Thursday, October 31, 2013


Well that sucked. The Rapids of the last 3 games on the road showed up in Seattle last night, with the expected result. They were assisted by a number of mind-numbing mistakes from Oscar Pareja in his lineup and sub choices en route to a 2-0 loss. I'm going to dispense with the normal recap, because there's not much to say, for just some general comments about the game.

My key to the game was was score early, score often. We didn't score at all so that was a failure.

Random Thoughts:
  • In what universe is it a good idea to make a change to your established back line going into the playoffs, especially a one-and-done game on the road?  Mera was completely ineffective and directly responsible for both goals (and could have given up a 3rd on a PK).
  • Meanwhile O'Neill, now on the right, had no positive impact on the game and took away whatever attack we had down the right this season.
  • Powers and Sanchez weren't available so Rivero and Harris started.  Rivero made sense (LaBrocca has added nothing to the attack the last few starts) but he had a minimal impact.  There is no way the Rapids should be buying him this off-season at any level that would make him a DP.  If we can get him on loan cheap again then its worth it,, but I shudder to consider tying up a large percentage of our salary cap in him given how unproven he appears to be.
  • Harris was, as always, useless.  Cascio would have been a better start or, dare I say it, Buddle.
  • Thomas' play has really dropped off in the second half of the season.  Last night he was lucky not to draw a red.
  • The officiating was horrible, but didn't impact the end result.  Yedlin getting away with an elbow to Brown's face was shocking but not surprising given Petrescu's normal level for violent conduct, which involves practically knifing a guy to draw a yellow card.  To turn around and yellow Harris right after that for a tackle that didn't even make contact was ridiculous though.
  • Having spent too much time around refs I can see what Petrescu was thinking not calling the PK on the Rapids, but I wouldn't have objected had it been called.
  • The Dempsey-Irwin collision that drew a yellow on Irwin was probably a fair result, given that Irwin was the last man but with the ball rolling out towards the corner.  The way Petrescu let the Thomas-Yedlin collision go uncalled in the first half though a red would have been incredibly unfair to the Rapids (not to mention against the USSF's ATR on the 4 D's).
  •  I don't think I've seen a keeper make a mental blunder quite like the one Gspurning made to see red.  You could kind of justify only a yellow there for the handling, but to follow it up with a wild swing at Buddle (even if he did go down easy) made red an easy call.
  • Eddie Johnson gesticulating at the official afterwards was real classy.  He's surprised me with his quality of play since he got back to MLS, but his attitude is such that I'm not that disappointed that he was whisked out from under the Rapids at the last minute.
  • Pareja's subs: Sanchez for Rivero - OK, Rivero wasn't that effective but there were better options (Harris) to pull.  Buddle for Brown - Yeah, because down a goal in a must win match is the perfect time to pull the season's leading scorer.  Wynne for Sturgis.  W.T.F.  Now you put Wynne in, instead of from the beginning when he could have helped on D?
  • Of course the bench makeup was equally puzzling.  The non-GK unused subs were Wallace, LaBrocca, and Serna.  No Castrillon, Hill, Cascio, or Mwanga.  So after Buddle and Sanchez there was essentially no offensive help on the bench.  Stupid.
  • Not surprisingly Seattle had as many goals as we had shots on target (2).  That makes 5 shots on target in our last 4 road games combined while being outscored 7-0.  That's the fundamental reason our season is over.
  • A nice insult to injury move by the Rapids social media guys, who changed their Facebook cover photo to a image with "Renew Your 2014 Season tickets" within minutes of the final whistle.  How about letting the body cool first before hitting us up for money?
  • Rooting for a Portland-New England MLS Cup now.  Two fan bases that have been awesome working with the Rapids fan base.  I wouldn't get too upset with another LA win though, only because Pablo would get a second ring.  Same thing for NY and Koz.
  • Over the weekend and into next week I'll be posting my typical player of the year, season review, and offseason lineup decision columns. 
Player of the Match: Vicente Sanchez.  He subbed in played the last 30 minutes with a fractured bone in his shoulder and still had the biggest effect on our offense all night.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tomorrow Is Win Or Go Home

Curse of the coin-flip?

