Another road game and another result for the "team that no one talks about" in Major League Soccer. The Colorado Rapids tied San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium Saturday night in a testy match that was filled with the usual flopping and whining that you expect from a San Jose team. It was not the best display of professional football, but the Rapids ground out another road draw to even their record on the year as they prepare for three in a row at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Cue up the Ennio Morricone Music for The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, Week 12 edition.
The Good: Nathan Sturgis. He is a perfect example of the "next man up" philosophy employed by the Rapids this year. Sturgis put in another Man of the Match performance with a goal and solid play in the midfield. He nearly won it for the Rapids when his second half header hit the crossbar and was able to work the ball upfield and paired well with Pablo Mastroeni in the midfield. Sturgis has fit in so well with the team that people are forgetting who he was traded for.
The Bad: The San Jose goal. There were a number of problems with this goal. From the Shane O'Neill yellow card on the play to the poor reaction and footwork from Clint Irwin, it was a goal that could have been prevented. Both Irwin and O'Neill are young players and these mistakes are bound to happen, but it is unfortunate that the team gave up a goal in this manner. Overall, both young Rapids had good games, but these plays were not the best representation of their effort.
The Ugly: Atiba Harris. How in the world he missed that goal in the first half, I will never know. The ball was on a tee and he should have slammed it home. If the Rapids are serious about competing and being a playoff team, they simply can't miss easy goals like that. It makes you wonder what happens with a more clinical finisher, such as one Edson Buddle, does with that ball. My sense is that the Rapids walk out of Buck Shaw with 3 points if he was on the field for that play.
The Rapids have played 12 games so far in 2013 and are sitting at 16 points with a record of 4-4-4. After the disastrous first month that saw the Rapids take 1 point out of a possible 12, they have rebounded with a crisp 4-1-3 clip. They are about to start a three game home-stand and play a Chivas USA team on Saturday that is ripe for a proper hammering. Improved play and an amazing sense of resiliency has raised expectations for the Rapids and nothing short of three wins on this home-stand is expected.