Remember last season, when the Rapids played Sporting Kansas City at Dick's Sporting Goods Park? That game ended in a 2-2 draw, but featured what I called one of the worst first halves of soccer in Rapids history. We saw a very similar game this time around, but there was no heroic finish this time coming from Tyrone Marshall and Kosuke Kimura (No, seriously) in the second half, as the Rapids were thoroughly trod upon at Sporting Park in a 2-1 finish that flattered the visitors greatly.
To call the first-half performance a display of pickled dog shit would be a great disservice to the integrity of pickled dog shit. I have to assume that however MLS determines possession, they misfired on the lower side by only giving 63% of it to the Sporks in the first half, because the Rapids were hilariously bad at holding the ball. (If not for the Rapids holding 79% of the possession in the final five minutes of the half, it would have been much worse.)
You know that game you occasionally see your team pull off in Football Manager, the one where your team literally loses the ball every single time they touch it and accidentally keeps kicking it into touch instead of toward anyone wearing the same jersey as them? That game where you punch your keyboard and restart because, "that has never happened in real life, for crying out loud." Well, this was that game in real life. Marcelo Balboa noted several times that they weren't able to string more than three passes together, and it was all because of a terrible midfield effort. Dillon Powers had been due for a terrible rookie performance all season, and his version of Deshorn Brown's game against Chivas USA came today.
Powers wasn't helped out at all by his mates in the midfield, as Nathan Sturgis put on a performance in his 100th MLS appearance more reminiscent of his first 80 than his most recent 20 and Hendry Thomas seemed more interested in getting stuck in than making his usual smart choices in the pass. Powers being at the top of the whole thing kept the ball from ever getting near the forwards though, and only a complete fluke of a play that led to a Deshorn Brown header from 20 yards out was their only real chance.The fullbacks were also terrible, with Chris Klute having perhaps his worst game as a Rapid and Marvell Wynne spending far too much time in defensive duty and not anywhere enough making the cutting runs we've seen up the right side before.
Gabriel Torres and Vicente Sanchez looked frustrated all evening, as only Sanchez was only able to get any touches on the ball. Torres touched the ball three times in the entire first half. Three times. One of those times was the opening kickoff. The other two were nowhere near the box, as he was called to track back so often that he was never able to get in dangerous areas and didn't have the closing speed of Deshorn Brown to get to them on the longballs that the Rapids tried to launch.
Funny enough, despite all that, it still took an incredible goal to finally put the Sporks on top. Benny Feilhaber scored a super finish with the outside of his boot in the 33rd minute, one which will be right in the mixer with Javier Morales' finish against Portland in the Goal of the Week discussion.
So that was the first half. We'll cover the second half as well, but there wasn't nearly as much to say. Colorado came out of the locker room looking much more composed after a semi-decent spell to end the first half, but couldn't get much out of their newfound possession and chance creation. Martin Rivero and Edson Buddle's introductions to the game helped out a little, but it still took a complete fluke to get the Rapids on the board. A shot from Buddle, for the second week in a row, deflected into the net in the 77th minute. None of us were complaining, mind you, but it still didn't feel like the Rapids deserved much of anything out of that game. The feeling was made worse when Buddle missed an absolute sitter only a few minutes later after stealing the ball right at the top of the 18-yard box.
Unfortunately, those fears were realized when Graham Zusi was left about as wide open as a man can be left in the box in the 88th minute, where he calmly finished the game off with Dillon Powers trying and failing to make an onrushing challenge.
Also, the pitch was really, really bad, but that had nothing to do with anything.
Fortunately, this was always a game we were looking at as a potential loss. Not many teams go into Sporting Park and come out with points, especially teams whose blades looked as dull as Colorado's did after two weeks off. If they lose the match against LA coming up next, then we may have a real problem.