They say football is a game of two halves, and that's the sort of statement that is both true and so true as to be banal. Like when John Madden says "He can't catch it if you knock it down" in the course of his commentary on the video game of the same name. But, it remains true in spite of its banality. The Rapids had a first half replete with botched chances, frustrated snuffed and scuffed shots, though they maintained a confident and flowing possession rather uninterrupted by what can only be characterized as a dour (or possibly just plain bored) New York Red Bulls side who were more interested in not conceding goals than generating any kind of offensive magic.
Tactically, Oscar Pareja made few adjustments from the last game's successful formula, but also realized the same things during the course of the game: mainly, that Nick LaBrocca isn't the guy you put in when you need to inject some excitement into match. DeShorn Brown's introduction to the match immediately brought some life and exuberance to the Rapids attack. Tony Cascio went in for a misfiring Atiba Harris who at first seemed fairly bemused by his substitution. I was impressed with Harris' ability to get in good positions but his final touch was lacking. Perhaps hoping to reward Cascio's performance in the last match with some more minutes, Pareja put him in the match a bit earlier.
Cascio didn't have any last minute heroics, due to the fact that the Red Bulls were not interested in playing any kind of real attacking football a-la Montreal in either half.
The second half was improved at least in terms of finishing from the Rapids. Nathan Sturgis caught a lucky chance when the ball fell to him in the first half, which he put to the chest of keeper Luis Robles. But the second chance when the ball fell to him after a scramble in the box Sturgis did not waste, and put it in the back of the net. Later during a similar scramble in the box, the ball fell out to Chris Klute who put in a low square pass across the goal mouth onto the foot of a sliding DeShorn Brown who didn't miss from that distance. Appeals for an offside call by New York were not heard by the referee, who later in the match ruled Tim Cahill's late effort to get the Bulls back into the match to be offside (and upon review, he was correct).
The match also showcased the young Shane O'Neill the back line lining up on the right side. And as the game progressed O'Neill showed himself to be up to the task of shutting down Thierry Henry, which he did admirably. Keeping Henry's chances to a minimum and cutting off his angles. Great stuff from the youngster. Chris Klute also had another stellar performance. Moor and Mera on the whole looked more solid, but that may be more due to the fact that New York generated very little in terms of cogent offense.
Overall a good game for Rapids fans, would have been made better if New York had actually shown up to play.