Soon after the goal, 48 seconds into the match, the Rapids parked the golden bus in front of Clint Irwin and held on for the next 95 minutes. Not only did the defend well, Irwin made some great saves and the Rapids had the bounces go their way.
Speaking of Irwin, he was lucky not to see red early in the first half. After coming for the ball and getting fouled as he punched the ball, not called by the referee, he came down just outside the box and stopped a pass/shot. He was shown yellow even though it could have been red.
I think a few players had a good match. The players include Maynor Figueroa and Sean St. Ledger who were strong on the backline. Figueroa, along with Irwin, even earned a place on the MLS Team of the Week. It is between Irwin and Figueroa for my man of the match. Dillon Serna wasn’t that bad either.
One concern for me is that while the Rapids defended well in this match, they have defended relatively well all season, the attack was non-existent. Yes they scored 48 seconds in, but in order to give your defense a break you need some sort of attack or at least, possession. When your opponent has 67.4% of possession, there should be concerns.
Except for a few opportunities, one each from Serna and Gabriel Torres and two from Kevin Doyle, there weren’t many opportunities or spells of sustained possession in the second half. Overall, the Rapids only managed two shots on goal. Yes, Serna’s shot was blocked and Doyle’s header just went wide. But you need to put teams away and only getting two shots on goal won’t do it.
Here is how I saw the match.
Clint Irwin (8): The saves that Irwin made were amazing. A diving one-handed save to deny Chicago a sure goal and then denying Jeff Larentowicz on a header. He needed to make two other saves. He was lucky not to see red or have bad damage to his wrist when he was kicked.
Drew Moor (6): He had a solid match and looks to be settling into the right back position. He did receive a yellow. I don’t think there was intent on holding the attacker on that play. I think he was trying to find where he was and shield him from the ball. It was still a foul.
Bobby Burling (6): Some good defending and his height joined with the rest of the Rapids to minimize the crosses by the Fire. This significantly limited what the Fire could do offensively.
Sean St Ledger (7): He had some big saves defensively. Around the 65 minute Sean stopped a ball getting through to the backpost. If he lets that one go, the Fire get a tap in goal.
Maynor Figueroa (8): He is a strong back and seems to be at home on the left side. He brings pace, strength and knowledge of the game. His experience has helped solidify that position. He was active and getting to balls that one wouldn’t normally get to.
Nick LaBrocca (5): Solid but not impressive night for Nick. He did well as a fill in for Sam Cronin who was out with a too many yellow card suspension. He did get the steal that started the sequence for Serna’s goal.
Marcelo Sarvas (6): I did watch Sarvas more this match trying to see his impact to the game. One thing I noticed was he did hustle to get into position. This paid off in the 51’ when he was able to get to the back post and flick on a cross that missed a Fire attacker. But besides getting into position, there wasn’t much of an impact.
Gabriel Torres (7): He did play a lot of defense, but was great on Serna’s goal. He first made the run, managing to stay onside, and was able to shield the defender to get the cross across to Serna. He did have the other shot on goal, but it was too close to Sean Johnson, though it was an excellent strike.
Dillon Powers (5): It was good to have both Dillons out there on Saturday night and he played decently in the center. He was subbed off in the 77 minute. He didn’t get much going in the first half except for one break where he picked up the ball in midfield, but nothing came of it.
Dillon Serna (8): Serna did well playing box-to-box and of course made the great run to be in position to score the first goal. He did get a good shot off in the second half when he struck the ball out of the air on goal. Unfortunately, it was deflected. But at least he earned a corner. He had a great run in the first half where he took space the Fire defense gave him and then tried to hit Torres coming to the back post. It almost worked.
Kevin Doyle (7): Kevin worked his rear off all night mainly serving as an outlet to the defense so they could break out. Doyle dropped pretty deep a couple times to get the ball. He got in 1 on 2 in the second half and got a decent shot off. He also took a great Serna corner and headed it just wide of the net. Kevin also had the vision to chip the ball to Torres for the second assist on Serna’s goal.
Charles Eloundou (NA): Came on the 77 minute for Powers
Vicente Sanchez (NA): Came on in the 89 minute for Torres
That is how I saw the match. What do you think?