This was a special match in Commerce City on Saturday night, one that I didn’t think was going to happen. But to the credit of the staff of the Colorado Rapids and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park the Rapids and New York Red Bulls were able to get this match in.
The Colorado Rapids kept up the pressure and did not give up and emerged 2–1 winners against the Red Bulls.
The script could not have been written better. The scoring opened with Mekeil Williams finding Jermaine Jones in the box who guided the ball into the net.
The Rapids conceded the equalizer in the 60’ when Ronald Zubar was able to head a cross in. This was coming as the Rapids started sitting back in their defensive half. When the corner went back to Sacha Kljestan, no one closed him down and it was an easy chip to the back post.
But the Rapids did not give up like previous years.
They started working and carrying the game. The game winner came in the 82’ as Dominique Badji got the feed from Jones and was able to finish past Luis Robles. The play started with a great challenge and header by Jones and hold up play by Luis Solignac.
Badji almost had his second of the match in stoppage time as he put his shot past Robles, but off the post.
Here is how I saw the match. One thing, it was not easy for anyone and all did a great job with the conditions that they faced. The community rankings are in parentheses.
Grounds Crew and Stadium Crew at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park - 10 They did a tremendous job and all the credit for this match goes to them. They cleared the field a couple of times before the match and at half time. They also were out there keeping the lines clear when the snow increased in the second half.
Zac MacMath - 6 (5.54) MacMath was better but still had some issues with the decisions again. He got out of position once in the first half and was lucky the shot went flying into the supporters section. He did have a good save to keep the match at 1–1 in the second half.
Marc Burch - 7 (6.41) Marc was good again, balancing getting forward and staying back on defense. He had a good interchange with Shkelzen Gashi in the first half. He kept it simple.
Bobby Burling - 7 (6.78) No major mistakes by Burling. Growing up in Colorado probably helped playing on snow. He had a couple great blocks in succession in the first half. Burling was lucky not to have given up a penalty in the 75’.
Eric Miller - 7 (6.78) Miller has filled in nicely at center back and did not make any major mistakes. He did have a swing and miss at the ball in this match that led to a dangerous situation, but otherwise he was solid.
Mekeil Williams - 8 (7.06) Williams must have thought he was in a time warp after arriving recently back in Colorado from Trinidad & Tobago. But the cold did not seem to impact his play as he had a real solid match. He got the assist on the Jones goal.
Sam Cronin - 6 (6.56) Cronin was his usual solid self, but nothing flashy. He had a tough situation in the second half where he headed the ball backwards and Mike Grella was able to get on the ball. But Cronin came back and made a will-timed tackle in the box to get the ball.
Micheal Azira - 6 (6.57) Azira had a decent match but was the player that was supposed to mark Kljestan and was slow getting out to him when the ball came back. This led to an easy cross and goal for the Red Bulls. In stoppage time, he was too slow in moving the ball. In conditions like they faced on Saturday, you need to keep it simple and move the ball quickly.
Jermaine Jones - 9 (8.92) Jones had a great start, almost following the required script. Another snow game, getting a goal in his first start, and the Rapids getting the win. He also did a good job of getting under the skin of the Red Bulls. I don’t think Jones will be on Kljestan’s Christmas card list this year. I was surprised that Kljestan did not get a card for that shove on Jones.
Shkelzen Gashi - 6 (6.86) Not a bad match, but not the performance we are looking for from Gashi. The conditions were tough, but just did not get into the flow of the match. He was subbed off in the 65’ for Badji.
Marco Pappa - 8 (7.06) Pappa was unlucky not to score in the second half. Before being injured, he was able to curl a shot around Robles but it went off the post. He drew a yellow card by baiting Grella in the first half. He was first shoved by Grella and then Grella got a boot in late on him right after, earning the card.
Luis Solignac - 7 (6.71) Solignac had a decent match and did a fine job of holding up the ball and keeping pressure on the Red Bulls. He was just offsides when Jones had a shot saved by Robles and Solignac headed it home.
Dominique Badji - 8 (7.51) What a great substitute Badji was in this match. He came on in the 65’ for Gashi and scored his goal in the 82’ giving the Rapids the win. He almost had his brace but was unable to get any curl on the ball and put it off the post.
Dillon Serna - 5 (6.38) Serna came on in the 73’ for in injured Pappa and was probably still getting used to the pitch and immediately turned it over. He did clear the ball in the box that would have given the Red Bulls a good opportunity.
Conor Doyle - N/A (5.73) Doyle did take a stupid yellow in this match.
That is how I saw the match. What did you think?