The buildup to this match has been growing ever since the Colorado Rapids went down to Texas and were defeated in the U.S. Open Cup. But end the end, it took a wonderful goal from FC Dallas to equalize the match and both teams took home a point when the match finished 1-1.
The Rapids pressured high throughout the match, more so in the first half. This created problems for FC Dallas and I think it threw them off. There were several chances for the Rapids in the first half. Shkelzen Gashi's header to Kevin Doyle led to an almost goal, Marlon Hairston had a shot deflect just wide and finally Hairston stripping Attiba Harris, getting around Chris Seitz to score the goal for the Rapids.
The Rapids seemed to drop off a little too much in the second half and did not pressure as much as they should have. They also did not push as hard as they should have for the second goal to get some separation from FC Dallas. It took a wonderstrike from Victor Ulloa to tie this match up. Sometimes you just need to tip your hat to your opponent.
Now some may say that Sam Cronin should have closed him down quicker. Perhaps he should have. But from that distance, it was a tough shot over a lot of traffic. And even with all that, Tim Howard got his hand on it and almost tipped it over the crossbar.
The league’s top defense did a really good job against the league’s best offense. There were some problems for the Rapids, though. There were periods of sloppiness that almost cost the Rapids when FC Dallas was able to break. Then after the goal by Ulloa, the Rapids seemed to turn off for a minute. If not for a great foot save by Howard, FC Dallas would have gone home with three points.
This is how I saw the match.
Tim Howard - 9 (8.74): This is the type of match that Tim Howard was brought in by the Rapids and he did not disappoint. He made good save after good save. He got a hand on Ulloa's goal, a foot save on Barrios and snagged a ball out of the air that most goalies would tip over the cross bar. Did you see that punt from his box to the FC Dallas box? Wow.
Marc Burch - 7 (7.00): Good crosses and movement of the ball. He had good control of the ball and made some great passes. As Hairston and Gashi switch sides, Burch played will with both of them, helping get the attack going.
Jared Watts - 5 (5.70): This was a below average performance by Watts. He had some good things and did okay. But he had too many unsuccessful passes, and bad passes in the wrong area.
Axel Sjoberg - 6 (7.17): Once again he was strong in the middle of the defense for the Rapids. He had some strong clearances and is forcing teams to adjust their game. He did have a couple bad passes in his own half.
Mekeil Williams - 6 (6.09): A short appearance by Williams and I hope he is okay for next week against NYCFC. He was strong, even after getting injured on a 50-50 ball. That was a great challenge.
Sam Cronin - 5 (6.91): Cronin could have and should have been stronger in this match. It was not bad, but the yellow card play was not needed. He also should have closed down Ulloa instead of standing there to try and block the shot.
Micheal Azira - 6 (7.30): While he as all over the place, he was sloppy at times. He had a lot of poor passes. But he did move well and get into position. He had some good ideas, but not all of his passes connected properly.
Marlon Hairston - 8 (8.09): Another great performance and a break though period for Hairston. He had a shot blocked that may have been headed to the corner of the net, then Hairston got a takeaway and was able to score after dribbling around Seitz. He brings speed that the Rapids are lacking. Had a good opportunity in the second half too.
Dillon Powers - 7 (6.13): An above average performance by Powers. He had some good opportunities, tried some difficult passes, made the right play at other times and had a good shot that was blocked. A great takeaway at the top of the FC Dallas 18 in the second half.
Shkelzen Gashi - 8 (6.70): Gashi is gaining the form that he had early. His header back to Doyle in the first half, his movement throughout and his service on free and corner kicks was something we have been waiting for.
Kevin Doyle - 7 (6.74): Worked his tail off all evening. He was unlucky not to score in the first half when Gashi headed the ball back to him. He had Eric Dier's doppelgänger, Walker Zimmerman, all over him in the attacking half.
Eric Miller - 6 (6.26): Not too much from Eric Miller in this match who came on for Williams at halftime.
Luis Solignac - N/A (5.26): Came on in the 79' for Hairston.
Marco Pappa - N/A (5.00): Came on for Dillon Powers in the 84' after the goal for FC Dallas.
That is how I saw the match. What do you think?