Moment #4- Beating RSL at Home 3-1
(MLS has blocked embedded video content on non-MLS websites. This is no way to grow the game. And makes no sense. Since the ads still stream. C'mon, man.)
Things were bleak in Colorado for Rapids fans when RSL took the field at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on July 11 for the second match of the Rocky Mountain Cup versus Real Salt Lake. The Rapids had won only one game in the previous 7 games, including losses in late June to Sporting KC and Orlando that looked especially listless. Combined with the Colorado Rapids slow and goal-less start to the season, Colorado was looking all but out of the playoffs, with three full months left to play. So a spark was needed, or at least the reclaiming of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
A tense game opened up in the second half, but Joao Plata was left in space and set up a goal by Sebastian Jaime at 79'. But when Jaime threw a punch at Drew Moor during a free kick and earned a red, the Rapids had an opening. Note: Moor put in a Shakespearean performance as the wounded warrior, walking that fine line between ‘expressing a slightly elevated amount of aggrievement' and ‘flopping about like Diego Costa'.
Charles Eloundou subbed in for an effective Vicente Sanchez, then went on a tear down the line to earn a corner, which Chuck put onto the head of Drew Moor for goal one. Goal two came on another Eloundou run, when he put the ball off the post and Watts finished it.
With RSL pressing for the equalizer, the barn door was wide open in stoppage time, and the horses got out. Eloundou cleared to Ramirez, who put it into the open net.
Just wanna throw out there that there were a lot of quirky things about this game:
1) The Rapids played a 4-3-3, with a midfield of Pittinari and Sarvas backed by d-mid Cronin. This was the formation Portland switched to at the back end of the year that helped push them to MLS Cup. It put Cronin in a role as a pure defensive harasser and short pass link-up man, which I think is best for him. Of course, Fanendo Adi can do some things that Kevin Doyle can't.
2) The Rapids kept RSL off the boards until the 79th minute, then with subs on brought the hurt. I think that kind of works for them. They denied zone 14, and especially Joao Plata, all game, except for that one moment.
3) The backline was Drew Moor at Left back (!) , Watts and Burling in central defense, and Riley at outside back. They had a good game. Many MLS pundits think Drew Moor is exclusively meant to be a center back, but I think his passing and vision make him an equally good fullback; he gets forward and picks out passes. We'll see how he does with Toronto FC.