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#CLBvCOL: Breaking it down


MLS: Colorado Rapids at Columbus Crew SC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids dropped another game on Saturday to the Columbus Crew by a score of 2-1. Sadly, this has been the case more often than not in the 2018 season, but at least we scored a goal this time! Speaking of goals, let’s check them out.

Columbus 1-0 (17’)

Honestly, this is pretty good offensive play with a clever flick, so you can’t really be that mad at the Rapids here. Sure, maybe Kellyn Acosta wasn’t deep enough or Jack Price didn’t come out far enough, both of which would have blocked the passing lane across the top of the box. Deklan Wynne also could have been a little closer to his man, but I’m not convinced that would have stopped this.

The real topic here is the question of offsides. Gyasi Zardes appears to be on when the ball is flicked, but the other Crew player is off. So, what’s the call?

Argument for offside: the other player most certainly distracted Tommy Smith at the very least. This distraction from actually marking Zardes could be enough to make the call. On top of that, there is a slight look that the Crew player may have impeded Smith from making a recovery run, in which case it is definitely offside.

Argument against offside: The Crew player is certainly trying to stay out of the way of the ball, and Smith may have put his hand up assuming offside and just not made an effort to recover. Who knows if was or wasn’t. I think either call could be a fair point.

Colorado ties it up 1-1 (26’)

Once in a blue moon you see a play like this, so what happened here? A player is allowed to take a free kick at any time unless the ref tells him to hold the kick. This typically happens when there is a sub, the ref has to talk to two players being a little rough, or most importantly here, when a player asks for 10 yards.

This is where the Crew mess up. The wall sets itself up roughly ten yards away. If you are in a wall, you stand right over the ball. This isn’t just to be obnoxious, it is to make the other team ask for their 10 yards. Then the ref will make them hold the ball and wait for the whistle while he backs the wall up (which also allows the goalkeeper to position the wall).

The Crew lined up so far back that Gashi didn’t need to ask, so he took the free kick when Zack Steffen went to the post to set up his wall unprotected by the ref holding the kick.

Columbus goes up 2-1 (57’)

This goal falls on Nana Boateng and Tim Howard. First, Boateng is not a right back (see below for more on this), so he leaves too much space for Artur to get the ball on the switch of field. Next, he takes a poor angle on the ball and gets left in the dust by Artur’s first touch.

Howard then comes charging out to Artur, but he didn’t need to. Danny Wilson actually does a good job closing down the space, so Howard didn’t need to come out. Now that he was out of the goal, he is left in a bad spot when the ball goes across to Federico Higuain.

Other Thoughts

A few coaching questions, and a few questions for the referee...

That wasn’t a red card

Deklan Wynne got a red card for this:

That is not a red card. Period. Sure, it is a yellow, but certainly not a red. Had the Rapids kept 11 men maybe they would have left with a point. We have VAR for a reason, and it is a shame that the ref didn’t consult it when news has come out that apparently not all of the refs even agreed it was a red.

Almost just as frustrating, the Crew had a play where Jonathan Mensah took Niki Jackson out in the air while already on a yellow. If Wynne gets a red for what he did, Mensah deserves at least a yellow for his tackle, and that would have been a second yellow.

Where were the forwards?

Hudson decided to start Enzo Martinez and Shkelzen Gashi as the two forwards for this game, but Enzo is a midfielder and Gashi a withdrawn forward at best. This means that the Rapids essentially started five midfielders and a withdrawn forward. No striker. We shouldn’t be shocked that the passing map looks like this:

There is nothing in the attacking third, especially in the middle of the field. That is where strikers receive balls. The Rapids need to play a true striker that is going to be stretching the field and getting the ball in the attacking third. Instead, three were left on the bench.

Speaking of the bench...

Hudson needs to be smarter about who is in his 18, and it bit him in the butt this week. Yes, we are out of the playoffs, so we can expect some squad rotation. It was a road trip out east with the team going way out west next, so it makes sense to rest some guys and give some other guys playing time, but I want to focus on the outside backs.

Sure, give Marlon Hairston and Wynne some playing time to see what their role might be going forward while also saving Castillo and Ford from all that travel. Except, you can’t save both of them at the same time. Wynne and Hairston were the only outside backs we brought to Columbus, so when they had to leave, we were in trouble.

You might say Boateng has played RB before, but that was in the back five where he was basically a right midfielder. That’s very different from RB in a back four because you don’t have CB assistance as readily available, so you are expected to be more defensive. His lack of experience there was one of the main reasons we let up the second goal.

For Wynne, dropping Serna back was not as bad an option, and having to make a second outside back replacement causes for a little more understanding of playing people out of their natural position. Nevertheless, it still showed a lack of depth brought on the bench.

We had three forwards on the bench. When only two play on the field in our formation, you don’t need three forwards on your bench, so bring an outside back for depth and emergencies, please.

If you have any other thoughts, throw it in the comments section! Also, who are the main guys you would like to see get playing time during the final five games of the season?