(Cross posted from Denver Post Terrace blog)
It’s often said that possession is everything in soccer.
But as last night’s game between the Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution proves, the numbers that really matter at the end of the day are on the scoreboard.
At times dominating through the midfield, the Rapids played their (new-new 4-4-2) brand of soccer. And despite having to play on an artificial turf field the Revs front office continues to insist is a worthy pitch, the Rapids looked the better side.
In the imposed parity of Major League Soccer, no team goes on the road insisting that a point is good enough. But for a mid-week game on turf on the other side of the country, the Rapids might have had just that in mind.
What started with good possession ended with chances unfulfilled, led by bad finishing and a lack of a final pass. Add some tired legs into the equation, and it’s no wonder the Revs took all three.
On to the ratings:
GK – Matt Pickens – 4.5 – Matt didn’t have his best night of the year. Just one game removed from setting the Rapids clean sheet record, Matt found himself slightly out of position on the second goal (a delightful chip by Fernando Cardenas) and scrambling to make up for the mistakes made by Tyrone Marshall playing in front of him.
LB – Luis Zapata – 4.5 – Probably the best defender on the night for the Rapids. His overlapping runs on the left helped lead the attack through that side all night. He remains calm in defense and seemed to be the only defender who wasn’t scrambling.
CB – Drew Moor – 4 – Moor plays best alongside Marvell Wynne, who was held out last night due to a hamstring injury. On lots of plays, it looked like he knew that he needed to do more to make up for Marshall’s lack of speed and jumping ability.
CB – Tyrone Marshall – 3 – Tyrone is a veteran, to be sure, and a consummate professional. But he has been sitting on the bench for the better part of the last two seasons, and in that time has lost a step. This team can learn a lot from Marshall’s play, but at 37 years old, it’s getting harder for him to keep up.
RB – Hunter Freeman – 3.5 – The hardest decision Oscar Pareja has had to make so far in his tenure with the Rapids is at RB. Do you go with a badly out-of-form Kimura, or the long-suffering journeyman Freeman? After last night, I think the decision is harder. Freeman doesn’t look quite comfortable defending, is no threat to go forward and has never been the same since he came back from Norway.
MF – Brian Mullan – 4.5 – Mullan knows his way around a soccer pitch, knows when to play the ball back and when to play it into space. His high soccer IQ keeps him from making dumb mistakes or getting caught out of possession. But if the Rapids are going to insist on playing attacking football, Mullan might not be the answer.
MF – Martin Rivero – 4 – Rivero is still learning a lot about MLS. It is obvious that the physical nature of the midfield play gets to him. As others have said, he often takes one too many touches of the ball. It might mean something more about the others around him, but he finds himself playing too fast, and last night was no exception.
MF – Jaime Castrillon – 5 – Castrillon was responsible for the only Rapids goal of the night, a nicely placed header on a set piece. His sharp, short passes through the midfield started lots of the attacking play for the Rapids. He doesn’t seem like he’s too fond of defending, though, and in MLS, one through eleven must play both ways.
MF – Jeff Larentowicz – 5 – Every time Jeff touched the ball last night, you could see where he is comfortable with this Rapids team: playing behind him to Drew Moor, carrying the ball 10 or less yards, or by playing a long ball over the top. Larentowicz’s frustration never boiled over, though.
FW – Omar Cummings – 3.5 – The game is really in Omar’s head. He’s chasing it, he’s overplaying balls, he’s making bad runs, and he’s being impatient for a goal or a touch. That missed PK two weeks ago against the Galaxy made things go from bad to worse.
FW – Tony Cascio – 5.5 – Cascio is starting to turn some heads in the league with his consistent play and his dangerous attacking skills. He seems to know already how the game is played in MLS, and it has helped him turn in good performance after good performance in his rookie season.
SUB – Kamani Hill – INC – A quiet 15 minutes from Kamani Hill, who subbed in for Hunter Freeman. I’d like to see him consistently getting 60 or 75 minutes in midfield each game. Look for him to do so Sunday in Dallas.
SUB – Andre Akpan –INC – Replaced Rivero in the 84 minute.