Kyle’s Weekly Colorado Corner: Three Thumbs Down, Three Thumbs Up!
The Rapids have lost two in a row, first to Toronto FC and now to Houston Dynamo. With this win, the Dynamo have won two in a row after winning against Sporting Kansas City at home on Wednesday. The Rapids remain at the bottom of the Western Conference, while the Dynamo are just below the playoff line at seventh.
Three thumbs down:
First thumb down goes to all defensive hands on deck. While a 4-3-3 isn’t typically thought of as a heavy-handed defensive lineup, when Pablo plays it that’s generally how it goes. Dillon Powers isn’t a forward, he’s a midfielder, and there he was in the center of that top 3. Gaps truly showed in bringing the ball forward. It was seemingly impossible for the defense to get the ball up anywhere close to the Dynamo half of the field, and Clint Irwin had to come out of the box several times to clear it over the midfield. The flow through the field wasn’t great for the Rapids.
Second thumb down goes to just general confusion on the field. Go to the store and buy a puzzle. If you open the puzzle box and dump all the pieces on the floor, does that count as completing the puzzle? In the same way, does simply throwing a bunch of good soccer players on the field count as playing good soccer? It’s clear we have good players. Our team is not lacking in quality. Our team is lacking in cohesion and familiarity. Players kick the ball into the open field, they can’t read each other’s movements, it almost looks like they’ve never played together every time they step out onto the pitch. They are all great players. They just haven’t been put together.
Third thumb down goes to all that defense on the field and still, three goals against. Yes, I’m harping on the defensiveness again. At one point there were like, twelve defenders in the box and the Dynamo were still pushing and pushing and pushing in. I turned to my husband and screamed (over the sounds of the supporters, as we were sitting behind them), “HOW CAN THEY GET THAT CLOSE TO SCORING WHEN OUR WHOLE TEAM IS IN THE BOX?” I was befuddled at how almost the entire Rapids squad was squeezed between the posts but the Dynamo still had the ball and were still driving forward.
Three thumbs up:
First thumb up goes to Pablo’s first substitution. Pablo actually took out a defender (Sean St. Ledger) and put in a forward (Gaby Torres), converting to a 4-2-3-1 with Gaby at the top. This put Powers back in his natural midfield position and actually made everything significantly smoother. The second half in general was better than the first, but the change in the formation had a clear impact on play allowing for that flow in the center to start.
Second thumb up goes to Clint Irwin. A Rapids fan once said that if your man of the match is your goalkeeper, then your team is pretty bad. But here we are! In addition to some incredible saves, Irwin also did his best to move the ball around the field and did some Neuer-esque sweeper keeper-ing. Irwin is a great leader and one of my biggest fears is that he decides he wants out, to a team with a chance of winning.
Third thumb up goes to my last in-person game. I’m honestly shocked at the number of games we’ve been able to attend in person since leaving Colorado. This year we’ve been to two league games in Houston, one Open Cup game (I’d like to forget that one, thanks), one in Denver when we visited in April, and one legendary weekend in Chicago that just happened to have a Rapids game in it. While the game could have ended better, and they did rush the players off the field (probably because near the end of the game there was a small skirmish, and fans nearby threw things at the players), we got to see the Burgundy Boys in person, wave at them, cheer them on, and hold our scarves up. The thought of having to wait until next year to see them again makes me sad but I hope that between now and then we can rearrange ourselves and hold our heads up high. Win, loss, draw… whatever comes, I’m Rapids till I die.
HOU: Leonel Miranda (Giles Barnes, Will Bruin), 3′
COL: Vicente Sánchez, 8′
HOU: Giles Barnes (Will Bruin), 24′
COL: Vicente Sánchez (Dillon Powers), 44′
HOU: Brad Davis, 47′
So who gets your thumbs down and up this game, or where was I completely off target? Let me know and come back for next week’s game against Real Salt Lake (the Rocky Mountain Cup)!