After a bad weekend the Rapids are forced to play the wild-card game on the road in their worst location, Seattle.  Just to remind everyone, in eight competitive games in Seattle all-time we've lost seven and drawn once (earlier this year) with a -13 goal differential.  The good news is since that coin flip above the Sounders have lost 4 and drawn 1 while being outscored 13-3.  And only a truly awful goal miss from the refs last Sunday night got them that one draw.  So one team that has never played well in the city and another who's been spiraling down in recent games.  Should be fun!  kickoff is 8:30pm Denver time tomorrow and the game will be on Altitude 2 in the Denver area and NBC Sports nationwide.  The watch aprties are at the Armory and British Bulldog in Denver.

Injury Report:
OUT: DF Davy Armstrong (R ACL surgery); DF Kory Kindle (sports hernia)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Dillon Powers (concussion); MF Vicente Sanchez (R shoulder sprain); MF Jamie Smith (R knee)

FW Charles Eloundou - Not eligible until 2014

The injury reports haven't been updated since the weekend, but reports are that Sanchez will be available but Powers is almost certainly out.  On Sunday the Sounders had 3 players out and 3 questionable, I would expect similar numbers tomorrow night.  My guess on our XI:

This assumes Sanchez can start and Powers isn't available.  I'm going out on a bit of a limb when I predict Rivero in the midfield, but I think we've seen that LaBrocca isn't helping the attack.  Everything else is pretty much as you would expect.

Key To Look For: Score early, score multiple times.  The Rapids won't win 1-0 so they'll need more than one goal.  Getting one early to put Seattle on its heels and bring up that doubt that's plagued them the last 5 games started by losing 5-1 to us is the best way to get there.

Prediction: 2-1 win in overtime, goals by Brown and Torres.  This is going to be an tight, ugly game.  Short rest, artificial turf, and two teams that aren't playing great.  In the end the confidence the Rapids have from their earlier game against Seattle will be just enough to get them over the hump.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Rapids Throw Hogged Rock In Vancouver

In curling a hogged rock is a rock that never enters play and is removed from the game for not going far enough.  That sounds a lot like Colorado last night, who never seemed to enter play and were removed from the field on a Camilo hat-trick, losing 3-0.

I could break down the game like I usually do, but Drew Moor covered it for me.  "We almost looked like a team that was just satisfied to be in the playoffs, and that's unacceptable at this point.".  There's really not much more to say about this game, nobody in a Rapids uniform seemed to give a damn.

My key to the game was balancing the desire to get the win without overdoing it if we had to play mid-week.  Well all our starters save the injured Powers and Sanchez played and we didn't get anything close to a win.  Not good.

Random Thoughts:
  • Unfortunately we did get the hoped for result in the LA-Seattle game, a draw, which means this loss threw away a 3 seed.  Instead we're playing in Seattle on Wednesday night in a one game playoff.  Kickoff is 8:30 MDT on Altitude 2 and NBC Sports Network.
  • If we somehow beat Seattle in Seattle we'll play Portland in the conference semi-final round in a home-and-home series.  The first game would be at the Dick Saturday night at 8pm.
  • In our last 3 road games we've been outscored 5-0 and had a total of 4 shots on goal combined (3 last night).  Not good odds for having to go on the road in our first playoff game.
  • The Rapids took a bus from Vancouver to Seattle this afternoon rather than fly home and then back to Seattle.
  • Dillon Serna got his first ever minutes as a professional, subbing into the game for Deshorn Brown in the 77th minute.
  • Brown finishes as the team Golden Boot with 10 goals, most by a rookie since Ralph's MLS record 11 goals in 2003.  He had twice as many as any other Rapid.
  • Chris Klute finishes with the most assists at 7
  • The Rapids finish the regular season with new records in points, wins, and home wins, while tied for their second best season in points/game at 1.5 (2010 was the best at 1.53).
Player of the Match: Clint Irwin.  He at least tried to keep us in the game.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rapids Go For Clean Sweep Over Canada


