I've been watching the Colorado Rapids play for a pretty long time. That might have been the worst first half of football that I can recall seeing them play in that entire stretch.
When a team goes down two goals 15 minutes into a match, there's usually not much room for optimism but somehow the Rapids managed to pull a result out of what looked like 45 minutes of nothing, drawing Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night in front of a raucous crowd of over 15,000 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
All right, let's cover that putrid first half and get it over with so we can get to the good stuff.
I'll admit, I chuckled a bit when Toronto FC let in a goal from DC United 50 seconds into their match today so I suppose it was Karma that led Teal Bunbury's head so openly onto the ball and into the net 62 seconds into the match against Colorado. Still, it wasn't the end of the world -- teams get caught sleeping right at the start all the time and come back to win or draw easily as long as they go for it.
The problem is, the Rapids weren't going for it. Other than Conor Casey, who put a couple of good chances on net, everyone seemed to be either asleep or uninterested in doing much of anything during that first half. It got even worse when the laziness led to yet another goal by Bunbury only twelve minutes after the first. It was fortunate that the Rapids didn't concede yet another one, Kansas certainly had some chances to make it 3-0 and put the game out of reach.
Fortunately, Oscar Pareja was apparently able to pump the boys up with his half time talk... or at least, something like that. They came out of the gate looking like a completely different team even though there had been no substitutes or changes in the style of play. They started possessing and passing crisply and taking their chances on net, something they had been wary of doing for the first 45.
Eventually, it paid off when Bobby Convey slid into Martin Rivero from behind, earning a yellow card and free kick from 40 yards out or so. It worked out well in the end as Rivero laid a beautiful cross right onto the head of... Tyrone Marshall? Yeah, Tyrone Marshall. That pushed it back to 2-1 and suddenly, the Rapids believed in themselves again.
They struck off another set piece in the 60th minute as a Jeff Larentowicz bullet shot was tapped away but not out by Jimmy Nielsen, scooped up by Conor Casey and then shipped across the box to a wide open Kosuke Kimura, scoring his first goal of the season and the second by a defender in the game to make it 2-2. Impossible to believe after that first half we had seen the boys fight back for a tie -- not since 2006 have the Rapids come back from 2-0 down to get a result.
Also, whoever had money on Casey's first point with the team this year being an assist just got paid out big.
After that point the game became a shootout with both teams attacking well. Kansas City in particular looked dangerous and ready to score many times near the end after getting a series of corner kicks. In the end, there was nothing to any of the attacks worth mentioning and it ended in a 2-2 draw, which I think every Rapids fan in the house was grateful for considering what we had seen early on.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Tyrone Marshall. Give credit where credit is due, not only did he score but his defending was immaculate as the game went along. I won't say that this performance made up for all the awful games he had before, but it certainly helped!
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Jaime Castrillon. Played a blissfully mediocre game even after the team resurgence in the second half. His passes weren't connecting and he looked tired out there. Wells Thompson wasn't great either but his passing did have a lot more purpose to it overall.