April 28, 2012; Commerce City, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids forward Kamani Hill (13) reacts after his goal during the second half against Chivas USA at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The Colorado Rapids defeated Chivas USA 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
That would be the 'sexy football' we've been hearing so much about, then. For a game that before hand was hyped mostly about Conor Casey, the Colorado Rapids offense came out and showed that apparently they didn't really need him after all.
Of course, the first half wasn't exactly the prettiest display; it looked like the last three weeks repeated over again as the Rapids possessed the ball well and passed nicely but were unable to put the ball in the back of the net when it was all said and done. It looked like a trap game from the beginning, after all. A team with pretty good strikers and a hot goalkeeper coming into Colorado to face a team that couldn't find the back of the net and seemed to love giving up goals on counter attacks was not a recipe for success.
The last couple of games, during that three game losing skid, the Rapids came out after displays like that and improved in the second half though not enough to force their hands into games. They did come very close against LA but ended up with nothing to show for it. Fortunately, the Rapids chose Saturday night to do a bit of trend bucking.
Fun trend bucking as well. While they had been allowing so many goals on set pieces and counter attacks - the two sure ways to score against Colorado this year, it seemed - they turned that formula on its head and scored four goals in the second half on set pieces and counter attacks. Tony Cascio started the show when he took a great Martin Rivero cross up to the edge of the 18 and blasted one in that Dan Kennedy never even saw.
Chivas' best chance of the game came soon after in the 55th minute when a shot hit the crossbar and was swatted out by Matt Pickens before it could sneak through.
Kamani Hill was brought in as a late substitute for Rivero in the 70th minute and made a great impact on what had been a fairly even 1-0 game to that point. In the 82nd minute, Omar Cummings took a brilliant run down the near side and lobbed a low cross into the box that eluded three defenders and found Hill, who made no mistakes with his finish. 2-0 Rapids.
That goal broke the Rapids offense wide open, a break that we'd all been expecting and hoping to see for weeks now.
Ante Jazic got outclassed by Jeff Larentowicz two minutes later when he nutmegged past him into the box and Jazic's response was to pull him down by the shoulders. Penalty for Colorado taken by Larentowicz, 3-0 Rapids.
With a three goal lead, Oscar Pareja had no qualms putting Conor Casey in as stoppage time began and he showed immediately why he's the best striker on the Rapids. In his one (!!) minute of play he had two shots, both of which would have been goals on a luckier night. Fortunately for him, one of the shots he had that was blocked fell to Hill's foot and the late sub again showed why he was a great pick up through allocation. 4-0 Rapids, and in the 93rd minute that ended up being one of the last kicks of the game.
All in all, probably the best second half performance in a year that's been rife with pretty good second half performances.
Then again, it's just Chivas. When they put this performance up against Real Salt Lake or another highly ranked team, we'll have real cause to celebrate.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Kamani Hill. Didn't score the game winner, but there was a nervousness in the air before his first goal put the game essentially beyond doubt and opened the floodgates. Adding the second was just icing on the cake.
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Would it still be funny to call Chivas' defense past the 80th minute the 'goat' of the game?