The first leg of the 2015 edition of the Rocky Mountain Cup is in the books and for the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake it was a mostly lackluster affair that ended in a 0-0. There are so many things that could be said about this one but all that matters is this:
The Rapids could have and should have won this match. Dillon Powers missed a penalty kick. He did not even hit the goalkeeper, the post or the crossbar. He fired it wide right.
This is truly a microcosm of the Rapids season. Close, but just not good enough. With this brutally disappointing draw, the Rapids are still in dead last in the Western Conference at 2-4-8 on the year and seven full points out of the playoffs. The Burgundy Boys were not great tonight, but they were good enough to get a result. The Rapids will need at least 50 points to make the playoffs and will need to start averaging 1.8 points per match from here on out to have any chance of making the playoffs. A long road, just got that much longer.
1) Starting Lineup: I have to admit to some surprise and some disappointment with the Rapids starting XI. I was hoping that the Pablo Mastroeni would show a little flexibility and move away from the 4-2-3-1, but he went with that same formation that he has used all year. But in a bit of a surprise Drew Moor was not in the 18 as he was dealing with knee soreness. The lineup:
Clint Irwin, Michael Harrington, Axel Sjoberg, Bobby Burling, James Riley, Marcelo Sarvas, Sam Cronin, Juan Ramirez, Dillon Powers, Gabriel Torres, Luis Solignac.
2) Defensive Cohesion: I am not sure if it was not having Moor, or playing in Utah, or what, but the defense looked shaky for long periods of the day and offered way too much space for the Real attack. At times, Irwin was left out on his own and was called upon to make several important saves. That being said, the defense did what it needed to do and and although it was not pretty, they got the job done.
3) Powers, oh Powers: There is no excuse for not making the goalkeeper work. Powers helped to snatch a draw out of the jaws of victory. I never want to blame one person for a loss, but he has to do better. End of Story.
The Rapids next match is June 16 at home against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in the fourth round of the US Open Cup.