After the second game, things may not be all that bad. It is disheartening that the Rapids have yet to score a goal this year, but on the positive side, they have not allowed one either.
The Rapids defense handled the attack of New York City FC for most of the afternoon, only giving up a couple of good opportunities on the break. Irwin handled the ones on net, making a couple great one-handed saves.
The offense was good until the final third, possessing the ball as NYCFC sat back for most of the match. The Rapids should have had at least one goal when Lucas Pittinari hit the perfect through pass to Gabriel Torres who shot right at Josh Saunders of NYCFC. A little either way and the ball is in the back of the net.
Here is how I saw the match.
Clint Irwin (8): This game stayed tied thanks to Clint Irwin. He made a great diving stop to his left on David Villa's shot just after the second half began. But I think he made an even better play in the second half when a Villa cross came in from the endline and he was able to get his left hand on the ball. It disrupted the cross and probably saved a goal because a NYCFC player had a pretty good run going to the back post. A second consecutive shutout doesn't get much better for Irwin. He was my Man of the Match.
Michael Harrington (6): Michael Harrington had a good game bombing up and down the right line and did a good job on David Villa who spent most of the game attacking on the left. He gets knocked down a little for getting called for lifting his back foot on a throw-in. I didn't know the PRO referees knew that law existed.
Shane O'Neill (6): A solid performance from Shane O'Neill and he worked really well with Axel Sjorberg. They are forming a great tandem in the back. O'Neill had a nice, quiet game and that is sometimes what you need from one of your centerbacks. He will be missed for this weeks match in Houston.
Axel Sjorberg (7): I think Sjorberg is starting to develop into a top centerback for the Rapids. From getting under the nerves of Dom Dwyer in the Desert Diamond Cup to doing the same to David Villa on Saturday, he is bringing some of the nastiness that is needed in the centerback position. Plus he got a good shot off a corner at the end of the match that was unluckily deflected away from the goal mouth.
Marc Burch (7): Burch was more visible during the match than Harrington. He was doing a good job down the left-side. He had a couple of good shots on net including a wonderful free kick from just outside the 18. It took an acrobatic save from Saunders to push the ball over the net.
Sam Cronin (6): Cronin brought the nastiness on Saturday and was great limiting the NYCFC attack. Even from the defensive midfielder position he did get up in the attack and provided some good passes in the attacking end of the pitch.
Lucas Pittinari (7): Talk about a quiet game. After watching the game I was asking what did Pittinari do all game. His effort didn't stand out for me, but after watching the match again he had a powerful match and I think one of the better passes, the earlier mentioned through pass to Torres in the second half.
Vicente Sanchez (6): He had a quiet match and was able to get off a few chances towards goal. He did get to the endline and got off some crosses, but nothing came of them. He did seem to get in position on the back post late in his time on the pitch, but Ramirez couldn't find him. I think he may have been limited by NYCFC sitting back, when he would try and cut in, he would be surrounded by three NYCFC players.
Dillon Powers (8): My second-best player on the pitch was Dillon Powers. He seemed to settle right into the center attacking midfielder roll. He was distributing the ball well and got off some good shots. If he can get his fitness up he should provide goals and assists for the Rapids in short-order.
Gabriel Torres (7): I think Gabriel Torres had a good game, it would have been great if he was able to score on Pittinari's through ball. He seemed to be more at home on the wing coming into the middle then getting placed on top as the striker. He is a different player this year. He almost scored in the first half, luckily for Saunders he was able to cover the near post. I thought that one was going in.
Dominique Badji (5): I am not sure Badji got a shot off all match and that is tough if you are the striker. He did find Torres on a cross early in the first half but didn't see him later in the match. He did do well at times with hold up play and distributing the ball, but in the end it comes down to shots on net and scoring goals. He did get a yellow for a handball but I didn't see anything nefarious and the referee should have kept the yellow card in the pocket. He is a rookie and I am hoping that he learns and progresses as the season moves along. He needs to make the most of his opportunity until Kevin Doyle arrives.
Carlos Alvarez (5): Alvarez came on for Badji in the 59' and except for a couple of opportunities didn't do too much in the match. He went to the wing and Torres moved to the striker.
Juan Ramirez (7): The young designated player made is Major League Soccer debut and did quite well. It is what one would expect from a DP. He drew the second yellow on Facey that sent NYCFC down to ten men. He did take a shot that was easily gathered by Saunders, but if he would have made the cross, there were some players coming that may have had a better shot on goal. He came on for Powers and continued the good play in that position.
Marcelo Sarvas (NA): He came on in the 79' and didn't do anything bad. He did get a shot off but he pulled it wide left.
Now it is your turn. What are your player ratings?