On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the Houston Dynamo did not follow the script and tied the Colorado Rapids 1-1. The Rapids had most of the chances but just could not convert.
The Dynamo got on the board first in the 20' when Andrew Wenger got on the Mauro Manotas cross tipped by Tim Howard and the Rapids were down 1-0. It took until the 67' for the Rapids to equalize. Dominique Badji put the wide ball into Marlon Hairston, who had just came on the pitch, who put a wonderful low cross in outside the six-yard box. Shkelzen Gashi was able to get a foot on the ball and put it into the back corner of the net.
There were many more opportunities for the Rapids throughout this match, but they did not find the net. Badji put a couple shots wide and Dynamo keeper Joe Willis made some great saves.
The Rapids should have had a penalty in second half when Jared Watts made a great run forward and Alex just lowered his shoulder into Watts in the box. It was a definite foul.
Here is how I saw the match.
Tim Howard - 7 (7.40): Howard had a good match but faced few shots. The finishing by the Dynamo was horrid. He did get his hand on the cross by Manotas, just not enough.
Marc Burch - 6 (7.00): Burch was solid and had a good physical match. He did get some good crosses in. He was not smart in his confrontation with Sheanon Williams, picking up a yellow card after the match was over.
Jared Watts - 7 (6.70): Watts had some good opportunities, putting a couple of headers over the bar. He also made a good run that should have drawn a penalty kick. He did make a mistake when he let the ball past him in the center of the pitch in the second half, but was able to recover.
Axel Sjoberg - 5 (6.75): Sjoberg was strong again, but one mistake cost the Rapids the win. When Manotas got the ball in the box, Sjoberg dropped off him instead of closing him down and preventing the turn and cross.
Eric Miller - 7 (6.15): Miller got up into advanced positions many times and put in a good cross that was deflected around and out for a goal kick. He also had a great cross that Kevin Doyle had his header tipped over the bar. He also earned a corner on a blocked corner.
Sam Cronin - 6 (6.80): Cronin was good defensively and helped protect the back four. He pressured well in the midfield and kept the ball moving. Could have moved the ball faster at times.
Dillon Powers - 5 (6.65): Powers was okay, but was too deep at times. He needed to be further forward supporting Doyle and moving the ball faster.
Sebastien Le Toux - 4 (5.60): Le Toux was just missing for me in this match. He did not do much, had too many turnovers. I think there are others better on the roster.
Kevin Doyle - 8 (7.10): I think Doyle was the most active person on the Rapids roster in this match. He was creating opportunities, moving the ball around the attacking zone quickly. Had a header that just went over the bar and a touch that almost got the Rapids the lead in the late stages.
Shkelzen Gashi - 8 (7.45): Gashi was strong in this match too and got his first goal at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. He was active and created some opportunities too. Much more active than I have seen him some times this year. His last couple corners in the first half could have been better.
Dominique Badji - 7 (6.25): I like how Badji played this match and the opportunities he had on Sunday will be there in the playoffs. He made several good runs, managed to stay on sides and got some good shots off, though a couple were from tough angles.
Marlon Hairston - 7 (7.55): An immediate boost came to the Rapids when he came on. It was no surprise that a few minutes afterwards he put in the cross that Gashi put into the net. His speed was a big asset in this match.
Jermaine Jones - 5 (6.65): It was good to see Jones back in this match but you could see that he was rusty. Another week of practice and more time in the match on Sunday will be beneficial for him.
That is how I saw the match. What do you think?
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