The Colorado Rapids returned home to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to a standing-room only crowd and defeated Sporting Kansas City 1-0. The match was quite defensive throughout and there were not that many opportunities. Even in the final push by SKC, the shots they did have did not challenge Tim Howard.
The Rapids got their lone goal on the evening from Marlon Hairston. He came on in the 62’ for Marco Pappa and immediately started making an impact. The play started when he intercepted a pass from Ike Opara, passed it to Dillon Powers and moved into space. He took the return pass and for some reason the back line of SKC did not close him down. He curled a shot past Tim Melia into the back of the net.
The lucky person of the evening was Jared Watts. There should have been penalty kick called in stoppage time and he was lucky it was not called. For some reason he stuck his foot into Diego Rubio’s leg and he went down. It was tough to see in real-time. All Watts needs to do at that point is stay between Rubio and goal and all is good.
And despite what everyone is saying, it was not a foul by Axel Sjoberg on Dom Dwyer. Dwyer was the one who backed into him and created the contact. The problem for Dwyer is that he is just too short next to Sjoberg.
Here is how I saw the match.
Tim Howard - 7 (7.89): As mentioned earlier, Tim was not challenged that much during this match. He did communicate and lead from the back. He did make a couple nice grabs at the death of the match and started a couple breaks.
Marc Burch - 7 (7): A solid match for Burch against SKC. He was able to get forward and did not get too far out of position in this match. He made some good crosses and an early run in the first half.
Axel Sjoberg - 8 (7.74): It always fun to watch Sjoberg play against SKC, particularly Dwyer. Axel had a great evening and has solidified himself as one of the starting center backs for the Rapids. As mentioned earlier, it was a great play against Dwyer in the box.
Jared Watts - 6 (6.22): Watts really had a strong evening and played well, including some clearances that killed a SKC attack. That said his judgement kinda waivers throughout the match and it did again this week.
Mekeil Williams - 7 (6.96): Williams was a lot better this match than previous matches. He drew a foul and was tracking back a lot better, blocking a few crosses that could have been dangerous for the Rapids.
Micheal Azira - 7 (7.78): He had a typical Azira night. Working his tail off running up and down the pitch. He did commit a couple fouls together in the first half and I thought he would get a talking to for persistent infringement. But he got through unscathed.
Sam Cronin - 7 (7.54): Another solid performance by Cronin who kept things organized defensively. Another Rapids player who was better than the last home match. He did pick up a yellow in this match. He did track back well and had some takeaways.
Shkelzen Gashi - 8 (7.02): Gashi had a really good match. He was moving and creating opportunities through out the evening. He just missed on a free kick in the first half, almost chipped it past Melia in the second but it rolled wide. This was the Gashi we knew from before the international break.
Dillon Powers - 7 (6.28): Powers was strong in the middle and got the assist on Hairston’s goal. He drew two fouls and was able to get two shots off. One of those shots was put just over the bar on the break.
Marco Pappa - 5 (5.87): After being called offsides early in the first half, he was not offsides, he was a little upset with the Assistant Referee. That seemed to throw him off the rest of the match and he was not playing up to his potential. Some may call it moping. He just was not there in this match.
Kevin Doyle - 7 (7.04): He did everything but score in this match. He did get two shots off in the box and they were both blocked. On one of them, if he turns the other way, he gets a great shot off and maybe scores in the first half. He was stretching the SKC defense throughout the night and took a couple long feeds from Howard. Goals will be there between Doyle and Howard. He did lose a shoe in battle too.
Marlon Hairston - 8 (8.15) Hairston came on in the 62’ and made an immediate impact. He was a lot better than Pappa, whom he replaced. He got a shot off shortly after coming on and it was saved. This time he kept at it and got a wonderful strike to get the game-winning goal.
Luis Solignac - N/A (6.15): Solignac came on in the 87’ for Gashi.
That is how I saw the match. What are your thoughts?
Community rankings are in parenthesis.