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#COLvMTL: Breaking Down the Key Plays

One team scored plenty of goals.....but our team scored even more.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Colorado Rapids Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

In their seven previous MLS match-ups, the Colorado Rapids and Montreal Impact averaged about four goals a game, so we knew there could be a few balls in the back of the net when the two teams met up Saturday night. “Few” turned out to be an understatement as the Rapids took the Impact down by a score of 6-3.

Let’s look at each one.

Rapids leading scorer hits the wrong net (18’)

This is one of those own goals where you wonder, “What is he doing?” In reality, it was just unlucky. Once the corner kick is up, Kei Kamara is doing everything he can to get to the ball first. He breaks for the ball and goes up for it just to realize it didn’t bend the way he thought it would and finds that he overran the ball. In an attempt to get something on the ball, he presumably tries to head it wide, but ends up hitting the goal. It’s unlucky, and it looks even worse.

Montreal scores an own goal of their own (21’)

This own goal is even stranger. Jack Price starts it off by sending in a real tasty free kick. He bends it around the defense and goalkeeper Evan Bush to the back post. Kamara, hungry to make up for his mistake, beats his man to the back post. Sadly, he can’t make contact with a good part of his body and ends up knocking the ball back across goal.

On the other side of the goal, Lalas Abubakar had gotten tied up with Bush, which ended up with both of them on the ground. As Bush rolls over from his fall, he ends up putting the ball in the back of the net.

This goal was reviewed to see if Abubakar had fouled the Montreal keeper, but the goal was upheld. Looking at the play and trying to be neutral, I am honestly a little surprised because I have seen fouls called for less. Sure the Montreal player kind of pushes Abubakar into the goalie, but keepers are so protected that I probably wouldn’t have complained much had it been called. Either way, tie ball game.

Rapids take over the lead 2-1 (36’)

There isn’t a whole bunch to this one. Diego Rubio gets fouled in the box, so Kamara gets the chance to redeem himself from the own goal. Kamara starts his run up, does a stutter step, sees the goalkeeper leaning to his right, and slots the ball into the other side of the net. Easy peasy.

Rapids build the lead before halftime (45’)

It never hurts to get a little lucky, right? Sam Nicholson gets a step on his man down the wing, so he looks to send a ball into the box. His cross ends up being more of a shoss (shot/cross), and the ball floats all the way into the back post.

After hitting the post, Kamara jumps onto the rebound. He takes a shot on his first touch and does well to place it at the far post. The shot doesn’t have a ton of pace, but it helps that Bush never gets a good chance to get his positioning right after scrambling to try and get on the initial ball.

Why not one more before half (45’)

This play comes down to two things. 1) A great ball by Jack Price. 2) Terrible marking by the Impact.

This corner was clearly a set play designed to go to the front post. Abubakar and Rubio both crash the front post and are probably directed to flick the ball on to Kamara or Nicholson or try and direct it on goal.

Price plays the ball in, and couldn’t have put it in a better spot. He beats the front line of defenders, but he also gets the ball to drop far enough forward that the Montreal goalie is unable to get to it. After that, we just thank the Montreal defense for not do anything remotely like defense. If you freeze the video right when Rubio gets to the ball, you can see the Abubakar and Rubio were both free, and no Montreal player is even close to getting that ball. You can’t let that happen on a corner and you deserve to get scored on if you do. Good thing Rubio gives them what they deserve.

Montreal starts to inch back into the game (55’)

With a front line of Ignacio Piatti and Maximiliano Urruti, the Rapids back line had to know that they couldn’t let any Montreal forwards have space to shoot. Sadly, the ball is passed to Urruti rather innocently here, but nobody closes him down. Keegan Rosenberry comes over to defend, but there is no real urgency or concern, so Urruti takes his time and puts a great shot to the far post.

It’s that simple. Rosenberry should know that Urruti is the type of player that can make that shot, so stop him from getting it off. Instead, he’s too slow to close him down and the Rapids pay.

Montreal makes it a one-goal game (76’)

This is just a well-placed penalty. Saphir Taider steps up and puts the ball right into the corner so that Clint Irwin can’t save it even though he guesses the right direction. Props to the Frenchman.

Rapids all but put the game away (78’)

Like the first corner kick goal, this is just a great ball and terrible marking. Price hits the ball right into a dangerous area about eight yards out. Bush knows he can’t go get the ball out there, but it’s also close enough he won’t get much time to react of a header is put on goal.

Andre Shinyashiki leaves his defender in the dust and gets a pretty open header. The potential rookie of the year makes no mistake and heads the ball home. Terrible lapse by Montreal when they had just worked their way back into the game.

Kamara gets his hat trick! (90’)

Just before the game ends, the Rapids decide to get one more goal just for the fun of it. It all starts with a fantastic ball Price (yet again). He floats one up at the back post just far enough away that the Montreal goalie can’t get out to it.

Once the ball was up in the air, there was no denying that it was Kamara’s ball. The big forward rises a mile above everyone to slam the header into the back of the net.

This play showed just how much aerial prowess Kamara has. Nobody else on the field had a single chance of getting to that ball and look how far above everyone he is when he hits the ball. What a way to complete a hat trick, and it gave Price a third assist on the game as well.

There you have it. Nine goals and one heck of a fun game to watch.

Other Thoughts

The Acosta/Price partnership needs to stay

This was the first time we had seen Price and Kellyn Acosta play together at the base of the midfield since the LAFC game and they showed why they need to be the two holding mids going forward. Both are good in possession, can play a good pass, and they work well together.

Having Price sit in the middle allows Acosta to be more of a roamer, which plays to both of their strengths. There is no denying that the two of them were a huge part in the Rapids controlling the midfield on Saturday, which is something they did not do against San Jose last week.

Size is a major advantage

Looking at the lineup, the Rapids were certainly the bigger team. Players like Abubakar, Kamara, and Tommy Smith were much bigger than any of the players that Montreal had out there and it played right into the Rapids’ hands. There is no denying that the Rapids love a good set-piece goal, and their size and set-piece ability were on full display against this smaller, weaker team. It helps that Montreal forgot how to mark on set pieces too.

Can we use this momentum?

After going on a nice streak when Conor Casey took over as interim head coach, the Rapids had been struggling coming into Saturday’s game. They wanted to start the homestand with a win and that’s exactly what they got. It would have been one thing to win 1-0 or something, but to get a come-from-behind win and put up six goals? That’s a momentum builder. Let’s see if the Rapids can keep it going when the San Jose Earthquakes come to town this weekend.

Got any other thoughts on the game? Let us know in the comments section below!