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. Chivas USA.
At this point, we're really just trying to see how many times in a row we can fit the phrase 'sexy football' into the titles of these articles.
Anyway, in years past while the Rapids were playing Gary Smith style ball, the only thing 'sexy football' about the Rapids was Omar Cummings. The Jamaican was the guy making the pretty passes and the sharp runs all over the field in order to make the best looking goals happen, in sharp contrast to the rest of the team that spent their time defending and countering.
Sadly, Omar seemed to have lost his mojo last season with most of the team around him out injured and looked pretty mediocre at the start of this season playing a center forward role that left him isolated and without most of the skills that make him a great footballer.In the new attacking 4-4-2 -- make no mistake, switching to that 4-4-2 did not kill off the attacking mentality of the team simply because they left that fake 4-3-3 they had been squandering in -- Omar got moved back and to the right side a bit, out of the center and back into his comfort zone with Tony Cascio helping him up top as a strike partner.
As we've been saying all year, Omar just needs a solid strike partner and with Cascio clearing the top out that's just what he got.
Looking at Cummings' heat map, he looks perfectly at home on the right side of the pitch just like old times when he was paired with Conor Casey in 2010 and 2011. Unsurprisingly, he put up some of his best numbers of the season as well from that spot even if a goal wasn't included among them. An 18/8 passing ratio with five key passes and an assist for a striker aren't just good numbers, they're great numbers.
Of course, his runs aren't shown on the Opta chalkboard but all you needed to do was watch the game to see how much more cutting and sharp his runs were, as being on the side allowed him to use his speed to his advantage like old times. He got four shots during the game because he was in the positions to do so far more often than he had been earlier in the year.
Now, just wait until he and Conor Casey are paired back up. Then the fun really begins.