanted to use a train to get there as multiple cancellations and a tornado touching down at DIA delayed their flight out today.  They also left without Atiba Harris (red card), Hendry Thomas (suspended today by the Disciplinary Committee), and head coach Oscar Pareja (standard one game suspension for leaving the technical area).  Needless to say the team will be a bit shorthanded tomorrow night as Dave Dir takes Pareja's place.  Game time tomorrow is 6:30pm and the game is on Altitude.

Injury Report:
OUT:  DF Diego Calderon (R knee Surgery), DF Brenton Griffiths (R shoulder dislocation); GK Matt Pickens (L arm fracture)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Jaime Smith (R groin strain)

Disciplinary Report:
SUSPENDED: FW Atiba Harris; MF Hendry Thomas

FW Charles Eloundou - Still waiting on International Transfer Certificate
DF Shane O'Neill; MF Dillon Serna - U.S. U-20 callup

Chicago has two players out due to injury but everyone else is available including former Rapids Quincy Amarikwa, Jeff Larentowicz, and Wells Thompson.  Picking a starting XI is going to be difficult this week but here's my guess:

We could see Mullan move up to the midfield with Mera being added to the back line.  We could also see Harbottle take Harris' place.  I think we'll see what Powers and Rivero can do together though.

Key To Look For: Refocusing after a bad effort on Saturday.  The loss to SJ was a setback but Chicago is a good team to try to right the ship against.  We just need to keep playing the game that put us on that good run.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Powers.  With the number of suspensions I think the Rapids drop two points in Chicago as they try to work a new lineup into play.  Powers has been close recently so I think he puts one in but the defense gets peeled apart again for a level score.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rapids Streak Comes To An End

Well after today's big trade news, back to Saturday's game.  I predicted a 2-1 scoreline, which we got, but with the wrong team winning.  The Rapids put themselves in a hole early and while they almost got out of it they came up just a bit short.

The first half was generally ugly soccer from both sides but particularly ugly from Colorado.  In the 11th minute the back line got peeled part high up the field, leaving Lenhart open for a long bomb that beat Clint Irwin for an early E-Quakes lead.  Seven minutes later Atiba Harris lived up to his reputation as a hack and lunged into a two-footed tackle, rightfully seeing red.  Colorado would play the final 72 minutes down a man and a goal.  Other than the San Jose goal, the only shot on goal in the first half was a long shot from Dillon Powers that was parried away, only for the follow up header from Brown went over the bar.

The second half started much like the first, a quick goal from San Jose.  7 minutes in the back line was again shredded and Irwin was left hanging as the Quakes went up 2-0.  After that though the game changed, largely due to the insertion of Rivero at halftime.  Had you asked a fan to start watching at halftime the assumption would have been that San Jose was the player down a man as Colorado dominated the game.  In the 65th minute Jaime Castrillon made his return from injury, 2 minutes later a Mullan cross found Nathan Sturgis who headed it home to half the deficit.  From that point it was almost an all-out assault on the Earthquakes goal, with Castrillon, Buddle, Thomas, and Rivero all getting looks but the team couldn't convert and San Jose escaped with 3 points.

My key to the match was taking San Jose out of the game early.  Instead we gave them a goal advantage and a man advantage in the first 20 minutes.  Pretty much the direct opposite of what we needed to do.

Random Thoughts:
  • So last game I started this section saying Harris had earned a pass from being slammed after his play the last couple of weeks.  That assumed he wasn't going to something as asinine as making a two-footed tackle at midfield on somebody going away from goal.  Idiot.
  • Drew Moor might have had a worse game than Harris.  He was pulled completely out of position on the first goal, leaving Lenhart unmarked.  He was also out of position ont he second goal, though with the Earthquakes up a man that may have been unavoidable.
  • Had Sturgis header missed, there was a clear PK to be called.  He got a hard shove in the back just before he made contact.
  • Of course, given some of the other calls missed, the ref may not have seen it.  The worst was a knock-down of Castrillon in the box in stoppage time that went uncalled.  Immediately after that the center ref touched his earpiece like his assistant ref was talking to him.  Maybe to let him know he blew the call?
  • That said, the ref isn't why we lost.  San Jose should have had 4 goals as they completely blew two gift-wrapped chances in the second half through nothing but their own incompetence.
  • Castrillon had a great header that forced a diving save just minutes after coming on and generally was much sharper than I would have expected after so much time off.
  • Buddle, on the other hand, was invisible other than the one chance he had late.  Not good enough.
  • Brown needs to learn to stay onside.
  • This game really showed the difference between the potential of Powers and the skill right now of Rivero.  Powers made som good plays but the Rapids play in general went up a notch when Rivero came in.
  • Hendry Thomas got in a shouting match with the San Jose bench shortly after half when interim coach Mark Watson kicked a ball back towards him.  Watson appeared to be out of line, but Thomas has to have a longer fuse than that.
  • The loss breaks the Rapids 6 game undefeated streak.
Player of the Match: Nathan Sturgis.  Not only did he score the goal but he had more than one good pass to set up other opportunities.

