The Colorado Rapids went north of the border for the last time this regular season and came back with only one point. They tied the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-3 on an event-filled match.
This one was a heart-breaker. The Rapids game up a goal on the last action of play to go from getting three points and moving up in the supporters shield standings to staying put.
The scoring started early in the match. In the 8', Marlon Hairston got the long pass from Sam Cronin and was able to touch it over to Dominique Badji before David Ousted was able to touch it. Badji buried the ball into the back of an empty net.
After Vancouver scored a goal off a corner that should have been a free kick for the Rapids, the lead was back for the Rapids when Shkelzen Gashi converted the penalty kick and the Whitecaps were reduced to 10 men.
This is where the Rapids began to lose focus for me. Being up a man for 30', the Rapids should have closed out this match with their defense. There is no way the Whitecaps should have equalized, not once but twice.
Gashi finished the scoring for the Rapids on a wonderful free kick in the 75' when he curled the free kick around the wall and into the net. But the last minute goal by Erik Hurtado was the knife in the Rapids back.
For me it comes down to substitutions. The players will only do what they know. The attacking substitutions of Sebastien Le Toux and Marco Pappa were probably the wrong choice. Specifically Pappa. He was too slow and tried to do too much. Just move the ball and keep it away from Vancouver, do not try to nutmeg the defender. Based upon the recent play, bring Mekeil Williams when Le Toux was and then possibly Caleb Calvert.
Here is how I saw the match.
Tim Howard - 7 (6.41): Howard did not face much action and made the big save when he could. On the three goals he scored, he had no chance. The first goal could have used a defender on the back post. If that defender is there, that ball does not go in.
Marc Burch - 5 (5.41): Burch could have done better job of marking Barnes on the second goal. He was playing space instead of marking the player.
Axel Sjoberg - 5 (5.24): Well Sjoberg was not suspended for this match, he is suspended after the next yellow. He was solid except for getting pushed out of the way by Waston on the first goal. A center back can not get pushed out of the way like that.
Jared Watts - 6 (5.10): Did well in the center back position again for the Rapids. No big errors. Did quite well to handle Giles Barnes, specifically in the first half when he forced a back pass when he was 1v1 on Barnes and then a well timed tackle on Barnes a short time later. However it was a poor clearance that led to the last goal, though that is a tough header.
Eric Miller - 5 (5.72): Was unlucky to not score in the first half. He was able to get a head on two consecutive corners. The second one deflected off of a Whitecap player and then went off the crossbar. He was poor on the last goal for the Whitecaps when he did not close down the player.
Micheal Azira - 5 (6.31): A bad yellow for Azira who will now miss the next match for yellow card accumulation. Otherwise it was just an average match for Azira who could have done better.
Sam Cronin - 7 (6.14): Not a bad match for Cronin. It included the wonderful long pass to Hairston on the first goal. He worked hard and kept things moving in the midfield. Got caught behind Waston on the first goal.
Shkelzen Gashi - 9 (8.28): One of the better matches he has had all year. He converted the penalty kick, rather easily put in. He then scored what should be the goal of the week. It was a beautiful goal. He also had a beautiful touch on the ball that released Badji when he drew the penalty kick and red card.
Dillon Powers - 6 (5.83): What a beautiful sky ball later in the first half. He should have done better with that cross. Powers, playing the central attacking midfielder, needs to do better in feeding his wings and the striker to generate some opportunities.
Marlon Hairston - 8 (7.10): He made some great runs in the match. One of those runs led to the first goal when he touched the ball past Ousted to Badji for the goal. Hairston almost scored about 7' later but Harvey was able to get a foot in the way.
Dominique Badji. - 7 (7.24): What a nice goal to score, he kept his run and was found by Hairston for the easy goal. He then used his speed to beat Waston and draw the penalty kick and red card for Waston.
Sebastien Le Toux - N/A (5.14): Came on in the 81' for Hairston.
Marco Pappa - N/A (3.93): Came on in the 86' for Powers.
Mekeil Williams - N/A (5.31): Came on in the 89' for Gashi.
That is how I saw the match. What do you think?