What started out a sunny evening, later delayed by lightning, turned into a sunny match in the eyes of the Rapids faithful as 3 points was added to the table for the Colorado Rapids when they defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 on Saturday evening.
This match saw the debut of Luis Solignac and Kevin Doyle from the Rapids. Each brought life to the team that hasn't been there amongst the players. They seemed to be a step faster and have just a little more quality than other team members. That will make the other players better. It is going to be fun summer watching them gel with the rest of the team. I think we will like how it comes together.
The first half saw a lot of action and was physical, but I think the Rapids only had one shot on goal. At least one shot that troubled David Ousted and that was in stoppage time of the first half.
Overall I thought the Rapids had a good match. The defended well and limited Vancouver's potent attack and kept most everything outside the box. When Irwin was needed to, he made the saves.
Here is how I saw the match:
Clint Irwin (8): Irwin made four saves and a critical punch to get the clean sheet for the Rapids. He was beat on a free kick, but that did not count because of a foul in the wall. He made a critical save on Kekuta Manneh in the first half, just getting a touch to put the ball wide.
James Riley (6): It was a decent night for the right back and he kept the speedsters of Vancouver in check. He had a great tackle at the top of the box that was well timed and it snuffed out a chance for the Whitecaps.
Drew Moor (7): Moor was in a physical battle all night. In the first half he seemed to get an elbow or arm from Mauro Rosales on the sideline going for a header but the referee called nothing. Overall a strong effort for the captain.
Axel Sjoberg (7): Sjoberg continues to be a force on the backline. He had numerous clearances. He beat Rosales to the ball on a clearance in the first half that saw Rosales go down hard. Overall a solid night for Sjoberg, who doesn't look like a rookie on the pitch.
Marc Burch (6): A steady and consistent night for Burch at left back. He had a good hustle play that earned a throw-in and put a couple good corners into play. It was good to see him back in the lineup.
Sam Cronin (5): A physical night for the defensive midfielder. He earned a yellow late in the second half for sliding and sliding and sliding on the wet turf and by the time he hit the defender his studs were up. But a stabilizing force in front to the back line.
Lucas Pittinari (8): What a goal from Pittinari who turned and slotted home a flick from Torres. That was quite a shot but one must ask why the defensive midfielder was that far up in the attack at that point of the match (smile). Oh well, it earned the Rapids a win. Pittinari had two additional shots, including one header that went just over the bar on a corner.
Gabriel Torres (7): The flick! Gabby worked hard all match and got an assist on Pittinari's goal. He also had one shot. He was subbed off for Doyle. I think this was more of a rest for Torres with the schedule this week. His position for the rest of the campaign will be as right midfielder. Torres also got a great pass to Solignac who was 1v1 with Ousted.
Dillon Powers (7): Powers also got an assist on the goal as he put the pass into Gabby. Powers put a great shot on target in first half stoppage time. He also had a wonderful long-range shot that Ousted got part of his right hand to or it would have been in the back of the net.
Juan Ramirez (5): He is starting to move the ball faster and put in a great one-touch cross. But still tried to dribble through too many players. He seemed to be muscled off the ball a few times.
Luis Solignac (7): Right from the start you saw why Solignac was in the lineup. In the third minute he sprinted down the right side and caught up to the ball before the endline. He had out ran his support. But his size and physical play were giving the Whitecaps fits. It will be exciting to see him play this summer.
Kevin Doyle (6): Doyle comes on and immediately earns a corner for the Rapids. He had good movement and was physical which earned him a yellow. On the off-the-ball foul, both he and Kendall Waston seemed to be involved with each other, but Doyle got a push in at the end and that is what the referee saw. I just don't see it as a yellow. It was good to see him get some time. Look for more time for him over the next two matches.
Vicente Sanchez (N/A): Sanchez came on in the 86 minute.
That is how I saw it. What did you think?