Just a disappointing evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park after a wonderful week with the MLS All Start match in Denver. It started promising with the good guys getting a goal in the 12 minute but it went down hill from there as the LA Galaxy scored three goals in the second half to defeat the Colorado Rapids 3–1.
The Rapids came out quickly and carried a lot of possession in the first 10 minutes. A bicycle kick by Robbie Rodgers went straight to Sam Cronin who turned the ball back in and found Marcelo Sarvas who slotted it home past Rickets.
It then went downhill from there for the Rapids.
There was some defensive miscommunication that led to Sebastian Lletget’s goal, Drew Moor watching Clint Irwin make a save and Alan Gordon getting by him for a tap in, and then James Riley doing something, it just wasn't what you expect from a professional, that led to a 3-on-1 breakaway that gave Robbie Keane a goal. A complete meltdown in the second half by the Rapids.
In looking back, they seemed to be more concerned with the calls of referee Juan Guzman rather than worrying about playing the Galaxy. When Bobby Burling was given a yellow for out jumping Alan Gordon, Sam Cronin lost it right afterwards and said some magic words that also earned him a yellow. As a professional, the referees will make some calls that you don’t agree with and you can’t let it impact you. I think the Rapids did at some level.
Here is how I saw the match.
Clint Irwin (7): I think Clint would like that 3-on-1 late in the match back. There wasn’t much he could do on it, but did get a foot on it. He made some incredible saves all evening. He denied Robbie Keane early in the second half and made a better save Gerrard’s shot that was eventually put in by Gordon.
James Riley (2): This was by far his worst match of the season and I hope it leads to others getting time at right back. He was drawn out towards Juninho that left open Lletget on the first goal, failed to close down Gerrard or block the shot on the second goal, made a terrible decision on the short corner in stoppage time, and gave the ball away too easily to Keane that led to the third goal.
Bobby Burling (5): He played a solid match and even though he had a yellow wasn’t afraid to go down on the pitch and clear the ball. His yellow was not deserved and took a crossarm to the face from Edson Buddle who probably should have received a red card.
Jared Watts (4): Watts has a propensity to drop too far during plays and this cost the Rapids on the Galaxy’s second goal. Because he dropped too far, it played Gordon on and thus the goal. He tried to head in a cross early in the match but the better play would have been to get a foot to it.
Drew Moor (3): Drew got caught watching on Gordon’s goal. Though he thought Gordon was offsides, the right back needs to protect the back post. He did a good job on Gordon early in the match and seemed to be getting under his skin, which is a good thing. But getting forward, he didn’t do much and seemed to be out of his element in this match.
Marcelo Sarvas (6): Sarvas poached a goal in the 12 minute. One observation, he put in a cross that was a little heavy to Vicente Sanchez, but Sanchez chased it down. But there was no support and Sarvas was just jogging up the pitch. Get in the box and support your teammate, you may have had another goal. He exchanged words with Gerrard late in the match (more to come on that). But in a 4–3–3 you need more from your wingers. Let’s see some effort.
Sam Cronin (4): I know Sam was trying to protect his guys since he was wearing the armband, but there is a time and a way to talk with the referee and Guzman didn’t like what was said. He needs to keep his emotions in check more. That was a yellow you don't want to earn.
Dillon Powers (4): Dillon was slated to come off when the Galaxy scored the equalizer and for some reason Pablo Mastroeni kept with the plan to bring Nick LaBrocca on. But Dillon may have prevented the goal from happening. He was jogging about 5 yards to Juninho’s right, but instead of closing in on him, he was running parallel. If he closes him down, maybe Riley stays in position and maybe that opportunity doesn’t happen.
Vicente Sanchez (5): Sanchez was quick and active in the first half and I think quite troublesome for Robbie Rodgers. But after a few rushes in the half, he seemed to fade from the attacking prowess of the Rapids. His corners were low and flat, as well as were his free kicks throughout the match. Though he put in 76 minutes, maybe 60 minutes is more realistic for him.
Kevin Doyle (4): Doyle was able to get two shots off but neither were on target. After a good showing the last two matches, this was not good for Doyle. Not sure why there was a handball called on him, the ball never touched his arm. He needs to be getting the ball more if the Rapids want a hope of winning a match.
Charles Eloundou (4): He had a great opportunity in the first half but just didn’t know what to do with the ball when he hit the 18. He then checked and tried to pass, but probably should have shot the ball. He did manage to be offsides three times.
Nick LaBrocca (4): Nick came on and didn’t do much until he played a give-and-go with Juan Ramirez that led to a good shot on goal for Ramirez. But a defensive midfielder coming on when the opposing team just tied the score is like waving the white flag.
Juan Ramirez (5): Juan looked good tonight and may have earned a start at left wing with his performance. He was one of the few Rapids players doing something in the second half. He got off a dipping shot on goal, the first shot on target since Sarvas’ goal in the 12 minute. He also drew a yellow and was on the receiving end of a kicked ball at point-blank range from Steven Gerrard. The yellow went to Rafael Garcia for the foul, but Gerrard also deserved a card for that kicked ball.
Gabriel Torres (4): Gabby looked a little rusty. He had a great look on a free kick just outside the 18, but put the ball way over the net. He should have done better.
That is how I saw the match. What are your thoughts?