For apetri's first post on Burgundy Wave, we present: four thoughts on the game against FC Dallas.
- Stew Ceus' blunder was bad. Roll off the couch and cry on the floor bad. We haven't seen a Rapids goalkeeping error like that since Bouna Coundoul gifted a tie 2-2 to Dallas in 2008 with TWO equally bad howlers. I still think of that one as the game that proved conclusively that Phil Schoen is an idiot, but I'll rant about him another day. It's early in the season and I'm still optimistic, so what struck me this week was how Ceus overcame that error with a fairly solid performance. After his unfortunate walkabout, he could have fallen apart. But he pulled it together and showed some positive signs. He has decent quickness and shot-stopping ability. And what was most impressive was his command of the air (albeit against a short Dallas team), as he confidently gathering most every cross that came into the box. Hopefully Matt Pickens is back healthy soon and we have another season of his predictable quality, but you have to wonder if more opportunities would help Ceus lock in mentally and become the star he shows flashes of being.
- Despite the result, the team as a whole had an encouraging day. As others have noted, DeShorn Brown and Dillon Powers looked very good for their first pro games. But relying on rookies for 30+ games is not a traditional blueprint for success, so it was also good to see the Rapids bring in talented guys like Tony Cascio and Kamani Hill off the bench. It was always dispiriting to see Wells Thompson or Ross LaBauex sub on when the Rapids needed a goal. Especially once Martin Rivero and Edson Buddle return, this Rapids team has enough depth to make some noise this season, and they could easily have started off with three points on Saturday.
- This defense is going to be less exciting than past years. Depending on your perspective that could be good or bad, but in this case it's very good. There will be less offense generated from the outside backs since Wynne and Mullan (with his left foot) are a drop off in offensive ability, but it's reassuring to have their experience and soccer brains in the back with Moor and Calderón. What the team is losing in attacking prowess they're more than making up for in defensive stability.
- As with most of the games, I watched this on MLS Live, which means I get whichever feed the MLS web crew decides to give me. It usually is the Altitude broadcast, but this week it was the Dallas broadcast. And based on recent Rapids seasons' commentary, that was a blessing. It's sad when you hope to NOT have to hear your own team's announcers. Too often in the past few years, the Rapids play-by-play guys (and yes, I'm very loosely giving them that title) have deferred way too much to Marcelo Balboa, who has become a rambler who loves to demonstrate his command of the obvious and engage in "witty" banter that has little to do with the game. I've heard him be a decent announcer when he is controlled by his partner. So I was very encouraged to read c-toast's report that the Rapids have hired Richard Fleming to do play-by-play. Hopefully he will reign-in Balboa, call the game, and we couch-watchers can regain a bit of sanity.