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Backpass 8-14-15: If You Watched That Game, You Should Earn A Medal

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Biting into rancid fruit. Getting a paper cut on your finger. Finding out you've been sold to a club in the Cypriot First division. All of those are pretty much equivalent to a game between two struggling and disjointed clubs playing not-to-lose soccer.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Since this game was #ViernesDeFutbol, Colorado Rapids fans were once again treated to the choice between the Spanish feed, which is fun, but I don't understand anything except the most obvious statements, or the comic stylings of the #MLSSAP crew. The Unimas SAP team have a knack for a somewhat clueless and tone-deaf read on the game- most of what they say is a tragic understatement, or totally wrong, or completely self-evident. So when Ramses Sandoval and Keith Costigan pronounced that this was not a very good game, you know that it's really not a good game. I'd like to note that Costigan is a massive improvement on Paul Caligiuri, although a jabbering meth-head discussing his trip to the zoo would also be better. So would silence.

This was some of the worst, most inept, most hard-to-watch soccer you'll ever lay eyes on. It was so bad, I had to watch a couple Saturday MLS games just to cleanse my palette: like chugging listerine after biting into rancid fruit. Watching Giovinco thread gorgeous passes and Mike Grella's spectacular ball into Bradley Wright-Phillips renewed my faith in the beautiful game. Seeing Robbie Keane to Giovani Dos Santos and back to Keane for the goal confirmed that MLS football is legit first-rate soccer. Whereas the Rapids and Earthquakes play on Friday night would struggle to defeat almost any team in USL.

And it wasn't defensive soccer. I've seen good, tough defensive soccer. There's no doubt that neither of these teams was willing to risk dropping points, and so neither really committed many players to the attack. But still, defensive soccer can still result in a solid counter-attack, or a nice through-ball, or a penetrating run.

None of that was present here. This was sloppy pass after sloppy pass. Observe.

That's Watts missing Sanchez by a country mile.

Doyle has Sanchez and Ramirez, but can't hit either of them.

Here's Doyle again. Lord knows what he was thinking here.

And I'm not the only one that thought the Rapids passing was stinkin' up the joint.


Horrible Passing

The team passed at 74%, which is bad, but it truly was worse than the number indicates, since recycling the ball to the backline was done whenever the Rapids felt antsy. The team had only two shots on target. On the bright side, the defense was pretty good, but San Jose was nearly as inept as the Rapids, with 70% passing, 45% possession, and pressing Clint Irwin into making only 3 saves. If I were to criticize the defense, it's that they too often cleared the ball against San Jose, rather than play in a pass to start a counter attack. The Rapids were often playing low-risk soccer, which resulted in shorter and shorter passes with more and more Earthquakes defenders surrounding the ball. It obviously didn't work. In a season where there really isn't much left to put on the line, this is kind of confusing.

Some of this passing into a dead end is the result of poor vision or the team being uncreative. But there were more than a few times where the off-ball movement was just really lacking. If the passer has no where to send the ball because the team isn't running into space or drawing defenders and then filling in behind them, then of course there's going to be no option for the passer.

Offensive performance that'd drive a man to drink

Dillon Powers had the most shots on the night: a terrible volley at 35' that was 20 feet over the goal; a harmless header in the 71', and the shot off the crossbar at 52'.

That was basically the only enjoyable moment for Rapids fans in the entire two-hour affair. The Rapids had, almost literally, 5 seconds of good soccer out of that entire 5,700 seconds of play.

You also see Juan Ramirez here, like, jitterbugging a little and looking clueless. That five seconds of him could also be multiplied out for the whole game, and really, the whole season, with the exception of the 4-0 game at Houston. He's been so unbelievably disappointing this season. How a player that fast can make so few relevant passes or decent shots on a season, and show little progress, it just blows my mind. Here's the map of all his shots (1) , passes (28/38) and dribbles (0) in this one:

Notice he basically does nothing in the final third. One very weak shot. No passes originating in the final third. No dribbles. He's a forward. In a 4-3-3. He's supposed to be the whole shebang in the final third.

And I haven't even mentioned Kevin Doyle! Who could forget Kevin Doyle, who, in this game, had one shot (blocked), one failed cross, two failed take-ons, and 66% passing, including only one in the final third. Who could forget Kevin Doyle? Believe me, I'm trying hard to forget Kevin Doyle.

There was just so much awful in this game. I could go on, but it would drive me to drink, and the Rapids are already responsible for a bottle of me consuming a whole bottle Stranahans and a bottle Tincup so far this year.

Maynor Figueroa

Figueroa took two shots from 35 yards out, missing both, but it was good to see a Left Back getting involved in the offense. Defensively he made no obvious mistakes. Since the stats websites don't measure throw-ins, I can't give you a clear count, but my eyes saw a lot of errant throw-ins. So, a mixed bag.

Things that were Good

Vincente Sanchez was pretty good, with some threatening passes and fancy dancin'. Drew Moor has proven he can play anywhere on the backline and be effective. Jared Watts was ok. But mostly, this game was truly bad. I hope that we can never speak of it again. Unless, of course, we have other games this season that are worse, at which point we'll look back at this game with nostalgia. Oy.