Mastroeni To LA

First the trade details.  The Rapids sent Pablo and the rights to Baggio Husidic (who we picked up in the 2011 Re-Entry Draft) to the Galaxy in exchange for a 2nd round pick in next year's draft and an international spot through 2014.

There are two ways I can look at this, with my head or your heart.  Looking at it with my head this is a solid trade by Colorado.  Mastroeni had clearly been passed on the depth chart by Thomas and Sturgis, and we still have LaBrocca and O'Neill who could play that role in a pinch.  Pablo, based on his letter to the fans, obviously thinks he can still play and contribute.  So we have a player that won't be playing but wants to and a team who doesn't need what that player brings.  This is an obvious trade situation.  So Colorado moved a player that was unlikely to be more than a late-game defensive sub and got some roster flexibility back in the form of an international spot and salary cap room (Pablo was a $150-$200K hit this year) as well as a draft pick next year.

Looking at this with my heart, this trade hurts.  Mastroeni is, quite simply, the best player to ever wear a Rapids jersey.  Yes we have players who may have had better careers (El Pibe is the first that comes to  mind) but for what they did in a Rapids jersey, nobody tops Pablo.  He's also once of the few Americans to play in a World Cup Quarterfinal and captain his club side to a championship.  The only move that comes close to this ironically happened on the day Pablo was picked by the Rapids in the post-contract Dispersal Draft, trading Marcelo Balboa to New York where he would make one 10 minute appearance in the final game of the 2002 season.  I expect Pablo will do a bit better in LA, but I have a feeling he'll be retiring at the end of the year as well.

In the end, I understand why the Rapids made this trade and why Pablo wanted to leave.  It doesn't make it that much easier though.  I know that soccer teams don't retire numbers but #25 should be taken out of the rotation for a very long time.  Mastroeni will probably return with the Galaxy on July 27th.  Lets make sure we give him the send off he didn't get yet.

Tomorrow will be the first day in the history of the team that that roster doesn't contain either Marcelo Balboa or Pablo Mastroeni.  Its a new era for the Rapids.

Pablo Traded!

More this evening, but Mastroeni was traded to the Galaxy for a 2nd round pick next season and an international spot through 2014.  LA also gets the rights to Baggio Husidic (which I didn't even know the Rapids owned!).

Friday, June 14, 2013


The defense will need to do this to 2012 MVP Wondolowski

After a week of the Rapids are back in action at the Dick tomorrow, facing San Jose.  The Earthquakes also had last weekend off, and took the down time as an opportunity for the team and coach Frank Yallop to go their separate ways.  So Colorado will be facing a team under new management, with this being Mark Watson's first game in charge.  Game time tomorrow is at 7pm, so the tailgate starts at 4.  The game is on Altitude for those who won't be there.

Injury Report:
OUT:  DF Diego Calderon (R knee Surgery), DF Brenton Griffiths (R shoulder dislocation); GK Matt Pickens (L arm fracture)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Jaime Smith (R groin strain)

Disciplinary Report:

FW Charles Eloundou - Still waiting on International Transfer Certificate
DF Shane O'Neill; MF Dillon Serna - U.S. U-20 callup

That's the smallest injury list yet this season which is a very positive sign.  Shane O'Neill is a big absence with Calderon still injured, but San Jose is dealing with a trio of absences as well, including former Rapid Ty Harden.  My guess at a starting XI:

We could see Mera in the middle of the back line and Wynne at right back but I think Pareja probably feels more confident in the Moor-Wynne combo.  The rest of the lineup seems fairly obvious right now.

Key To Look For: Taking SJ out of the game early.  A quick goal or at the very least heavy control of the early game is required to keep a demoralized Earthquakes team from thinking the coaching change has improved their outlook.  Letting San Jose stay in the game will give them hope and set them up to steal points like they did last month in the Bay Area.

