The Colorado Rapids hosted the San Jose Earthquakes in front of a pretty full house and I think put most of the attendees asleep. The score finished 0-0 and most Rapids supporters left frustrated by the inability of the Rapids to find the back of the net.
One of the things I noticed is the Rapids were much too slow around the box. The ball just did not move fast enough to break down the Earthquakes. I am looking at Sebastien Le Toux dribbling around the box when he was in a good position to shoot or Sam Cronin moving the ball around the box and finding that penetrating pass.
That may be some of San Jose's doing, but the Rapids were a faster team and just did not know how to break them down.
There were times that the Rapids did not look like the team that was towards the top of the table. San Jose controlled the possession and were putting a lot of pressure on the Rapids, particularly towards the end of the match.
The referee did have an impact on this match. The Rapids who received yellows deserved it. The fouls by Cronin, Dillon Powers and Axel Sjoberg were all deserved. Marc Burch was lucky not get a yellow card in the first half too.
It was puzzling why Marlon Hairston did not get the call in the box. David Bingham came out and caught Hairston in the box right after the ball was put towards goal. Bingham extends his leg and takes out Hairston. Anywhere else on the pitch that is a foul. If it is a foul there, it should be one in the box.
This was a big two points left on the table, especially with FC Dallas and Los Angeles Galaxy losing and Real Salt Lake losing. The Rapids still have two games in hand, but time is running out and they need get every point they can get.
Here is how I saw the match.
Tim Howard - 9 (8.67): Howard was brilliant in this match. He kept the ball out of his net including some good saves in the first half. If anyone has control and knowledge of his net, it is Howard. The Victor Bernardez shot looked to be going in but Howard calmly let it go over.
Eric Miller - 7 (6.63): A good evening for Miller how put in some good crosses. He was able to get forward. He just could not find anyone in the box. Defensively he was solid, especially when he was on Salinas went into the box.
Jared Watts - 7 (7.27): Watts was solid in the center back position and did a good job in neutralizing Chris Wondolowski. The clearances and position was there throughout the match. Made a big block on Amarikwa's shot late in the match and then was able to clear it.
Axel Sjoberg - 7 (6.70): Sjoberg was solid though he picked up a yellow for a professional foul. He did wonderfully slowing up Quicy Amarikwa on a breakaway and forced Amarikwa to shoot it over the end line. I am still not sure if Sjoberg misses the next match. The pre-game story had Sjoberg missing the next match after two yellows before the FC Dallas game. He picked up a yellow in that one and this one.
Sam Cronin - 5 (6.67): Cronin was a little slow moving the ball around the in the attacking. Took a yellow after getting out of position to slow down the Earthquake break. He had a great feed to Badji on one of his opportunities.
Micheal Azira - 7 (6.97): A quality performance by Azira. He was very active and had some good passing in the attacking half of the pitch.
Marlon Hairston - 5 (6.13): He had a couple opportunities and was unlucky not to earn the penalty kick early in the match. Though he hustled, he had a poor percentage of passing in the attacking half. He did make some good runs during this match.
Dillon Powers - 4 (5.50): Powers was Jeckl and Hyde during this match. He makes a good play to feed Hairston's opportunity early in the match. Then loses his cool and gets a yellow card for a foul on Fatai Alashe, though Alashe deserved a card for knocking Powers down on previous throw-in. His touches and ball movement were slow as the match went on. He needs to learn to keep his cool.
Sebastien Le Toux - 3 (5.23): Le Toux had two great opportunities to get shots off, one if the first half and the other in the second. Both times he decided to dribble and pass instead of shooting. He had the lane to shoot and hesitated. That is not good for a team that is having trouble scoring.
Dominique Badji - 5 (5.83): Badji is young and still learning. But for a striker to get three good scoring opportunities and not score is poor. He did the hard work to get into position, he needs to put the ball into the back of the net.
Shkelzen Gashi - 4 (4.53): He came on and got a good cross into a dangerous position that had Hairston's header being deflected. After two skied shots, Gashi disappeared the rest of the match.
Caleb Calvert - N/A (4.77): Came on in the 83rd minute for Cronin.
Marco Pappa - N/A (4.53): Came on for Hairston in the 90th minute.
That is how I saw the match. What do you think?