Here we are, the end of the regular season.  After going 4 for 4 against Canada so far this season Colorado can guarantee a home playoff game with a win in Vancouver on Sunday night.  Depending on Portland's game on Saturday and the LA-Seattle game kicking off an hour after we do on Sunday the Rapids could finish anywhere from 2nd to 5th but only a win will get them above 4th while a draw will leave them in either 4th or 5th.  Game time on Sunday is 6pm and the game is on Altitude 2.  Centennial 38 will be having one large party at the Celtic Tavern in LoDo.

Injury Report:
OUT: DF Davy Armstrong (R ACL surgery); DF Kory Kindle (sports hernia)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Dillon Powers (concussion); MF Vicente Sanchez (R shoulder sprain); MF Jamie Smith (R knee)

Disciplinary Report:
SUSPENDED AFTER ONE YELLOW; DF Shane O'Neill (Though any suspension would be served in the first game of the 2014 season, not the 2013 playoffs)

FW Charles Eloundou - Not eligible until 2014

Vancouver has Miller injured and Harvey suspended, otherwise they're at full strength but have nothing to play for.  Both Powers and Sanchez traveled to Vancouver, though Powers has not yet completed the league concussion protocols.  This is because the team has decided that if results end up with Seattle in 4th and Colorado in 5th, necessitating a mid-week playoff game in Seattle, the team will stay in the Northwest after the game on Sunday and not fly home.  If the Rapids are the 3rd seed (and not playing mid-week) or are hosting the mid-week game or are playing in LA they'll come home as usual.  Everyone else is available, but the starting lineup will probably be dependant somewhat on what happens in the Portland-Chivas USA game Saturday.  My guess at our XI:

This assumes Portland didn't lose to Chivas USA on Saturday night.  In that scenario the only way the Rapids avoid a mid-week game is to win and have LA-Seattle end in a draw, which I find highly unlikely.  I think Torres, Sanchez, and Powers will be held out to preserve them for the probable mid-week playoff game.  You might see Mera go in place of Moor as well.

Key To Look For: Balance.  We want the win in order to have the playoff game at home, but we don't want to wear ourselves down so much that we're too tired to take advantage of the home field.  Winning without killing ourselves should be our goal.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Brown.  The draw doesn't guarantee a home playoff game, but Seattle is so screwed up at the moment that they'll finish their game with a loss an hour after we finish, bringing them back to Colorado for the playoff game.  Brown will also tie the rookie record for goals.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Welcome to Colorado Charles Eloundou!

Surprising news from Commerce City, the long-lost Charles Eloundou arrived in Denver this evening.  For those of you who have forgotten, the Rapids won the rights to the Cameroonian forward in a lottery back in January, only to have his rights get tied up by the Cameroonian FA and his club in Cameroon.  Eloundou slipped off the radar after talks to get him to Colorado died down during the summer transfer window.  Out of nowhere the Rapids announced his arrival a few minutes ago.  No word as to what changed to get him here.

The roster freeze date has passed so he won't be eligible to play for the first team until the 2014 season starts.  He has been playing with Coton Sport, his old club, this fall and he's been called up to the Cameroonian National Team in the last year.  He'll start fitness work and acclimation to Denver tomorrow at the Dick.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Playoff Race Status - October 22nd

Now that the Rapids are in the playoffs, the focus switches to playoff seeding.  Going into the final weekend the standings look like this:

4th and 5th place will play a one-game playoff on October 30th or 31st at the home of the 4th seed.  The winner will get the 1st seed in a home-and-home starting at the 4/5 seed winner's home the weekend of November 2nd while the 3 seed will host the 2 seed to start their home-and-home that same weekend.  Colorado could finish anywhere from first to fifth based on their result against Vancouver and everyone else's results.  Going into tomorrow's game here's the best set of results for us:

FSL @ Chivas USA - Chivas, obviously.

