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Backpass 4-4-15: New England Revolution

The stats geekfest can't really explain this loss. If we can come up with charts or graphs that illustrated copious amounts of bad luck and poor officiating, then maybe I could explain this one.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

If I told you the Colorado Rapids dominated possession, 58 to 42, out shot their opponent 17 to 9, created 11 chances to their opponents 4, defended effectively, contained 2014 MLS MVP candidate Lee Nguyen, and hit the wood work three times, you’d probably think we won. Of course, we didn’t. And in this now record-tying winless streak, it isn’t even surprising that we lost a game that we so thoroughly dominated.

If I were capable of divorcing my emotions from the game; if I were able to look at this game separately from the previous 17, or even the previous 3; I would have lots of positives to take away from this game. Juan Ramirez looked sharp again, both in dribbling and in passing, and had the blistering run and centering cross to Dillon Powers below (skip to 1:10). Powers fired a great shot on that Bobby Shuttlesworth barely got a hand on. In the last two games, Josh Saunders and Tyler Deric also had to work miracles at times to deny the Rapids. When will we face a GK having a bad day?

I’m gonna break it down even though I don’t think tactics can adequately explain this teams struggles against New England. It’s a snake-bit team that gets that many chances and can’t convert, and a really snake-bit team that is assessed a questionable penalty in the 54th but can’t get the same call on an obvious foul in the box in the 58th.

Dom Badji keeps impressing

It’s hard to get excited about forwards in scoreless games, but when one of your forwards is subbed on in the 58th minute and makes an immediate impact, and when that forward is a rookie-afterthought selected in the fourth round, it's worth getting excited. Badji immediately fired a strike off the far post at minute 58. That play resulted in Juan Ramirez being pulled down in the box; a clear foul which was not called by referee Fotis Bazakos. (I will now substitute saying "Fotis Bazakos!" anytime I want to swear in traffic. Try it!) At the 67th, Badji had some nice combo play with Juan Ramirez and Marc Burch to get into good position, which was then squandered by Harrington and Sanchez. And in the 71st minute, he took a pass, did a nifty spin move, and fired near post for a side netter that was inches wide; it was so close, Altitude put up the ‘Goal’ graphic.

Check that out here.

Our problem is finishing right now. This team had a lot of good chances it couldn’t convert, but Badji and Dillon Powers especially put quality balls on the goal. Whether you think he should start up top or not, he certainly has earned the right to come on as a regular spark plug off the bench.

I’m so done with Gaby Torres

"Torres will be great once he rounds into shape." "Torres is being misplayed as a forward when he should really be the number 10." "Torres has a nose for goal, and he should replace Deshorn Brown at striker." Let’s stop making excuses for Gaby Torres. He’s not getting it done, not on the dribble, on the pass, or in the air. Not with his feet, not on headers. Last week he blew a half-volley in the early minutes that was the best goal scoring opportunity of the game. This week he had a perfect opportunity with a header that he popped high in the 45th minute. He had a fantastic opportunity in the first moments of the game, but was caught offsides. How many times have you heard that?

Contrast that with Juan Agudelo, who received a long diagonal from Kellyn Rowe for his first touch of the game and fired it into the back of the net. Sure, Agudelo hadn’t been as automatic in the first couple games of the season, but the calling card of the striker is making split second chances count. Torres has not.

Here's all his passes, shots and take-on's from Saturday.

That chart tells you that Torres had zero take-ons, completed 1 of 5 crosses, and put zero of his two shots on the goal. He had one key chance, and that was just a lay-off for a long Dillon Powers shot. He only had two passes in the final third. This means that a) he wasn't getting into position to make an impact, or b) when he got the ball, he didn't pass it or dribble it, or both. Moreover, you don't need to be Jose Mourinho to know that many red arrows in the final third is bad.

He’s running out of chances to show the Rapids that he’s the right guy to be the teams scorer. With Kevin Doyle joining in July and Luton Shelton rumored to be signed soon, Torres needs to put the ball in the net for this team soon or he’ll be gathering dust on the bench. I vote for the dust.

Watts foul in the box

It looked like Watts tugged his arm. It looked like Charlie Davies was prepared to fall over if a butterfly landed on his shoulder. Here’s Ben Jata’s opinion of referee Bazakos’ work last night.

Nonetheless, Watts comes in fast, late, and at an odd angle. In coaching, you often teach that if a play (like this) looks like a foul, it's going to be called a foul. You come in late and fast and a little out-of-control, you're taking a risk. On the other hand, the Revs clearly pulled Juan Ramirez down and got away with it four minutes later. Like I said, tactics aren’t so important when your team is snake-bit.