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#COLvSKC Rapid Fire: Finding the target, Blomberg just feet away from being the hero, and Howard’s... whatever that was

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Here are some pros and cons from Sunday’s match against Sporting Kansas City.

John A. Babiak — @photog_johnb

The negative? The Colorado Rapids gave up a late goal after a Johan Blomberg red card to leave with a 1-1 draw.

The positive? The Rapids are unbeaten in two home games this 2019 campaign.

Here are the pros and cons of Sunday’s match in this edition of Rapid Fire.

Pros: Shots
Cons: Missing the target

The Rapids are getting forward more than they did in 2018, managing 13 shots in last weekend’s game, but only two of them were on frame. One made it to the back of the net due in equal parts to SKC’s goalkeeper Tim Melia’s misjudgment and the Rapids’ Diego Rubio not taking anything for granted and applying pressure that led to Melia’s mishap.

The Rapids lost the possession battle again and at times that was most apparent. But the 61-39% differential is not quite sustainable. The chemistry of the squad plus the coaching staff determining the best position for each of the players will come in time, but in the meantime, the Rapids have two points in three games with a trip to FC Dallas on the horizon (Saturday, 3:30 pm on Unimas and Twitter).

Pro: Johan Blomberg’s energy
Con: Johan Blomberg’s recklessness

In the 78th minute, Johan Blomberg came in for Kellyn Acosta (who played a fantastic defensive game in holding up the wing play of SKC’s attack). This is the second game in a row where Acosta was subbed off, making many Rapids supporters wonder if he is at 100% fitness.

But back to Blomberg...

In the 79th minute, this happened:

This on this. If Blomberg scores, then we all sing, “Hail! The Conquering Johan!” Blomberg is a hero, Coach Anthony Hudson is a genius for inserting this very surprising substitute, and the Rapids earn a great three points. Blomberg came in to make some noise (possibly because he believes that his job is most certainly on the line).

Then seconds later, Blomberg gets shown a yellow card. So, one minute in, he had a close call on goal and a foul that brings yellow.

Then this happened a scant seven minutes later (86’):

I agree with Altitude color analyst Marcelo Balboa that this was a soft call on the referee’s part—but it is equally, if not more, silly on the part of Blomberg. Was this “time wasting” worth a second yellow? Anyone who has watched any amount of soccer matches knows that referees are well-aware of who has a yellow and are much more cautious in giving another yellow that will send a player off and adversely affect the outcome of the game.

Now, was this a yellow ‘by the book’? Yes. Was this move silly on Blomberg’s part? Yes. Should the yellow have come out? I cannot fault the referee on this one. In fact, how many times have we wished the referee had called a foul a foul, regardless of the juncture of the game, regardless of how many yellows they had—you’ve felt this, I’ve felt this.

Blomberg was two feet from being a hero. That foot that almost put the Rapids up by two late was the same foot that jeopardized the win. He. Just. Can. Not. Do. That. The eye (foot?) needs to be on the prize.

Pro: Tim Howard’s Keeping Us in Games
Con: Did Howard Get Russelled?

Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard is ending his MLS/soccer career in great form. He is lively off the line. Aggressive. On his toes. The foul before Blomberg’s gaffe led to a free kick from around 25 yards out.

Let’s take a look:

Here’s the question: could Tim Howard have made that save? From our armchair goalkeeper vantage point, and the expectations we have of professional goalkeepers—how could this ball get by him?

In analyzing this, we should not take one thing away from SKC’s Johnny Russell. “Golazo!” is definitely the right term to use. But the problem is that Howard stayed on his feet and did not lunge like we are so used to seeing, say, as he did in 2014 against Belgium in the World Cup. Yet, if you watch, as Howard approached the ball and moved to his left, he took an extra hop that did not allow him to propel toward the ball. Plus, we do not know when he picked up the ball after it crossed the plane of the Rapids wall.

No consensus exists among Rapids supporters as to whether Howard was simply ‘Russelled’ by a golazo, or suddenly developed concrete feet, or—heresy—did not give full effort.

Here’s my take: Howard thought it was going wide. He reacted like every other goalkeeper who judges that the ball was going wide. I’ve never played goalkeeper. I’m in my late 40s, 5’7”, slow, and a few pounds overweight—I’m not speaking from expertise. But the eyeball test had this looking so much not like Howard that it frustrated fans. Would he have made this save at 25? 30? 35? Is this the man who possesses cat-like reflexes on penalty kicks? Rather than extend like a gazelle, he went all alligator-arm.

It just, frankly, didn’t look like Tim Howard. And given how Blomberg’s silliness put us down to ten men, then this? It was too much to handle.

In Closing
Pro: C38 keeping it real
Con: The Osmonds Were Right!

An unfortunate incident happened in Section 117, where the illustrious and auspicious C38 is located during the match. They keep things upbeat and hot all game long. Yet, as Donny and Marie Osmond sang decades ago, “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch!”

Piecing together tweets from those who were present, one fellow was in the front row yelling all game at how the Rapids stunk, and spent time giving Tim Howard the business for his miss. Howard approached the man, making this look like the last in a series of unfortunate events.

As one who has planted his posterior in Section 121 for, now, my sixth year as a season ticket holder, I am grateful beyond words for how C38 maintains their passion and encouragement for the team, even in the leanest of times. Yes, we all find ourselves frustrated, and often take to social media as a way to vent. But C38 reminds all of us—”This is our team! We bleed burgundy! And that especially goes for all who reside in 117!”

I foresee that this matter will be addressed and that this man (whoever he is) will be banned.

Soccer is so unique when it comes to these types and methods of support. While bad apples to spoil at times, the momentum that comes from C38 and other supporters groups will prevail.

What were some of your pros and cons?