San Jose @ Dallas - We don't care as long as San Jose doesn't score 13+ goals.

Chivas USA @ Portland - Chivas again, obviously.

Seattle @ LA - This game is a little tricky depending on our result.  If we beat Vancouver a draw is the best result, as it give us the 3 seed.  If we draw Vancouver then a LA win is best as it gives us the 4 seed with a home game against Seattle in the one-game playoff.  If we lose to Vancouver we're stuck as the 5 seed no matter what, so its a matter of if you'd rather face Seattle in Seattle or LA in LA.  I think Seattle in Seattle is a better option all things consider, so anything other than a Seattle win would be the best result.

Monday, October 21, 2013


With a little help from the galaxy the Rapids got the 3 points and playoff spot they were hoping for out of this weekend.  As predicted it didn't come easy though, with a 3-2 win that wasn't comfortable until the final whistle.

The action started early, with both teams getting good looks at goal in the first 10 minutes or so.  Oddly Vancouver's shot would be their only shot on goal that didn't go in, though it felt like they were closer than that stat makes it seem.  Because of that lack of shots though the Rapids had the early run of play, which meant Manneh's goal in the 32nd minute was a bit of a shock to the home crowd.  Manneh took a pass above the box in space and chipped Irwin from 20 yards out into the upper corner for the lead.  Like we've seen at other times, particularly in the second half of the season, the Rapids got right back into it though.  About 10 minutes later Moor was dragged down in the box trying to get up to head a free kick.  Gabriel Torres stepped up and took the PK (calling Thomas off with his body language), slamming it home in an impossible to stop shot to level the game at the break.

Coming out of the half the Rapids kept the pressure up with almost immediate payoff.  In the 51st minute Deshorn Brown caught up to a Clint Irwin punt on two hops and one-touch lobbed it over the onrushing Vancouver keeper for the lead.  The Whitecaps weren't done yet though, as they would get their shot from the spot.  Former Rapid Jordan Harvey was given a free run into the box where he was tripped by Shane O'Neill.  Camilo finished the job, putting the spot kick away, and leveling the score.  Torres was not going to be denied a potential playoff-clinching win twice in a week though.  Just 2 minutes later Buddle found Torres at the corner of the box with a cross-field pass.  Gaby cut the ball inside to his left foot and unleashed a curling ball to the far post upper corner.  3-2 lead on the type of goal we made him a DP for.  Then it was a matter of hanging on through a couple of Vancouver flurries before finishing the home regular season with a win.

My key to the game was attacking.  We didn't score early but we did score often, and we didn't ease up when we went down.

Random Thoughts:
  • With the win and the draw between LA and San Jose, the only way we miss the playoffs is if we lose next week, San Jose wins, and San Jose outscores us by 13 goals.  Not. going. to. happen.
  • We could finish anywhere from 1st (unlikely) to 5th, but no worse than 4th if we win.
  • My prediction for this game forgot to factor in the ref.  Without the PK's I was dead on, 2-1 with goals by Torres and Brown.
  • Brown now has 10 goals for the season, only the second rookie to ever hit double-digits in league history.  He can tie his countryman Damani Ralph if he gets a goal next week.
  • Because of that I think Brown should be rookie of the year over Powers, but its close.
  • Nice setup pass from Buddle on Torres' game-winning goal.  Good vision.
  • Torres has 3 goals in his last two Rapids games, plus a goal for Panama in that time.  That's why he's a DP.
  • What does it say about Rivero that he's not starting over LaBrocca when Powers is out?  Can we really justify paying a million dollars and making him a DP next year?
  • Moor and O'Neill struggled a bit this week with both goals coming from center-back mistakes.
  • With this win the Rapids set season records for wins (14), home wins(10), and points(51).  They will finish no worse than 4th in pts/game and could be as high as 2nd.
  • Pareja will clearly return next year and he should.  
Player of the Match: Gabriel Torres.  Duh.  He was also named MLS Player of the Week today.  First time this season a Rapid has won that award.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Unless San Jose plays the most remarkable game of soccer I've ever seen and beats Dallas by 13 goals more than we score next weekend the Rapids are in the playoffs!  We could finish anywhere from 1st to 5th depending on the outcomes of the games next weekend but we're in.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Colorado Goes For 4-0 Over Canada

