I don't think you could have asked for a better debut performance from Martin Rivero. The Colorado Rapids out-shot, out-possessed and out-pretty much everything else the Chicago Fire on Sunday night for their third win of the season and second at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Similar to the first, the Rapids took control early on - though their goals took some time to come - and held on for a 2-0 win with a superior performance.
Oh yeah, and that other new guy, Kamani Hill? Looks like he's not bad either.This one looked like it would be a Rapids oriented game from the start as they quickly began to dominate the possession game. Most of that was a noticable increase in the passing accuracy of the team and that was pretty much attributable in full to Martin Rivero. The man was a beast in the passing game all night long, and in fact everyone on the team looked good with the ball at their feet. Hell, Tony Cascio only had one unsuccessful pass all game long!
Even with the good play, the Rapids weren't able to put anything by keeper Paolo Tornaghi. The Italian made some nice saves as did Matt Pickens, but when the halftime whistle was blown it looked like the Rapids were the more likely team to score if the game kept going the way it had, despite some decent Chicago runs. Much to Chicago's chagrin, it kept going that way in spades.
Colorado finally opened the scoring up as Rivero lobbed an absolutely brilliant ball all the way to the byline where Brian Mullan collected it unmarked and slipped it to Omar Cummings, also unmarked, in the box. Cummings rarely misses opportunities that nice, and he put it home this time to make it 1-0. After that point Chicago seemed more determined, but some fantastic play in the center by Marvell Wynne and Drew Moor held Dominic Oduro at bay, matching his speed and power every step of the way.
Eventually the game hit its final stage and Kamani Hill was brought in. Remember him, the guy who nobody wanted to pick up in allocation? Well, it looked like a pretty good signing as he took the ball right in the start of stoppage time on a counter attack. His first shot was stopped by Tornaghi but he calmly shifted to grab the rebound and put it home to ice the game at 2-0 for Colorado.
That's two goals by guys making their debuts, and Hill's goal marked the fourth goal by a newbie to the team in four games. That's not a bad clip at all for a team that's still supposed to be gelling.
If this is any indication of how Rivero is going to play this season - Chicago is certainly no slouch of a team to have that kind of performance against - the Rapids should be just fine in 2012. This is the kind of form the Rapids need to have with a road trip at Salt Lake and Seattle coming up.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Martin Rivero. Do I even need to explain?!
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Brian Mullan. He's just not looking good in that striker position, unfortunately. His assist was nice but unmarked you SHOULD make a pass like that.