Colorado Rapids traveled to Harrison, New Jersey to take on New York Red Bulls in their season opener. In addition to it being the opener for the Rapids, it was also the first match in the Pablo Mastroeni era. The Burgundy Boys were greeted with sunny skies, a terrible looking pitch and a road point for their efforts. The controversial penalty kick will be the talking point of this match, but doing so would negate the solid effort put in by the Rapids.
Here is how I saw the match:
GK: John Berner 7
Making his Major League Soccer debut, the rookie out of Southern Illinois showed poise and and command of the goalkeeping area. Berner was solid for the entire game and could do little on the New York goal. His play left Rapids fans with little to fret about should Clint Irwin miss more time.
DEF: Shane O’Neill 5.5
As expected, O’Neill looked out of sorts starting at RB. Had communication issues with Marvell Wynne on the New York goal and Rapids fans have to hope that he either moves back in the center with Drew Moor or that O’Neill’s comfort level improves as the season progresses.
DEF: Marvell Wynne 5.5
Wynne had some characteristic plays for him that demonstrated his speed and physicality, but his miscommunication with O’Neill hurt him by leaving that #14 guy for New York wide open for the Red Bulls goal.
DEF: Drew Moor 7
Captain Colorado had a solid debut in the back and had multiple crucial clearances that otherwise could have left the Rapids exposed. A critical stat to think about when looking at the defense as a whole: the Red Bulls had two shots on goal and that is a credit to Moor and his organization in the back.
DEF: Chris Klute 6.5
Kulte left the match early in the second half with a hamstring strain, but showed flashes throughout his 52 minutes why he is the best left back in MLS. No word yet on how long he could be out, but Rapids fans will be hoping for a short spell on the trainers table.
MID: Nick LaBrocca 8
LaBrocca has never been the flashiest of players, but he put in 90 solid minutes clogging the midfield, taking timely and powerful shots and had crisp passing. He was a physical presence and help to limit New York to 11 chances on the day.
MID: Jose Mari 7
A solid debut by the Spaniard who work with LaBrocca to clog the midfield. Finished with 81% passing accuracy on the day and had a nifty back heel that could have been the Rapids first goal.
MID: Dillon Serna 8
A tremendous debut for the 19 year old who showed flash, pace, and confidence throughout his 90 minute shift. It is going to be exciting to see Serna progress this year.
MID: Dillon Powers 6.5
A good start for Powers as he continues to climb back to full fitness. Left in the middle of the second half with a nasty gash on his mullet covered head. Worked up and down the pitch but you could tell he was not at 100% yet. That should change in the next couple of weeks.
MID: Gabriel Torres 5
A disappointing start to the season for Torres who could not seem to get into the game. Whether it was starting on the left side or that he had to drop back so much, Torres just looked out of sorts.
F: Deshorn Brown 5
When Brown is hot, he is deadly. When he is cold, you get a rather pedestrian 90 minutes from him. Not his best game and he should have done better with the chances that were afforded to him.
Marc Burch 6.5
A solid 38 minutes for Burch in his debut for the Rapids. Came on as an injury substitute for Klute and would be in line for more minutes if Klute is out for an extended time period.
Well… he did not do much in his almost 30 minutes of work, but he did suffer the foul in the penalty area that led to the penalty kick.
Sanchez opened his account for the year, converting a 72nd minute penalty kick. He was lively and energetic in his short shift, however did pick up a needless yellow card late in the game for dissent.