Colorado's own South Park backs the Rapids

Well its all come down to this, a home-and-home against Vancouver for a spot in the playoffs.  The Rapids can essentially clinch (barring San Jose suddenly scoring double-digit goals over the next two games) with a win and a LA win or draw.  If Colorado, Seattle, and LA all win the Rapids will clinch a playoff spot with no ability to move up from the 5 seed.  Vancouver is still in the running, but will be eliminated with a loss.  Game time tomorrow is 4pm and the game is on Alttiude for the first 30 minutes and Altitude 2 for the full game (948 in HD on Denver Comcast).  Tailgate starts at 1pm for the final regular-season home game with a baked potato bar added to the normal layout.

Injury Report:
OUT: DF Davy Armstrong (R ACL surgery); DF Kory Kindle (sports hernia)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Dillon Powers (concussion); MF Jamie Smith (R knee)

Disciplinary Report:

FW Charles Eloundou - Still waiting on International Transfer Certificate

Powers didn't participate in practice today so I'm assuming he won't be available tomorrow.  Otherwise we're at pretty close to full strength but Dillon is a big loss.  Vancouver has 3 players questionable so they're coming it at close to full strength as well.  My guess at our XI:

Torres and Brown both played with their National Teams on Tuesday but I think it will be all hands on deck for this one.  Anything less than a win puts our playoff hopes in jeopardy.  If for some reason they aren't starting it will probably be Buddle and Harris.

Key To Look For: Attack.  Two out of the last three games we've had a combined 1 shot on goal.  We can't afford that against Vancouver, we have to attack early and often.

Prediction: 2-1 win, goals by Torres and Brown.  Its going to be tight and this won't be an "easy" win like the 2-0 win over Vancouver in August felt like.  In the end though the home field advantage will be enough to get us through.  I also think LA will get a result over San Jose on Sunday, putting us in the playoffs this weekend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Playoff Race Status - October 17th

Things are getting tight as we run in to the end of the season.  Right now everybody has 2 games left and the standings look like this:

Recent results have pretty much gone against us but we still control our own destiny.  Two wins and we're in no matter what.  Anything less than that will depend on results in other games.  We can clinch as soon as Sunday if results go our way.  Here's what we're rooting for this weekend:

Seattle @ Dallas: Dallas is eliminated so any points they take off of a playoff candidate is a good thing.  A Dallas win would be ideal.

FSL @ Portland: Portland, of course.  Technically a Portland win eliminates us from a chance at the top spot but I don't think we're getting there anyway and anything that hurts FSL is good.

San Jose @ LA: If we win on Saturday we clinch a playoff spot if LA gets any points out of this game.  I think the best result is a draw as it clinches our playoff spot but leaves LA close enough to catch in the final week.  Technically San Jose could catch us after a draw, but they would have to outscore us by 9 in two games, so its all but mathematically clinched.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rapids Powerless In San Jose

A long end of the work week and a busy weekend kept me from getting to this recap until now.  Sadly its not like I missed much.  Colorado had no attack and very little defense in San Jose Wednesday night.  They had 0 shots on goal and gave opportunity after opportunity to the E-Quakes.  Eventually Wondolowski broke through, heading a corner home int he second half.  Only some brilliant work from Irwin and a pair of kick saves from Moor kept the score 1-0.

