A night that Colorado Rapids fans have been waiting for since it was announced that Tim Howard would be joining the team in burgundy finally arrived. It did not fully live up to what was hoped when the Rapids tied the Portland Timbers 0-0.
However, everything we expected of Howard materialized when he made some great saves on break-aways. He also had a little luck from the posts. But the excitement around the match seemed to tamper the disappointment at only getting a tie.
The Rapids did not really have an opportunity to score until the second half. Shkelzen Gashi was able to get a surprising shot off on Jake Gleeson. Jermaine Jones followed with another one, but that went straight at Gleeson. Dominique Badji was able to get a good shot off, but it sailed over the crossbar.
One must credit the Timbers for getting in there and limiting the opportunities for the Rapids. They had the height to limit the crosses the Rapids usually complete and seemed faster to the ball when the Rapids tried to go up the middle.
The Rapids have been a little out-of-sync since the international break. Let us hope that they get it back for Vancouver this weekend. There were many times they could have made the pass to the wing and get it wide and they turned the ball back or into the middle when nothing was available there. I am not sure why, but there were advantages lost when they did not do that.
Here is how I saw the match.
Tim Howard - 8 (8.21): A quality performance and one of the reasons why the Rapids went out and got him. He made some great one-on-one saves and was seen throughout the match talking with his teammates. It was good to see him on the pitch.
Eric Miller - 6 (6.18): It was an average performance for Miller. Sometimes he looked good and other times lost. He tried to pass to Kevin Doyle in front of goal in the second half, but if he would have shot the one-timer I think he has a chance to score.
Jared Watts - 7 (5.91): He was strong in the match. He got back a couple times to disrupt the Timbers breakaway and disrupted Fanendo Adi, with Howard, and may have contributed to Adi hitting the post.
Axel Sjoberg - 5 (6.45): Allowed Adi to get behind him in the first half that almost allowed the opening goal of the match. After that was pretty solid and was disrupting the Portland attack.
Mekeil Williams - 6 (6.12): Another average match and this time from Williams. After going full-time mid-week in Dallas, he went another 90’ in this match and seemed to struggle at times. When he had his opportunity he tried to cut back the ball instead of crossing. At least the Rapids have an opportunity at getting a corner on a cross that is blocked.
Sam Cronin - 5 (6.12): The first time this year that Cronin is subbed off in a MLS match. In truth, he was not really effective and I think the substitution reflected that.
Micheal Azira - 6 (6.45): A better evening for Azira. He was working hard and keeping things clogged up. He helped disrupt a break away that could have been dangerous. For me, he has been the workhorse this year.
Shkelzen Gashi - 5 (5.55): Except for the one shot, he did not do too much in this match. He seemed to be jogging and out of it. I think all the travel is still impacting him. I hope he is better and ready to go Saturday.
Marlon Hairston - 5 (5.48): Marlon was working hard but I think that he has lost a little confidence. He was in there for his speed, but except for one opportunity in the first half, he did not have it.
Jermaine Jones - 6 (6.76): Seemed out of sync with his teammates. He came back from the Copa America break on July 3 and missing those trainings showed a little. There were some bad passes from Jones in the midfield. But after the long stretch with the national team, that break was probably needed.
Kevin Doyle - 7 (5.97): Doyle was hard done by a couple close offsides in the beginning of the match. Watching them full speed he looked to be on, but watching the match again the Assistant Referee may have been right, at least on one of them. He was constantly out of position trying to get the ball and when he would get to the middle of the field with his back to the net, he would be double-teamed, making it nearly impossible to get him the ball.
Marco Pappa - 6 (5.97): Came on in the 67’ for Gashi. He was brought on to be creative around the box and his first touch on a corner sailed over everyone. The Timbers worked to limit him going left and that really hurt Pappa. It is almost like he didn’t have a right foot.
Dominique Badji - 6 (5.52): Badji came on in the 69’ for Hairston. He had one good shot that just went over the bar. Otherwise was pretty quiet when the Rapids needed his speed.
Dillon Powers - N/A (5.24): Powers came on in the 82’ for Cronin. Seemed to move the ball better and faster than Cronin was doing.
That is how I saw the match. What do you think?