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Cummings, Casey lead the way

October 16, 2010 | 9:46 pm No comments
By Shaun Schafer

The Rapids got into the playoffs about an hour before the game with the LA Galaxy and spent Saturday night vacillating between complacency for getting in and desire to grab a better position.

Desire won.

Omar Cummings and Conor Casey each had a goal and an assist as the Rapids marked their first playoff qualification since 2006 by beating the Galaxy 3-1.

The Rapids improved to 12-8-9 (45 points) and jumped into seventh place for the playoffs; after clinching when Kansas City lost to New England 1-0. If positions remain this way, the Rapids will face the Columbus Crew. LA dropped to 17-7-5 (56 points) and continued to stumble toward the playoffs after shredding the league during the first half of the season.

Although the Rapids started in a fog, the team seemed to wake up on the action of an opposing player, Edson Buddle.

Buddle appeared to pick up two goals in the first 17 minutes, one for each side. First, he scored for LA on a deflection in the 9th minute. Then, in the 17th, he appeared to score an own goal off a Jamie Smith corner. Brian Mullan was initially credited for the Rapids, then, the own goal responsibility was transferred to Juninho. Watching the replay, it looked like Buddle to me.

The rest of the night belonged to the Rapids as they did something they hadn’t done since May 26, 2006, by coming back from a goal down and winning. The team’s record after falling behind was 0-51-17 during that period.

Cummings got his 13th goal of the season on a selfless play from Casey in the 67th minute. Casey carried the ball on a dribble and touched it forward to Cummings, who snapped a left-footed shot to the far post. Ricketts could only watch it rake the back of the net.

Casey picked up his 12th goal of the season when his strike partner did what he does best. Cummings got the ball on the right wing with pace. He raced downfield and from the edge of the 18 he smashed the ball across the front of the goal. Casey tapped the ball into the goal in the 30th minute.

First Goal: Full credit to Buddle for the shot that led to the first goal. He was outside the 18, and you know you will miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. Still, Drew Moor defended it, and the deflection did all the work. Buddle’s celebration was, frankly, a bit cheap.

Terrible Tackle: Casey made a case in the first half for why forwards should never try to slide tackle. His poorly timed challenge in the 35th minute earned Casey a yellow card and it sent Chris Birchall to the sideline for a substitution in the 42nd minute. It’s only luck that Birchall was still walking under his own steam.

Left Back: With Anthony Wallace suffering a groin strain, Wells Thompson was pushed into the starting left back position. He had a tough first half as David Beckham seemed to have unmolested runs up the right side. The positioning left Thompson yelling and picking up a yellow card in the 25th minute. Still, he played the full 90.

Next: It’s the final home game of the regular season and it’s a doozy. Real Salt Lake comes to town and the Rapids get a chance to win the Rocky Mountain Cup and improve their playoff position. Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park at 7 p.m. has the potential to be great, especially after the vitriol that was spilled during the 1-1 tie in Utah.

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