The second round of the 2014 Major League Soccer is in the books and Colorado Rapids put in a solid (if not surprising according to the National Media) 90 minutes in Harrison, New Jersey. A 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls was their reward for a hard fought and physical match against the defending Supporters Shield winners. Much will be made of the disputed penalty awarded to the Rapids, but that glosses over the strong performance put in by the Burgundy Boys. Win at home and tie on the road is the motto and the Rapids are off to a strong start.
Here is The Good, The Bad, The Ugly—Colorado Rapids, Round Two
The Good—Tough Decisions, Quality Results
Mastroeni had some difficult selection decisions to make and for the most part those decisions paid off. Instead of starting Nathan Sturgis in a defensive midfielder role, Nick LaBrocca got the start and proved his coach made the right decision. LaBrocca put in a Man of the Match performance and showed the pace, physicality and vision that are required for a DM.
Dillon Serna also started the match (his first start and second MLS game) and was solid for his 90 minutes. Starting a 19 year old against a veteran team like the Red Bulls is risky, but it paid off in spades. Serna was extremely active on and off the ball and had a front foot mentality throughout the match.
Not entirely a surprise, but there seemed to be some difficulties in the back between Marvell Wynne and Shane O’Neill. Both players were playing in different roles then in 2013 and there were some obvious issues on the Red Bulls goal. I would expect that these would get ironed out (assuming O’Neill stays at RB and Wynne at CB) as the season wears on, but both had some culpability on the goal.
Gabriel Torres and Deshorn Brown seemed to have difficulty with their communication as well. Torres struggled in his midfield role and looked to find Brown on occasions, but could not get the passes where they needed to go. Brown had difficulties playing as the lone striker and I he looks to be better suited to the wing.
The Ugly—The Injury Bug
Word trickled out on Tuesday that Chris Klute will be out "a few weeks" and that Clint Irwin is not yet 100% and may miss the Portland Timbers match this week. In years past this would be something that would make Rapids fans groan, but there were some solid performances put in by John Berner in goal and Marc Burch at LB in New York. This will soften the blow with missing Irwin and Klute.
The first game is done and now the Rapids enjoy a two game home-stand against the Timbers (led the Western Conference in points in 2013) and Sporting Kansas City (defending MLS Cup Champions). Not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but the Rapids play very well at DSGP and would expect to see three points on Saturday against the Timbers.