The Colorado Rapids went into Southern California to face the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first leg of the conference semi-finals. This match followed the script of the earlier regular season matches with the Galaxy getting a second half goal and win the first match 1-0.
The goal came with a lot of movement and disorganized defense by the Rapids. Giovani dos Santos was able to head the ball into the ground, off of Axel Sjoberg that popped over Tim Howard into the net. If Sjoberg does not touch the ball, it looks to be going wide.
On the goal, I was amazed that Alan Gordon did not get a foul for two pushes on Eric Miller, the second one knocked him to the ground, opening up space for dos Santos.
The first half was a battle in the midfield with the Galaxy having a few chances, but the Rapids were able to turn those away. Each team had a good opportunity, the Galaxy converted their chance with dos Santos, but the lone Rapid opportunity by Jermaine Jones was saved by Brian Rowe.
For me, Jared Watts had a decent game and on corners Dominique Badji cleared the ball several times. On the negative side, I do not think Dillon Powers had a particularly good game. He was too deep for the center attacking midfielder.
The one question is, as a manager you want to put the players in position where they can succeed. In this match, were the players put into positions to succeed? I am not too sure. The formation the last few matches with Badji on top and Kevin Doyle in the number 10 has produced some good scoring opportunities for the Rapids. It will be interesting to see the formation on Sunday.
Here is how I saw the match.
Tim Howard - 8 (8.47): He had a really good match and made some good saves in the first half, no great saves. Coming off his line to take care of the cross was big with Gordon lurking on the back post.
Marc Burch - 6 (7.20): A decent match, but not a great match. He was not getting forward much and delivering his crosses like we are used to.
Axel Sjoberg - 6 (6.47): An unlucky opportunity on dos Santos' goal. Otherwise he had a decent match and some big clearances. A couple times he seemed out of position.
Jared Watts - 7 (7.33): A very good match by Watts. He read the game well and made some good recovery runs to thwart some Galaxy attacks. His yellow card was stupid and not needed on that spot of the field.
Eric Miller - 6 (6.67): Miller was the fullback getting forward in this match and made some good passes in the attacking zone. Needs to be more physical with Gordon.
Sam Cronin - 7 (6.40): A good working shift by Cronin. A good number of passes in both offensive and defensive halves of the field.
Micheal Azira - 6 (6.27): Another decent match, but one mistake by him cost the Rapids a goal. He should have closed and shut down Jelle Van Damme. But he got nutmegged and Van Damme's cross to dos Santos found the net.
Shkelzen Gashi - 4 (5.33): Gashi had a horrible match and needs to do more. He had many passes that did not find a teammate and managed only one shot, and that was not on target.
Dillon Powers - 5 (4.47): Just seemed out of this match for the 45 minutes he was in. Few touches and did not create any opportunities.
Dominique Badji - 6 (5.60): Needs to do better offensively, but as we have seen he is better on top than on a wing. He did well defensively on corners, getting several of the clearances.
Kevin Doyle - 5 (5.53): Another player with not many touches or passes. Was disconnected from Powers. If he is on top, he needs to generate more opportunities and shots.
Jermaine Jones - 7 (6.80): A good run out for Jones who generated more opportunities in the first 15 minutes of the second half than the others did in the match. Most of his touches were in the attacking half and forced a good save by Rowe. Needs to manage his emotions more.
Marlon Hairston - 6 (6.87): Came on in the 70' for Doyle. He added speed on the wing and created some chances that never developed to much. It will be interesting to see if he is in the starting XI on Sunday.
That is how I saw the match. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.