Chalk Talk - Omar Cummings Improves

March 10, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids Omar Cummings kicks the ball during the second half against the Columbus Crew at the Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

As with last year, Burgundy Wave is going to use the wonderful Chalk Board feature from OptaSports to dissect the play of a player or two from the Colorado Rapids after every game. Follow along on the chalkboard for the Colorado Rapids vs. Columbus Crew.

Omar Cummings didn't have a very good year in 2011, in stark contrast to his wonderful 2010. Going into 2012, we all knew that Omar needed to improve his year for the Rapids to improve, especially since he'd scored in both the last two home openers for the Rapids and the last two games against Columbus at home.

The good news is that he had a pretty good showing, even without a goal.

There was plenty of good to take out of this game for Omar. He roamed the field well as he did in 2010 because the offense was no longer on his shoulders under the new system, and he had plenty of chances to make things happen and made, for the most part, smart decisions up top as the central striker in the new 4-3-3.

Omar's passing wasn't incredibly successful - almost twice as many unsuccessful passes as successful ones - and the Crew targeted him early and often with 19 tackles against him that ended in the Crew getting the ball back. Fortunately, even with all the pressure they were putting on him there were chances.

Oooh, there were chances.

He escaped the defense plenty of times and sliced through them like butter on the occasions where he didn't escape 'em. The Chalkboard says only the raw numbers - five shots, one blocked and one on goal. Three were inside the box, a stark contrast to last year's seeming need to shoot from 20+ yards out every time. Those chances were fantastic, though. Sure he didn't score, but he came so close that the game could have ended 5-0 if his accuracy were even a touch better.

Omar can't allow himself to become frustrated like he looked a few times in that game; I maintain that frustration more than anything was what made his season so awful last year. He showed enough in that game to show that he's back to his old self, which is a great sign.

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