The night started out promising for the Colorado Rapids when Sean St. Ledger found Kevin Doyle on a beautiful header that got over the outstretched Nick Rimando to give the Rapids an early lead. But something Rapids fans are used to this year, confusion and bad decisions by the Rapids allowed Real Salt Lake to get two goals late in the first half.
That score held for the remaining 45 minutes and Real Salt Lake beat the Colorado Rapids 2–1. To rub salt in the wound, this is the first time Real Salt Lake won this year after conceeding the first goal.
Though bittersweet, the Rapids did bring back the Rocky Mountain Cup to Denver. It is at least something to celebrate this year. Whenever you can win that cup, it means you were better than Real Salt Lake that season. Always a good thing.
But the cup does not change how poor the Rapids have been this season or in this match. The Rapids showed some moments of brilliance. The goal by Doyle, the pressing and shape the first 15–20 minutes, and the save by Irwin late in the match to give the Rapids hope they could equalize.
But that equalizer never came and the Rapids were eliminated from the playoffs. When you only have one shot on target, you won’t get that equalizer. In the 47’ the Rapids had a great chance on a free kick, but Solignac, Moor and Pittinari all missed the ball and it found one of their hands.
Here is how I saw the match.
Clint Irwin (7): He made a great save as I mentioned earlier. He had no chance on the beautiful free kick by Joao Plata and the strike by Luke Mulholland. He controlled his space the rest of the match including several good punches to clear the danger.
Drew Moor (5): He worked his side of the field well and was able to get forward and cause some problems. He drew some fouls, which is always good. Martinez seemed to give him trouble when he was on his side.
Bobby Burling (3): Burling probably should have been shown red for his yellow card in the first half. He was a step slow all night against the Real Salt Lake speed. He was also lucky not to be shown a second yellow later in the match.
Sean St Ledger (5): What a wonderful cross by St. Ledger to Doyle that gave the Rapids a lead for a short-time. Otherwise it was a quiet evening for St. Ledger who had three fouls. He missed the ball on a throw-in in the 73’ that gave Devon Sandoval a 2 v 1 opportunity and Plata could not get onto the ball in time.
Maynor Figueroa (4): Had a decent evening and worked his side like Moor did his. Was able to also get back and get some clearances in and help out his center backs. He had some moments where he spaced out including a pass right to a Real Salt Lake player in the first half and a yellow card in the second.
Marcelo Sarvas (3): Sarvas could have done better this evening. His yellow in the first half was just stupid. There was no way that was going to be anything but a yellow. He was a little unlucky at the end of the first half when he hit a laser that found Kyle Beckerman’s head. If he did not hit it the ball had a good chance at finding the back of the net.
Lucas Pittinari (5): He fought hard all evening and gave it his all. It was one of the better performances from him. He should have done better on the free kick early in the second half. He laid it all on the line in the last few minutes of this match.
Vicente Sanchez (3): While the work rate was there, it was not a great night for Sanchez. He made some poor decisions all night. In the 28’ he was in on goal with Real Salt Lake collapsing. He tried to cross the ball but if he shoots he has a chance to score or force a rebound. His following corner sailed over everyone in the box. He also headed the ball out straight to Mulholland who scored.
Dillon Powers (3): Dillon’s shots early in the first half were poor, putting the ball way over the net. Except for drawing a foul late in the first half, there was not much from Powers in this match. I think that is why he was subbed off early in the second half. He did have a great pass to Sanchez late in his appearance.
Luis Solignac (2): Another quiet performance by Solignac out wide. I am not sure he is in the correct position. He came off early for Juan Ramirez. It’s not good when he does not even have a shot, on target or at all.
Kevin Doyle (7): What a beautiful goal by Kevin who put his arm up as St. Ledger was running on to the ball. It was a perfect cross to him and put some great pace on the header to get it past Rimando. Rimando shrugged his shoulders afterwards, there was nothing he could do.
Juan Ramirez (4): Juan came on and had a beautiful cross that Moor could not get to. But otherwise he spent too much time with the ball on his feet. He needs to pass the ball sooner to be more effective. You can’t dribble through three players.
Dominque Badji (5): Came on in the 78’ and did not have time to do too much.
That is how I saw the match. What do you think?