MLS Match Review: Real Salt Lake 0, Colorado Rapids 0

Kyle’s Weekly Colorado Corner: Three Thumbs Down, Three Thumbs Up!

I don’t have six thumbs, but have chosen to cover three positives and three negatives from matches to liven up the standard game recap. Feel free to share your own thumbs in the comments, no matter who you were cheering for! I love to hear from the other side, and for that matter, my own brethren and sistren, which our lovely editor has confirmed was a Middle English word so I am totally using it.

Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers (8) reacts after missing the goal on a penalty kick during MLS action in Sandy Sunday, June 7, 2015. The game ended in a tie. (Photo Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers (8) reacts after missing the goal on a penalty kick during MLS action in Sandy Sunday, June 7, 2015. Photo Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Sunday’s draw left the Rapids at the bottom of the Western Conference in tenth place with 14 points and a record of 2-4-8. Real Salt Lake stayed in ninth place in the West, with a record of 4-5-6 and 18 points.

Three thumbs down:

First thumb down goes to Pablo’s subbing in of Nick LaBrocca. Of all the people to sub in, you picked LaBrocca. And to take Ramírez out… I just do not understand. Ramírez had two shots, neither on target, and two fouls, so he hadn’t had the best of first halves, but guys who stayed in the game longer than he had no more shots than he did and no fewer average fouls. I also am just not the world’s biggest Nicky L. fan, considering his penchant for getting yellows (fortunately not this time), so I rarely have a good word for him. Sorry Nick!

Second thumb down goes to Dillon Powers’ whiff of a PK late in the game. It was not pretty. I understand that you can’t get every PK every time, but this one induced physical pain. To watch Powers, such a talented young player, miss by so much, I just… I can’t. There’s a difference between “missed it by that much!” and “wow that was really off.” Hopefully that was his one really bad penalty kick for the season and we’re past it.

Third thumb down goes to Pablo’s post-game attitude. I’m really tired of reading quotes like “It goes without saying — we’ve been on the wrong side of a lot of decisions… That being said, you want to score those.” Pablo, what does that mean?! Whichever team wins is on the right side of a decision – that’s kind of the point of the game. I hate when people say “such and such team deserved to win” – no they didn’t, or they would have won. Ask my husband, I loved the idea of Pablo being coach. Yay, a former Colorado player! A legend, at that! But if I have to hear Pablo recite more platitudes like, “At the end of the day we fell short, but it wasn’t for lack of creating a couple of good opportunities,” I’ll be reconsidering my position. I’m ready for some accountability. (editor’s note: Sadly Kyle, that is such a commonly stated quote from coaches, there’s gotta be a handbook. i.e. “It’s the nature of the game.” My feeling, sometimes there are no good reasons/excuses, without throwing someone under the bus.) 

Three thumbs up:

First thumb up goes to the progress down the field. While RSL didn’t look fabulous, we still looked a little bit better. We just edged them out in possession, at 50.3% vs. 49.7% (a totally statistically insignificant percentage difference!), didn’t have the worst shot accuracy ever, and even had ten shots on target. I like graphs. Here, have one.

from MLS Match Center
from MLS Match Center:

Those shots are not half bad!

Second thumb up goes to the passing. If you recall, I gave a thumb down to the passing in Seattle… so this is a good thing. It may have something to do with the real grass at RioT, or maybe we just got our stuff together. Comparing the numbers from that game to this one, overall passing accuracy increased 12% to 77%, with passing accuracy in the final third increasing 22% to 67%. That’s really important – if you can’t pass in the final third, you can’t finish. The end.

Third thumb up goes to Axel Sjöberg. I seriously love watching this guy play. He’s twice as tall as anyone out there, hasn’t quite figured out what is and isn’t an appropriate tackle (hence the yellow card), and even got two shots from center back. You won’t see Jared Watts doing that. I also think we need to have a pow-wow on how to pronounce his name. At the beginning of the season we heard Fleming and Balboa saying “hoober,” now I hear them saying “shoober,” then the ESPN guys were saying “hoobrey,” so I think I need to maybe ask someone who actually speaks Swedish. Can anyone help me out? (editor’s note: why yes, “whoy-bury” and this video is simply adorable too… fast forward to 2:20 if you don’t have time.)

So who gets your thumbs down and up this game, or where was I completely off target? Be sure to let me know and come back for the next Rapids game, a US Open Cup game against our neighbors, Switchbacks FC! 

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