What was an exciting first half turned into a match that we have seen many times already this season, the Colorado Rapids getting a lot of shots and opportunities but not really capitalizing on them.
The Rapids created some great opportunities in the first half. Dillion Powers had a great header off a cross from Michael Harrington only to have Stefan Frei make a tremendous save. Earlier, Powers got to the ball first and got it over Frei only to see it hit the post. Finally Gabriel Torres getting a ball into the back of the net for the Rapids first home goal of the season.
But as the second half progressed, the Rapids started getting more desperate and the shots became wilder and wilder. The doubt was creeping back in. In the first half the Rapids had 14 shots with only seven on target. The Seattle Sounders had eight shots with seven on target. Good teams are more efficient with their shots. If they don't have a shot, they work to find a good opportunity and make the goalkeeper work.
In looking at things, I am thinking the Rapids have been a little unlucky in this match. The number of times they have hit the post and the opposing goalie coming up big in the three home games are perfect examples of being unlucky.
Talk about unlucky, on Lamar Neagle's second goal Clint Irwin made the save only to see it come off Riley and get behind him where Neagle removed all doubt that it was going in and finished it. Not sure why Riley was that close, but that is just an unlucky play.
Here is how I saw the match.
Clint Irwin (8): The only reason the match was this close was because of Clint Irwin. He had no chance on Neagle's first goal and when a forward like Martins gets in alone it is probably not going to end well for the goalie. I already discussed Neagle's second goal. There was a series in the first half where Irwin made two great saves including the second shot where he denied Clint Dempsey from close range, not only saving it but gathering it as well.
James Riley (4): This has to be one of Riley's worst games in his short Rapids career. He got caught out of position on Neagle's first goal. He was way up the field in attack. Instead of correcting his mistake and getting back right away, he tried to steal the ball from Dempsey who released the ball to Martins and then to Neagle. If Riley would have gotten back right away it may have prevented the goal. He did get back and took a central position, but it was too late by then.
On the second goal, he was just standing in a line with Burling and Drew Moor watching the cross come in letting Neagle knife through to get a touch on the ball and eventual goal. A fullback needs to be more active and ready to react to those types of plays. By the time he did react, it was in time to put the ball past Irwin for Neagle to touch in.
Bobby Burling (4): Though Burling has the bulk and height to play center back, I am not sold on his speed. Especially the lack of it compared to strikers he is playing against. On the first goal he was hung out to dry, one-on-one with Neagle. He laid back protecting against the speed of Neagle and that is what doomed him. On Martins' goal, Burling played Martins onside and then overuns the play allowing Martins to flick the ball behind and score. I am not sure why Burling had dropped off the line with Moor, but those two mistakes cost the Rapids.
He did have a good challenge in the first half. Burling was up for a corner and both he and Frei went up for a ball. Frei bounced off him like Burling was a brick wall and it created a chance for the Rapids, a chance they couldn't take advantage of.
Drew Moor (5): Moor didn't have a bad game or a great game. People are blaming Moor for the Martins goal but he had played Martins offsides except Burling wasn't on the same page. Moor was also caught watching the cross come in on Neagle's second. I think Moor had a legitimate foul claim on Dempsey when he was pushed chasing a ball in the box.
Michael Harrington (5): Harrington showed his versatility in this match being able to play as a right and left back. He high pressured and created at least one turnover. He had a wonderful cross that Powers headed on but somehow Frei made the save. But he also had several other good crosses that didn't find there mark. He didn't come out and pressure Pappa on his cross that led to Neagle's second goal.
Marcelo Sarvas (5): I liked how Sarvas stood up to Clint Dempsey in this match. He didn't put up with his games. He came close to crossing the line a couple times and we all hope he doesn't hear from the disciplinary committee. In one instance he kicks the ball as the whistle blows and the ball hits Dempsey in the head. In the second instance Sarvas and Dempsey get their feet tangled and as Dempsey is lying on the ground Sarvas' foot catches Dempsey in a certain spot. Other than his dealings with Dempsey there wasn't much to Sarvas in this match. He did have shot deflected that almost beat Frei, but it happened to go just over the bar.
Lucas Pittinari (4): For being a defensive midfielder I didn't see a lot of good defense form Pittinari, especially when it counted. He was slow to recognize that Burling needed help with Neagle just prior to his first goal. He seemed to turn to go to the middle and then realized too late he needed to help. He was also late to Pappa on the second goal. He seemed to be a step or thought behind where he should have been for this match. He did have a good look on a turnaround, but unfortunately his shot went just wide.
Vicente Sánchez (7): I have to say the Rapids are a different team with Sánchez on the field. His creativity, movement and knowledge of the game give defensive back lines trouble and he gave the Sounders trouble throughout the match. His quickness led to a yellow for Marshall when Sánchez beat him to the ball. Personally I thought it was a red. He had several good shots including one that he hit while on the endline. He hit it with the outside of the foot, I think using the wind and the spin to beat Frei on the backpost. Unfortunately it went just high.
Dillon Powers (8): Powers bossed the midfield for most of the match. I think we now see that Powers' best position is as central attacking midfield. He was unlucky when he hit the post early in the match, had the great header with an equally great save, had a great pass to Torres who didn't finish, and earned the assist on Torres' goal. Powers had many other great opportunities and plays. He was the man of the match for the Rapids this week.
Juan Ramírez (5): Ramirez is getting a reputation in this league as a player who goes down too easily. He was shoved in the back by Brad Evans but went down too easily. For me it should have been a penalty and the referee was calling lesser fouls in the middle of the pitch. But apparently in the box it didn't muster a call. He was finding room in the midfield but except for at least one wild shot in the second half there wan't much for him in this match.
Gabriel Torres (7): Home goal for Gabby Torres and you can see his confidence is rising. We just need to get more goals from him, or at least challenge the keeper on his shots. He did a great job of pressuring the ball throughout the match, almost catching Frei early on a passback. He had a great shot from the top left of the box that curled just wide. Maybe he should slow down just a little bit and not be too rushed.
Nick LaBrocca (4): I will never understand this substitution. He came on in the 66' for Sánchez. A defensive midfielder when you are trailing in a match. Just don't get it. He just didn't have a good touch on the ball and seemed to be missing things. In one instance he passed to the top of the box to Torres who was surrounded by at least three Sounders when he had Harrington out wide with no one on him. Of course the ball was turned over.
Dillon Serna (6): Serna came on in the 80' for Riley who hurt his hamstring. He played left back and did a good job there. He even got forward and used his speed to get by Tyrone Mears and set up a great opportunity. Bad timing for the Rapids as Evans makes it back to cover and clear the danger.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?