On a scale from most memorable Disney films - ‘Frozen’, ‘Lion King’, ‘Snow White’ - to least memorable Disney films - ‘Bolt’, ‘The Emperors New Groove’, ‘The Three Caballeros’, that one was definitely in the ‘Black Cauldron’/’Oliver and Company’ realm of things. I think I saw it, but I won’t quite remember it in a few months or years. It certainly won’t be purchased on DVD or Blue Ray for $24.95.
Which is a shame, because that was the first time I’ve ever seen a Ballon D’Or winner in person. And Kaka did pretty much nothing. His pace was extremely gentle throughout, and I can’t recall him doing anything of note. Opta tells me he completed three passes in the final third, none of any significance, and he took a 37 yard shot in the 74th minute. Pity. I also didn’t get to see Cyle Larin do much of anything. Only a few shots and blistering run by Brek Shea stood out at all from OCSCs offense .
Orlando played conservatively and tightly all night, and central defenders Jose Aja and David Mateos, along with defensive mid Antonio Nocerino, put in the kind of defensive performance we usually see at DSGP from Colorado Rapids players. All three had far more defensive actions than our Rapids defenders.
Stats care of whoscored.com .
This is something that Rapids fans more experienced and knowledgable than I might have expected from a Jason Kreis team. His calling card with RSL had been grinding, organized, inflexible defenses. With NYCFC and a midfield of Mix Diskerud, Andrea Pirlo, and Frank Lampard, that didn’t really happen, and he got the ax. But somehow, with a raft of guys that had never been defensively notable, Orlando matched the defense of the best defending team in MLS. The signing of Nocerino has widely been hailed as a disappointment, and he’d only started 11 of OCSC’s 23 matches to date, but he did the job on the night. Kudos, I guess. But it didn’t make for exciting viewing.
Rapids Failed Chances
Colorado took 13 shots. Fully 7 of those came from outside the box. Only one was on target, a weak deflection to the lower left corner from Axel Sjoberg in the 21st minute. Kevin Doyle and Shkelzen Gashi took five off-target shots each. Sure, you aren’t going to finish all your chances, but Gashi and Doyle failed to even put any of those on frame. Bummer.
Here’s the chart of where the Rapid 7 shots on and off target came from (the other 6 shots were blocked). Bleccch.
Here were the two best chances the Rapids had on the night: neither one was actually a shot.
In the 23rd minute, Gashi threaded a nice ball to Marlon Hairston. Hairston’s pass in to Sebastian Le Toux is off-the-mark. No one else is coming through the box. The Rapids never had a look inside the box like this again all game, as Orlando drew a firm line across the final third and put ten men in there for much of the game.
Marc Burch fielded a loose ball just outside the Rapids 18 yard box and chipped a gorgeous 35 yard pass to Kevin Doyle. All alone with only David Mateos to beat, Mateos hip checks Doyle to the ground. A yellow card was given. Colorado players and fans alike, along with commentator Marcelo Balboa, howled that it deserved a red card for a denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity.
Here’s FIFA rule 12, regarding the denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity (DOGSO):
“Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding whether to send off a player for an offence which denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity-
- the distance between the offence and the goal
- the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
- the direction of the play (towards the goal)
- the location and number of defenders
- the offence which denies the obvious goal scoring opportunity may be an offence which incurs a direct free kick or indirect free kick .”
Distance: he’s brought down about 27 yards out. You can score from there.
Likelihood of control: Doyle’s got it when he’s brought down. 100%.
Direction: In on goal. Slightly to the left, but definitely a real goal-scoring threat.
Location: Mateos is the last defender before keeper Joe Bendik. There are no other defenders that can reach Doyle.
So it appears to be almost verbatim a case of DOGSO. Why Mateos receives a yellow instead of a red card is beyond me. Perhaps referee Sorin Stoica thought there was another defender that could get there. Perhaps he thought it was too far away. I think it’s a blown call. If Orlando have a sending off here, the Rapids aren’t guaranteed a win, but it does give the Rapids a great chance, with a tiring Orlando playing down a man for 33+ minutes. Again, bummer.
So, A Clunker
Yeah. That’s two wins, three draws, and one loss over our last six games, or nine points. Pretty decent - nothing to really get panicked about. The team goes on the road for four of the next five matches, including next week against a surging Real Salt Lake and away against FC Dallas. Anything less than seven points, and the Rapids are almost sure to lose ground in the Western Conference race, where they currently sit second, two points behind FC Dallas, who lost Saturday to RSL.
For the Rapids, just making the playoffs, considering last year’s poor showing, should be considered a huge accomplishment. Nonetheless, the team would certainly be in much better shape with a top-two finish and a knockout-round bye than they would in a first round playoff scrum with another talented etam from the west.
We’ll see if the club can get up for this all-important late-summer stretch. In terms of Disney films, the final third of the season will hopefully be more ‘Robin Hood’ - a surprising little fox pilfering victories from MLS kings like the Galaxy - and less like ‘101 Dalmatians’ - where the Cruela DeVilles of the West, Jeff Cassar and Peter Vermes, conspire to turn us into a burgundy fur coat for their latest run to an MLS final. A great Rapids finish might even make for a good Disney movie by itself. ‘The Pablo King’.