Typically when a team goes on the road they would be happy to get a tie, especially a midweek match on one side of the country when you have to play on the other side of the country on Saturday. But after this match, I am sure the Rapids are thinking they should have come away with the three points.
The scoring opportunities were there. Dominque Badji had two breakaways and should have scored on at least one, if not both of them. The New York Red Bulls defense was unorganized and getting cut up throughout the match. Charles Eloundou even had two decent shots, but those did not challenge Luis Robles.
The defense was a little shaky throughout the night. Bobby Burling was hot and cold and Rapids newcomer Ben Newnam was lost for parts of the match. Here is hoping that Drew Moor can work his way back into fitness for the match on Saturday. With squad rotation I think we see Riley back in for Newnam.
One thing that helped the defense immensely in the first half was the pressure the Rapids put on the Red Bulls. The high pressure caused the Red Bulls to become uncomfortable at times that led to turnovers and good opportunities for the Rapids.
Here is how I saw the match.
Clint Irwin (7): Clint had a solid match making four saves and getting two punches. On at least one of the punches he seemed to be questioning himself if he should go get it or not. He got to both, but they were close. Irwin is the stabilizing force in front of goal and he is giving confidence to his defenders.
Ben Newnam (4): Newnam joined the Rapids after spending last season with the USL PRO Charlotte Eagles and looked inexperienced at the MLS level. Newnam gave up the PK after tackling Sacha Kljestan in the box and looked confused a few times throughout the match. He made a good play on a cross that he was able to trap and put it back to Irwin. It could have been disastrous for the Rapids. Newnam did get in good defensive positions throughout the evening and helped his keeper by clearing the ball late in the match.
Bobby Burling (6): Burling was lucky not to get a red card in this match. He made two great tackles in the first half that, if mis-timed, would have been a card if not a sending off. He made a reckless challenge on Zizzo in second half stoppage time that put the Rapids in a bad position. He did have enough speed to beat Bradley Wright-Phillips to the ball in the second half, just barely enough. He was strong at other times making his addition this off season worth it. The depth was needed in the centerback position.
Axel Sjoberg (7): Axel was just heading the ball away all night, it was like a shooting gallery for him. For some reason the Red Bulls thought they could throw an aerial attack at the Rapids back line. With Burling and Sjoberg back there that wasn't happening. He did a good job on the corners. I did like the change of tactics putting Sjoberg in front of the goalie. That has to be frustrating to a goalie trying to look around a 6'7" opponent trying to see the corner come in.
Michael Harrington (7): The Red Bulls seemed to be coming of the right-side most of the evening and that put Harrington in the cross hairs. He did well to control Lloyd Sam and reduce the risk to the Rapids. He did well to play Dane Richards offsides at a critical point in the second half.
Nick LaBrocca (5): Nick was active all night and added a little to the attack. Once Sam Cronin came on for Gabriel Torres, LaBrocca moved to the right wing where he continued his hard work. But after his heroics last week it was just a typical Nick LaBrocca type evening. He did have a nice "professional" foul in the second half, slowing down the Red Bulls attack.
Lucas Pittinari (5): Pittinari was there and worked hard but that is all that he really did in this match. This is becoming a trend for Pittinari and it may not be all that bad. I didn't see any mistakes from him and for a defensive midfielder that may be all that you want. The yellow card at 90+2 was questionable to me. He does need to give 10 yards, but Kljestan kicked the ball into him. Mark Geiger should have let it go especially since he seemed to be walking off the 10 yards.
Gabriel Torres (7): Gabby worked hard all night and earned the goal for the Rapids this evening with the slightest touch on Dillon Powers' free kick. He continued his hard work and freed Badji on one of his breakaways in the first half. He was subbed off in the 69', hopefully to get a little rest for Saturday's match.
Dillon Powers (7): Dillon's passing continues to impress and he had some wonderful ones in this match. He is anchoring the Rapids attack and is freeing Badji, Ramírez and Torres to try and score. He gets the assist for Torres' goal on what was a great cross.
Juan Ramírez (7): Ramírez ability to dribble the ball is a great asset to the Rapids but he sometimes seems to like dribbling more than looking for the cutting pass to the open teammate. He just holds onto the ball too long sometimes. He did draw three fouls on the evening, continuing to frustrate the opponents with his dribbling. Just get rid of the ball sooner and things will be a lot better for the Rapids.
Dominique Badji (3): What can we say, Badji just needs to finish the opportunities that he has. He reduced his offsides this week but had two breakaways that he should have finished. In looking at the shots, he didn't quite know how to get the ball past Robles. He was a little unlucky on the second breakaway when the ball rolled off the post. He just needs to think through what he will do when he is away from the pitch so the creativity will be there when he gets the chance in the match.
Sam Cronin (5): It is nice to see Cronin back on the pitch for the Rapids after going through the concussion protocol. He did well to stiffen up the defense and got some much needed game time. Once he came on you kept hearing his name as he stopped the numerous attacks by the Red Bulls.
Charles Eloundou (5): Eloundou took over where Badji left off and still suffered the same fate. Those horrible shots he took were just wasted opportunities. He took two shots, neither was on target. But his speed was able to challenge the backline of the Red Bulls. Just like the Rapids did all night. It would have been nice to see Eloundou's shots challenge Robles. Especially since the Rapids had little possession in this match.
Dillon Serna (N/A): Serna came on in the 87'.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?