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#RSLvCOL Takeaway: Don't hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself

The Rapids were a little handsy on Saturday night, and that cost them a precious point in the RMC.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Of late, the Colorado Rapids have led me down memory lane of songs from my teenage years. A few weeks ago, Van Halen came across my mind, with Sammy Hagar riffing, “Come on, baby, finish what you started!” While that particular song was on the playlist this weekend, the main song this time was one by the immortal Georgia Satellites: “Don’t hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself!”

By now, every Rapids supporter has seen the replays of Tim Howard’s handball outside the 18-yard-box that led to his dismissal (with the charge of denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity) and then defender Tommy Smith using his left hand to swipe at the ball inside the 18, bringing about a penalty which Real Salt Lake’s Joao Plata powered the ball past Zac MacMath. Both were subject to video review, and both came to the correct conclusion.

Then the floodgates opened. The final: 3-0 Real Salt Lake, making the likelihood of the Rocky Mountain Cup coming back to our side of the Rockies remote. Not impossible, but remote.

Are there any positives?

If you’ve read my articles and follow me on Twitter, some have noticed I try to find positives upon which the Rapids could build. I have two.

  1. Prior to Howard’s red card, the Rapids were dominating play. Seven shots for the Rapids compared to one for RSL. Of course, once Howard was gone, the Rapids had to play more a defensive posture, with Coach Hudson adjusting to a 3-4-1-1 at halftime. But the stats show that the Rapids had 12 shots, with zero on target. Playing with ten men would mean that RSL had the majority of the possession with 29 shots, and 11 on target.
  2. The Rapids held strong—and even had some opportunities—until the penalty in the 82nd minute. Unfortunately, it seemed that when Plata converted the penalty, the air went out of the defense.
  3. Zac MacMath’s six saves kept the Rapids in this until the second incident. The Rapids are most fortunate in having MacMath on the squad. Howard just turned 39 last month, and who knows how much longer he will choose to play. But seeing how MacMath organizes the backline shows that he has all the tools to succeed in goal with the Rapids. I hope they keep him for the near future.

The Headscratcher

Rapids supporters have cried for a more offensive-minded philosophy, and Anthony Hudson has brought that. However, at the risk of sounding hypocritical, were the offensive-minded substitutions he made really called for? Shkelzen Gashi replaced Enzo Martinez in the 68th, and Yannick Boli replaced Dominique Badji in the 76th. Maybe it would have been a better choice to bring in, say, a Micheal Azira to help clamp down the defense and head out of Rio Tinto with a point and a possibility of a more competitive Rocky Mountain Cup over the next two matches.

Also, Rapids supporters are curious as to when Joe Mason will return and why Jack McBean was starting over Yannick Boli. If Mason is still out on Sunday at home against Orlando City SC, could Hudson treat the home fans with the pace of a Badji-Boli combination up top?

What were your takeaways? Any other headscratchers?

I’m glad it’s a long season. Only 28 more games left!