The shortened field obviously had an impact on the Rapids from the very beginning. We knew they would have to get used to not having time on the ball and not having as much space to spread out. The back line, though, started out looking strong and not giving up space. New York’s back line, however, looked shaky and had some dangerous passes. Don’t they know Marlon Hairston likes to make teams pay for things like that?
Colorado started to move the ball faster and had pretty good control after the first few minutes, but NYCFC were quickly collapsing two, sometimes even three players, on the ball, not giving Colorado really any options. But packing so many players in also meant that NYCFC didn’t really have any spark on the counter attacks. The Rapids earned a corner kick early, but their first real chance was a shot by Shkëlzen Gashi in the 19th minute. Josh Saunders gave up a rebound back out to about the penalty spot, but a defender cleared it before Hairston could get over to it. The next few minutes saw a yellow card for both Michael Azira (super unnecessary) and Jared Watts.
It appeared that the Rapids were a little frazzled when NYCFC came down the field in the 27th minute. There were a couple defensive blunders (missed clears by Jared Watts and Axel Sjöberg), and then the ball gets switched over to Diego Martinez, who crosses it in to Thomas McNamara. McNamara heads it towards the far post and all it takes is Frank Lampard sliding in to pop it to the back of the net. It was definitely a close call, but Lampard may have been offside.
There was a short weather delay at the 30th minute, and we all hoped the Rapids would come out looking strong. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
Although NYCFC got two consecutive yellow cards (Lampard and Martinez), shortly after, Azira got his second yellow card at the 37th minute bringing the Rapids down to 10 men.
A defensive breakdown led to a Tony Taylor shot, which was blocked right back to him, and he put it back in. Even though Howard got a foot on it, the ball ended up in the back of the net for a score of 2-0 at halftime.
In the second half, Pablo Mastroeni subbed Marco Pappa in for Hairston and Eric Miller in for Mikeil Williams. Despite playing a 4-4-1, the Rapids eventually started moving the ball better and got a couple shots in, but they both went wide. At the 75th minute, Steven Mendoza got another one to make it 3-0. And then Lampard got his second at the 80th minute to put NYCFC up 4-0. After a penalty kick from Lampard in the 84th minute, it was 5-0.
And thank the soccer gods, Gashi put one in at 92+3 to save the shutout. So there’s that.
What else is there to really say? While the effort was much better in the second half, the Rapids looked sloppy overall—bad touches, bad passes, bad game. I don’t know if it was the field or because Pablo started the same squad as last week, but it was not pretty.
The unbeaten streak may be over, but it is only the 3rd loss for the Rapids this season. Of course we’re all pretty bummed, but it’s just one game. We can only hope that the Rapids put today behind them, pull it together, and get back on track for Vancouver next week.
Keep fighting, Burgundy Boys.