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#COLvSKC: Breakdown of key plays

Let’s look at what went right and wrong in the Rapids draw with Sporting Kansas City

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids now have two draws in their two home games so far this season, but there is no denying that the draw on Sunday night against Sporting Kansas City felt a little different than the season opener. After holding onto a 1-0 lead all the way to the dying moments of the game, Colorado let in a tying goal on a (really good) free kick. Let’s take a look at how the game went.

We start, as we always do, with a look at the goals.

Rapids take the lead 1-0 (54’)

This goal happens for two reasons. First, Diego Rubio does his job and stays disciplined. Second, Tim Melia makes a bad mistake. When Melia receives the pass, he wants to open up his body so that he can look to swing the ball around to the other side of the field. That’s not a bad idea. The bad idea is doing that without checking over your shoulder to make sure you can do it without losing the ball. As a result, Rubio does his job by pressing the ball up the field and is able to pounce and get one of the easiest goals of his career.

To make it even more embarrassing, this isn’t even the first time this had happened this game. Earlier, Rubio had been able to block one of Melia’s clearances out of bounds for a goal kick. Knowing that, Melia should not have even needed to check his shoulder. He should have known Rubio would be coming and sent the ball up the field. Either way, he makes the mistake of not knowing and not checking.

KC ties it up 1-1 (88’)

As far as the goal goes, not a whole bunch to breakdown here. Johnny Russell hits one heck of a free kick that is able to climb over the wall and dip into the corner. For perspective, this ball actually goes right over Axel Sjoberg, so there is nobody on the Rapids who could have gotten high enough to block this.

The only comment I really have on this goal is for Tim Howard. By no means am I saying he could have gotten to this ball and made a save, but I would have liked to see him try a little more. He didn’t dive for the ball and I think he may have at least gotten close enough to make it worth a try. Again, I’m not sure he would have saved it, but I would have liked to see him try.

Other Notes

That Red Card...

Right before the free kick that tied the game up, Johan Blomberg got a second yellow card for time wasting after only being on the field for eight minutes. In this particular case, the “time wasting” was kicking the ball away after the whistle had blown on the free kick. You can watch it here.

All in all, it is a pretty weak yellow card, but Blomberg should know better. The referee had already talked to a few players about time wasting and Blomberg shouldn’t have played with fire. When you already have a yellow card, you can’t put yourself in any position where you could get another yellow. When the second yellow is something as silly as that, Blomberg certainly didn’t help himself earn more minutes in the future.

Ignore the listing of the diamond midfield

On paper, it looked like the Rapids had the same midfield four that they did last week with Feilhaber at a 6 and Price at the 8 on the right. Interestingly enough, they spent basically no time in the diamond that was listed on the lineup sheet.

Defensively, the Rapids would fall into a flat 4-4-2 that looked like this:

When the team would go on offense, outside mids would push up and the central players would stay back a bit. Depending on the side the ball was on, the weak side outside mid would tuck in and become more of a number 10. The weak side outside back would then move up to maintain the width. For example, when the ball was on the right, it looked something like this.

This is a general view based on what I saw, but it is mainly to point out what the four midfielders and Serna would do is this situation. So, in this sense, don’t worry too much about Price being listed as an 8 and Feilhaber as a 6 because we don’t stay in a diamond like that anyway.

The Rapids like to switch field

Many of the positive attacking moves to Rapids made on Sunday came as a result of them switching fields. Especially if you look at the setup above, it basically asking for a ball to go into the space that Serna would have in front of him. The Rapids hit a lot of those diagonal balls on Sunday night, and many of them led to pretty good offensive chances.

Have any other insights? Let us know in the comments section!