The first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup got the Colorado Rapids a point out in Utah, and got us passed the hardest match of the rivalry, as the next two will be played at Dick’s. The Rapids couldn’t play their style of game, with Real Salt Lake dominating most of the match and applying a lot of pressure. But in the end, flashbacks to Gary Smith and a solid defense let us leave Utah with a 1-1 draw.
Matt Pickens- N/A
The injuries are already piling up, as Pickens went off early with a broken arm/wrist. He came just off his line to punch a ball out of the area and an RSL man collided with him and Pickens immediately went to the ground. We love you Pickens, we do! And wish you a speedy recovery!
Clint Irwin- 8
When Pickens was on the ground I was nervous we’d see Ceus in net again. I was happy to see Irwin instead. This was Irwin’s first MLS action ever and he really impressed. He had a lot of athletic saves and you could tell he was already a solid leader on the field. He kept organizing his defense and made some really good timed saves. When he charged off his line in the 63rd minute to gather up a loose ball I worried it would be his first huge mental lapse, but he came up with a great save and is the reason the Rapids came out of Salt Lake with a point.
Now I’m not a defensive genius on the pitch, but I felt that Mullan was a detriment to the Rapid’s back line in this match. I counted four separate times he left his man in the box to go after the ball, only to have that guy be wide open and have a good chance on goal. I felt like RSL was picking on him in the box and we were lucky they didn’t convert on one of his mistakes.
From my perspective, Calderon was supposed to be covering the man who took down Pickens, but he lost him as he went forward and collided with our keeper. Other than that, I thought he had a good game.
Moor started Brown’s 1st chance on goal from the back of the field as he quickly played the ball up. He was solid on defense, as usual. Though he did have a very risky tackle in the box that could have given RSL a penalty. He was lucky to get away with that one.
Marvel l Wynne- 5
Good game for Wynne. He was also solid on defense and created chances for us on the wings. It was good to have him out there to play that Gary Smith style of bunker ball.
Kevin Harbottle- 5
Harbottle had his moments of working the mid-field well. He had a great through ball to Brown to create the first chance on goal. But other than that he seemed a bit lost on the pitch and unsure of where to be.
It seemed like Powers stepped up this game as he really controlled the mid-field and pushed the ball forward. He and Brown are beginning to have some great chemistry as Powers is able to easily slot him the ball when to give Brown a chance on goal. One of these days soon they will be a dangerous combination.
All I can think of Thomas doing in this match is laying on the ground after a failed tackle as he is frantically spinning around trying to get at the ball. Just don’t go in for the tackle that hard if you’re gonna miss it! This is what set up RSL’s equalizing goal, as Thomas floundered on the ground. He also had a goal saving tackle earlier in the match, so his aggressive play isn’t all bad…but I didn’t like what I saw.
I was really happy to see Tony getting the start for this match. His energy brings a lot to the pitch and he was great at moving the ball forward. In the 79th minute he had a great chance on goal that he only didn’t convert because of a good save by Rimando. The ‘rebound’ on that shot was also a great chance for us. I like the opportunities Tony creates.
Close chance in the 14th minute. Closer chance in the 24th minute. GOOOOOAAAL, 37th minute. Nearly another goal in the 38th. This kid had a good game. He just kept getting in front of the RSL defense and causing them all sorts of problems. I really can’t wait to see him when he has more experience under his belt.
Atiba Harris – 5
Harris had two good chances on goal, and missed them both. He’s taking a lot of flak from Rapids fans for not converting and many think he shouldn’t be starting. I’m not sure I’m convinced yet though. He’s creating opportunities and good matchups. But his aggressive play is what worries me….he was carded for kicking an RSL player in the face…but wouldn’t any of us have done the same?
LaBrocca came on for Harbottle with 25 minutes left and I thought he played a good game. I might rather see him starting than Harbottle.
Jamie Smith – N/A
He only played ten minutes, didn’t do much because RSL was really pressing for the game winner the entire time he was on the pitch.