My key to the game was the play of the fill-ins.  Harris and Buddle were pretty bad, Rivero was adequate.

Random Thoughts:
  • Combined in the last two road games with Brown and Torres starting on the bench the Rapids have had a whopping 1 shot on goal (in Portland).  At home, with Brown and Torres starting, they scored 4 first half goals and 5 goals total.  No matter how much Brown (90 minutes on Friday for Jamaica) and Torres (2nd half sub on Friday for Panama) play tomorrow night they MUST start on Saturday against Vancouver.  We have no attack without them.
  • Moor's double kick save was the save of the week...for about 2 minutes.  Then Irwin palmed away a sure goal over the bar.  Sadly the ensuing corner kick is when Wondolowski scored.
  • I have no idea what our defense was doing, but San Jose had more open looks at the goal then I've seen in the last 2-3 games combined.
  • Vancouver hammered Seattle Wednesday night, then Seattle lost to Portland yesterday.  Suddenly that 5-1 win doesn't look so impressive.
  • BTW, since I flipped the coin Seattle has been outscored 10-2 in 3 losses.  Coincidence?  ;)
  • The Rapids still control their own destiny.  With a win on Saturday over Vancouver the Whitecaps will be eliminated from the playoff race.  The Rapids can clinch then with a win in Vancouver on the 27th.  They would also clinch with any San Jose loss, and all but mathematically clinch with a San Jose draw.  Anything short of a win Saturday though puts our playoff hopes in extreme jeopardy.
Player of the Match: Clint Irwin.  A defense that allows that many free looks can't have a player of the match, nor can an attack that gets 0 shots on goal.  That leaves Irwin as the logical choice, and he earned it with that save of the week candidate alone.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Coin-Flip Photos

Game recap tonight, hopefully, but I want to get these up so my wife can send out the link to her family.  These are from the coin-flip I got to do at the Rapids last home game.
Showing the coin

That yellow spot above my head is the coin we're all looking at

How did it land?

Seattle's choice

Post-flip picture #1
(L-R: AR Corey Parker, 4th Official Baldomero Toledo, Sounders Captain Mauro Rosales, Jake Nuechterlein, Me, Rapids Captain Drew Moor, CR David Gantar, AR Phil Briere)

Post flip picture #2

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Call Up

Getting harder and harder not to repeat myself on these

The Rapids have a quick turn around as they head out to the Bay Area tomorrow for a final matchup with the Earthquakes.  With a win and a Vancouver loss or draw the Rapids will clinch a playoff berth.  Even without the Vancouver result a win will prevent San Jose from being able to pass Colorado.  A loss puts San Jose within a point of the Rapids.  Game time tomorrow is 8:30pm for the weeknight game and Fleming and 'Celo will have the call on Altitude.  The watch party will be at the British Bulldog.

Injury Report:
OUT: DF Davy Armstrong (R ACL surgery); DF Kory Kindle (sports hernia)' MF Dillon Powers (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Jamie Smith (R knee)

Disciplinary Report:

FW Deshorn Brown - Jamaican National Team
FW Charles Eloundou - Still waiting on International Transfer Certificate
FW Gabriel Torres - Panamanian National Team

That's a bad set of missing players, but San Jose is equally hurting.  They've got two callups as well along with a suspended starter in Lenhart and 6 players on IR (including former Rapid Mehdi Ballouchy).  My guess at our starting XI:

With the missing players the lineup seems fairly obvious.  The only question mark is if LaBrocca slots in somewhere over a Rivero or Sanchez. 