Prediction: 2-1 win, goals by Moor and Brown.  The Rapids, as they've done many times this season, will keep it closer than it should be before a set piece goal by Moor puts the E-Quakes out of their misery and gives the Rapids their 7th straight game without a defeat.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Colorado To Play Santos Laguna June 12th in Albuquerque

The rumored friendly with Santos Laguna was made official today.  June 12th at the University of New Mexico's stadium in Albuquerque at 7:30pm.  Tickets went on sale today as well.  The Rapids faced Santos in the 2011 Champions League, losing 4-1 at home and 2-0 in Torreon.  Hopefully the team is getting a nice payday for playing a neutral site friendly in the middle of the season.

Monday, June 10, 2013

All-Star Voting Started Today

The Rapids have 6 players on the All-Star ballots that were released today.  Clint Irwin, Drew Moor, Atiba Harris, Dillon Powers, Edson Buddle, and Deshorn Brown.  Normally I don't really care about the All-Star Game, its great for those players who deserve it but the game is usually not interesting to me,  This year though the ASG is on July 31st in Kansas City.  3 days later the Rapids host FSL in the final Rocky Mountain Cup match, a game FSL has to win to retain the Cup.

That is the single biggest game on our schedule right now, because of the rivalry.  Given that, as much as they may deserve it (especially Irwin), I'd be happiest of none of these 6 guys got names to the ASG game-day squad.  There's a "2nd team" of All-Stars who get recognized and get whatever All-Star bonuses they have but are not a part of the game day festivities.  I'd prefer that all 6 of the Rapids are named to the 2nd team, get the kudos, but stay in Denver and rest for the RMC game.

I'd be thrilled if none of the Rapids made the game day squad and all 6 of FSL's nominees did.  Flying from New York back to Salt Lake after their Saturday game, then flying from Salt Lake to KC, playing mid-week, then flying from KC to Denver is much better than the Rapids who are hosting LA the weekend before and then staying in Denver until the RMC game a week later.

If you want to vote (for players from whatever team ;) ) the ballot is here.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Delayed Discussion Of Draw With Dallas

Apologies for the late recap.  I was out in Earthquakes-land at my company's other office for the first part of the week.  Since its so late I won't spend a lot of time on the recap of the game itself.  The first half was pretty benign with neither team getting a really good look.  The second half was probably fun to watch as a neutral as both teams were going at it, which resulted in 4 goals in 10 minutes.  The Rapids took the lead off a great long throw from Wynne into the box that Atiba Harris headed home, but gave it back almost right away when an Atiba Harris clearance in the box hit Wynne in the shoulder and fell right to Blas Perez who perfectly one-timed it into the far corner.  Just minutes later a long header from Klute found Harris unmarked at the back post and Atiba got his 2nd goal in 8 minutes.  Anything Harris could do, Perez could do better though as almost immediately off the ensuing kickoff Perez was able to corral a long ball that Moor misplayed and had all day to pick out which corner he wanted to place it in for his 2nd goal in just 5 minutes.  The Rapids pushed hard late in the game with a couple of good chances while Dallas was happy to settle with a draw, and that's what the got.

My key to the match was keeping Dallas from getting dangerous chances.  Dallas only had 2 shots on target, unfortunately they both went in.

Random Thoughts:
  • I've been slamming Harris pretty consistently this season, but over the last few weeks he's stepped his game up.  he gets a pass from slamming for a couple of games.
  • One small thing I will say though is that his clearance on the first Dallas goal was right to the center of the box, a no-no.  There's a reason he's not a defender though. ;)
  • Drew Moor badly misjudged the long ball on the second Dallas goal.  A backline leader like Moor can't make mistakes like that.
  • Chris Klute had another solid game.  I think the Rapids have settled the left back position, at least for this season.
  • Where did Wynne get a long throw like that?  Nice addition to our attacking options!
  • Shane O'Neill had a quiet game before heading off to the Toulon Tournament and (presumably) the U-20 World Cup.
  • Good to see Hendry Thomas out there, but the officiating did him no favors.  Clean but hard tackles from him were whistled early which threw him off his game.
  • The Buddle/Brown connection wasn't there this game.  Buddle was particularly quiet.
  • That's now 6 without a loss for the Rapids and 1 loss in the last 10.
Player of the Match: Atiba Harris.  2 goals, duh.