Here at Breaking Burgundy we will take a look at this week’s game (or games) and how our Colorado Rapids performed. We’ll also identify a key player for Breaking Burgundy Player of the Week honors, as well as some random observations from yours truly.
Let’s get to it!
WE HAVE A STRIKER!
Welcome to the club Yannick Boli!
The Colorado Rapids had been sluggish in the attack for most of the match, missing an opportunity to take advantage of a makeshift New England Revolution backline. Jack McBean was content to win aerial battles and Dominique Badji tried to occupy the center backs and get in behind the defense to no avail. Along came Niki Jackson in the 65th minute, and much to our delight he bagged his first professional goal just one minute later! Welcome to the league kid.
Martinez surely looks like he belongs at this level. The two-time Best XI USL player has shown absolutely no fear since joining the Rapids and was one of the better performers on the field for us. I, for one, am excited to watch him develop in the league as the season progresses and get forward more to help in the attack. It’s only been three games (so it’s definitely Small Sample Size Institute approved) but Enzo truly looks like he belongs. He also had the second-highest player rating for the Rapids on WhoScored with a 7.55.
The highest-rated player on the field for the Rapids was Mr. Blomberg with a 7.59 thanks in large part to the beautiful assist on Niki Jackson’s goal. Blomberg was active and definitely tried to get the ball into dangerous spots but just didn’t have enough support around him to truly impact the game. With Stefan Aigner coming back, Yannick Boli coming in, and the continued development of Martinez and Badji there are some pieces in place to at least be consistently dangerous offensively.
And that’s what we want, because...
the overall defensive structure looks fantastic. I know we conceded two goals, but only one was from the run of play and we generally looked pretty good against Toronto. I’m a bit worried about the injury to Kortne Ford but we seem to have depth, communication, and ability in the backline that we simply did not have last year.
Injuries to key players
The injuries continue to be a problem. Kortne Ford is out for the long haul, so we need Wynne to step up and be a lockdown defender.
Perhaps more troubling is that Shkelzen Gashi is nowhere to be seen. We know he’s dealing with a calf strain, which is no joke. For a team like ours that operates on a pittance (as compared to other teams in the league), it’s important that we get these big decisions right (particularly when it comes to our designated players). So far Gashi has been a miss, but he still has time to turn it around and here’s hoping he does.
Lack of true goal scoring threat
When Jack Price is taking your PKs you can be sure that you lack a true goal scorer on your roster. Thankfully the Rapids seem to be addressing this.
I love Tim Howard: his communication with the backline, his ability to play the ball quickly and restart the offense, plus his absolute wealth of knowledge about this sport make him an asset. However, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the athleticism that once made Howard great has begun to fade.
Yes, that was a beautiful idea from Diego Fagúndez on the first goal, but Howard really should have saved it. The second would have been difficult no matter who you are (as it took a deflection off the wall). Again I love Tim Howard, but how long we can let MacMath sit on the bench?
Niki Jackson (for giving up the penalty)
He might be mentioned in the Good and get Player of the Week as well, but giving up the foul that led to the free kick that sent your team home without a valuable road point also gets you a mention in the ugly. As with most young players, there is always an adjustment period to any league—you either grow and learn to adjust or you don’t and get sent down to the USL or worse. Here’s hoping we see more of the goal-dangerous Niki Jackson than the bad-foul-just-outside-the-box-in-stoppage-time Niki Jackson.
CURSE YOU SOCCER GODS, FOR CHRIS TIERNEY AND THE BEAUTIFUL FREE KICK THAT TOOK A DEFLECTION AND COST OUR RAPIDS A ROAD POINT!
Player of the Week
First goal in your first minute grants you Player of the Week honors in my book! Here’s to many more.
66' - GO ON @nick_jackson9!!!— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) March 10, 2018
One minute after coming on, the rookie puts this one away after a great ball from Blomberg.
1-1 | #NEvCOL | #Rapids96
Game tracker: https://t.co/mWQpRacAb1 pic.twitter.com/T8umIdhpkF
This week in MLS
Gyasi Zardes recovery tour
I know it’s only week two, but if you had told me last season (when Gyasi was playing right back for goodness sake) that he would presently be atop the league in goals scored, I would have laughed in your face. Glad to see he’s back and scoring goals!
Kei Kamara 100th goal
Welcome to the Century Club, Kei!