Key To Look For: The play of the fill-ins.  Buddle and Harris have managed adequately, but  San Jose will be playing for their season tomorrow and they've got nothing to lose.  Buddle and Harris will have to step up.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Sanchez.  I think the missing players will be enough to make it difficult to get the 3 points in this one.  The draw will be enough to pretty much remove everyone but Vancouver as a threat to a playoff spot, but we'll need the win next week against Vancouver.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tonight's Word Is Dismantled

Well, I didn't see that coming.  Colorado took Seattle to the woodshed in the first half, scoring almost at will, and spotted themselves a 4-0 lead at half en route to a 5-1 win over the league leaders.  The game started with my coin flip, won by the Sounders unfortunately, but that actually worked in the Rapids favor.  They have been working on a kickoff play all season and Saturday night it worked to perfection, putting Deshorn Brown through on a Torres pas and the rookie slotted it home for the 2nd fasted goal in MLS history, just 13 seconds into the game.

10 minutes later it was time for the Rapids other rookie to get on the board.  Vicente Sanchez saw that the Sounders were slow getting back on a corner kick and called for a ball quickly.  He crossed it in and Powers read what Sanchez was planning and crashed in to head it home for the 2-0 lead.

Brown wasn't done though, taking a pass from Powers, fighting through Yedlin's challenge, and beat Gspurning near post for his second goal of the night and ninth of the season.  Captain Drew Moor got into the act almost by accident in the 41st minute as another corner was knocked towards goal by Hendry Thomas but deflected off Moor and into the goal, giving the scoring credit to Drew.

The second half was a bit calmer, as the Rapids eased off the accelerator, having the game in hand.  After a rousing chorus of "Portland's Better!" from the Terraces Eddie Johnson would get Seattle on the board, taking advantage of a mis-communication in the Rapids defense to get a breakaway.  The Sounders got close a couple of other times but eventually gave up a response as just before the end of the game Gabriel Torres scored his first goal as a Rapid, curling a shot past the far post to finish the rout.

My key to the game was shaking off the rust.  Yeah, that took all of 13 seconds.

Random Thoughts:
  • Awesome tifo from C38 to start the game, and bonus points for featuring Rapidman!
  •  This game could have easily been 8-2.  The Rapids hit the crossbar on two free kicks and Gspurning had to make back-to-back point blank saves.  Irwin equaled Gspurning's saves with a little help from Drew Moor.
  • This is only the 3rd time the Rapids have scored 5 goals in a match.  They beat New England 5-2 at home in 2002 (in what would be Fernando Clavio's last game in charge of the Revs) and NY 5-4 in NY in 2008.
  • Sanchez and Torres showed ball work that we haven't seen in a Rapids kit since Pareja's fellow countryman Carlos Valderrama.  Nothing on the team matched El Pibe's hair though.
  • The forward combo of Sanchez - Torres - Brown is what a lot of fans (including me) have been hoping for for a few games and it paid off in spades with 3 goals and 3 assists.
  • Powers had a great game in midfield, overshadowed by Brown's great game.  Clearly the best draft class we've had maybe ever.
  • The only debate left in the Rookie of the Year competition is which Rapid should get it.  I'm on Team Deshorn now.  DeAndre Yedlin has been a trendy pick for some in the media, but seeing him get worked by fellow-rookie Brown on his way to putting up the 2nd best scoring number ever by a rookie should end any thought that Yedlin could win it.
  • Sanchez was great seeing that Seattle was sleeping on the corner and taking advantage.  He got both his assists off of corner kicks, which is something we've struggled with this season as Rivero's corners are not good.
  • Eddie Johnson told the Terraces to STFU after he scored,, sticking his tongue out at them.  This as the Sounders were still down 3 goals.  Great job by C38 getting into his head, stay classy EJ.  Remember you negotiated with the Rapids just to get back into the league before the Sounders swooped in to trump the Rapids trade offer with Toronto.
  • Torres needed that goal before heading off to play for Panama again.
  • Had a great time doing the coin flip, thanks to the Rapids for the experience!
  • Colorado can clinch a playoff spot with a win over San Jose and a Vancouver loss or draw on Wednesday .
Player of the Match: Deshorn Brown.  His first multi-goal game took him past Clint Dempsey for second on list for goals by a rookie.  He was rewarded with his first callup for the Jamaican National Team for their World Cup Qualifiers against the U.S. and Honduras next week.  He'll miss the San Jose game on Wednesday but he'll have the two games against Vancouver to try to meet or break the rookie goal-scoring record set by fellow Jamaican Damani Ralph at 11 goals.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rapids Face Dempsey-less Sounders

