The Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders met for the first time in 2016 and the Burgundy Boys put together a solid 90 minutes of work to pick up a 3-1 victory. It was good win for the Rapids that saw their 2016 season record climb to 5-2-1 (16 points) and to second in the Western Conference table.
1) That Penalty Kick--As you are probably aware, I am a Burnley FC supporter. In a match last year, the Clarets were playing Crystal Palace and Burnley was awarded a PK. Canadian International Scott Arfield stepped up to take the kick and it was saved. The match ended up a 0-0 draw and in a league as tight as the Premier League, those missed two points ending up being huge. Burnley ended up getting relegated, and while those two points were not the reason they were relegated, who knows how much that victory could have meant.
After the game, Sean Dyche (the Burnley manager) had this to say about the PK:
If you are brave enough to step up and take the kick you have to be brave enough to understand you could miss it
Which brings me back to penalty kick in the Rapids game. There was a disagreement between Shkelzen Gashi and Jermaine Jones about who should have taken the kick. Jones feels he should have. Gashi feels he should have and did. Stefan Frei made a nice save and in a game that was 2-1 at that point, that goal could have put the game away.
But Gashi is a player that has confidence and he felt confident that he could score the goal. He had the bravery to take the kick, but also the bravery to accept a miss could happen. I have no issue with it because that is soccer and in soccer you have to be brave to play the sport.
2) Bravery at the End--when you have a lead, you are gonna get everything but the proverbial kitchen sink getting thrown at you. The Rapids would have wilted under that pressure in past years, but this season they have not. In their last three games they have scored goals late to win it or seal the deal. You have to be brave to defend like they do and by and large keep a Seattle team silent. From Pablo Mastroeni:
Pablo on why the past two games have been tense towards the end...
They're throwing more bodies forward. They don't start the game throwing five guys up top because they're not willing to risk it. I think when you have nothing to lose, the mentality changes. So now we're facing a wounded animal who's willing to die in the process. So what's important for me is a mentality to find a way to strike again, and in the last three games we found ways to do that. Tonight is no different and we will continue to talk about the things. Every game is its own performance. You can't dictate for 90 minutes the way that you want to play. But it's understanding the moments where you have momentum and making the best of those situations and then understanding that the other team has professional athletes as well and they're going to do a decent job, and you have to find ways to absorb the pressure. It's a work in progress, but I think the guys are responding really, really well and I really believe that we have a very good team.
Dennis Castillo Debut--it comes as no surprise to us here at the Wave (LOL) with the performance of Dennis Castillo. He makes he professional debut, put in 30 minutes, oh and picked up an assist.
No big deal, eh?
But with a pre-game injury to Marc Burch and Eric Miller picking up a knock, Castillo was needed. Let alone that Marlon Hairston and Jared Watts are still not back to 100%. Castillo is a player that looks comfortable out there and it's not as if he was playing against a bad team. I was impressed with his shift and he looks to be a player that can contribute.
Pablo on Castillo's debut:
I think, they're fantastic because what you want from players who are coming into the game are is to impact the game in a positive way. Castillo has had zero professional experience but is another player who leaves it all out in the field during training through the week. So his performance wasn't surprising to me, it was more of the same. This year we've done a good job as an organization to bring in character people. Guys that you know you can rely on and trust, and Castillo's performance was worthy of that. He came in, defended well and I think the cherry on top was the delivery to Kev[in Doyle].
The Rapids next match is on the road in Canada against Montreal Impact who are coming off a 2-0 loss to Toronto FC. The Rapids v Impact match is on Saturday, 30 April 2016 at 2:00 PM MDT and it can be watched on Altitude Sports Television.