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Rapids fall flat at home

October 2, 2010 | 10:06 pm 1
By Shaun Schafer

Trailing 1-0 to the worst team in the league in the second half, it became apparent that the Colorado Rapids needed to score once to preserve their pride and twice to preserve their playoff position.

They did neither.

The Rapids, who looked like world beaters in dismantling the previous four visitors to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, got outplayed and beaten 1-0 by D.C. United on Saturday night.

After dismantling the Philadelphia Union 4-1 on Wednesday, the team had a night where it couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Here’s how bad it was. The highlight of the game came in the 24th minute when ‘keeper Matt Pickens lunged back and to his right, reached out with his left hand, and tipped an attempted chip over the crossbar.

Besides the acrobatics, Pickens also came out in the 45th minute to deny Justin Alsopp in a one-on-one off a bad back pass. The Rapids luck ran out moments later when Alsopp latched onto a loose ball and slotted it home to provide the game winner moments before halftime.

The second half was little more than frustration, as three subs failed to provide a spark, and the Rapids dropped to 11-8-8.

Coming Soon: The final three games of the season are a series of rising challenges. The Rapids travel to Dallas to face the No. 3 team in conference next week. A week later, it’s on to L.A. to face the league-leading Galaxy. Then, it’s a return home for a rivalry game against Real Salt Lake, the second-best team in the West.

Critical Need: The Rapids need three points. They might back into the playoffs as is, if the Kansas City Wizards fail to make up ground. However, one win in the next two weeks would make the season finale much more palatable.

Not Sold: Playing the worst team in the league gave head coach Gary Smith a chance to tinker with the lineup. In fact, it gave him a chance to play three forwards, with Macoumba Kandji, Conor Casey and Omar Cummings up top.

Instead, he went with Kandji and Casey at forward. The experiment failed. They failed to connect.

On Wednesday, Kandji and Cummings seemed to be in a competition for who could play the best with pace, and the team benefited. None of that happened on Saturday. Casey was a nonfactor, and Kandji was incapable of creating.

Kandji was brought in as insurance against the possible loss of Cummings. On Saturday, he proved that he was no Omar Cummings. He lacks the Jamaican’s work rate, shot and strength.

After the game, sitting in the Cantina, a fan bemoaned the loss of Mehdi Ballouchy for Kandji. It was that sort of night.

More, More, Moor: Defender Drew Moor was the Rapids biggest scoring threat. His shot off a corner kick in the first half was cleared off the line. Late in the second half, Moor just missed the far post on a shot off a Jamie Smith corner.

Yin and Yang: The Rapids have now lost two home games in 14 contests in Commerce City. The first was 1-0 to the LA Galaxy back in May. Saturday night gave the Rapids a set, a loss to the best team in  the league coupled with one to the worst team in the league.

Final Word: After more than 20 years of writing for a general news audience, my language has been neutered. Following the loss to an abysmal D.C. United team on a night when the Rapids could have cemented their playoff position, there is only one word. It’s a guttural, Anglo-Saxon term that begins with F and ends with K. And it’s not “firetruck.”

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One Comment »

  • mike said:

    Love the final word Shaun! my feelings are pretty much the same. And why make so many changes at this point? especially in the back four.. whatever! two tough road games and a huge home game left. I’m sure they’ll find a way to get the points.

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