Important coin flip tomorrow

Colorado begins the final four game run of the season tomorrow with a nationally televised game against my hometown.  The sounders flew into Denver today without designated player Clint Dempsey who is still recovering from a hamstring pull, so that helps the Rapids chances.  Game time tomorrow for the telecast on NBC Sports is scheduled for 8pm, which means kickoff will really be around 8:20 or 8:25.  The tailgate, featuring the annual chili-cookoff, will start at 5pm.

If you don't like the direction the Rapids are playing in the first half then you can blame me.  I won the team's contest to flip the coin for this match so it will be me at midfield before the game.  Hopefully I don't screw it up. ;)

Injury Report:
OUT: DF Davy Armstrong (R ACL surgery); DF Kory Kindle (sports hernia)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Jamie Smith (R knee)

Disciplinary Report:

FW Charles Eloundou - Still waiting on International Transfer Certificate

Yes, Jamie Smith is still on this team, though it doesn't look like he'll be playing tomorrow night.  That said, he probably wasn't going to play if he's healthy. ;)  Other than that everyone who's played this season is available including Diego Calderon.  Seattle has a player out and seven questionable (including Dempsey) so they're hurting.  My guess at our XI:

Torres will hopefully start again but with Pareja who knows.  I'm sure Buddle will start in the middle though that should really be Torres with Brown on the right.  Maybe we see Powers and Rivero but odds are Powers and Sturgis. 

Key To Look For: Shaking off the rust.  Lately after a bye week we've looked pretty bad, we can't afford that this week.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Torres.  Torres has to score eventually, right?  Seattle is playing well and I expect that to continue, but the home field advantage is enough to get us a vital point in the playoff race.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Playoff Race Status - October 1

A mostly good weekend of results for the Rapids leaves the standings looking like this:
Vancouver's and Dallas' losses really put them behind the 8-ball, but San Jose has jumped up to be the biggest threat with their win.  Still the Rapids have control and the other teams have to hope they (or LA) stumble.  Colorado's magic number to clinch is 9, so that's winning 3 of 4 or having the trio behind us dump an equivalent number of points (9 for San Jose and Vancouver, 8 for Dallas).

Even though we have 3 of our 4 games against Vancouver and San Jose, 2 wins or 2 wins and a draw isn't enough to clinch a playoff spot on our own, no matter what combination of games gets us there.  That said, 2 wins gives nobody room for error.  That would put us at 51 points, with Dallas being eliminated if they don't win every game and Vancouver and San Jose being eliminated with 1 loss or 2 draws.  Given that we can only get to 2 wins by giving one (or both) of those final two teams a loss that puts us in good shape.  LA faces the same dilemma we do, so that's one more team that would need to get results to leave us out of the playoffs.

So this weekend's game against Seattle isn't critical but we can really turn the screws on the rest of the conference with a win.  We can't afford to lose to San Jose next Wednesday if we lose though, so our goal this week needs to be at least 3 points.  2 might do it but I wouldn't want to risk it.  The other games we care about:

Dallas @ FSL: Again, I refuse to root for FSL even if its probably the best result, so go Dallas!

Chivas @ LA: I suppose a Chivas result is too much to hope for here.

Portland @ Vancouver: Vancouver losing is best, but it means there will be almost no chance to catch Portland for 3rd place.  Maybe a draw wouldn't be horrible?

Wednesday the 9th:
Vancouver @ Seattle: Obviously we want a Seattle win.