I finally got the chance to watch the season opener against the Union and here are my thoughts on the game.
The GOOD – Defensively, the Rapids were there, even when they were playing down a man in the second half after the Burling dismissal. They were physical, they attacked the ball, dominated the aerial battles, winning 62% of those. Irwin was great in net. Sjoberg was more than solid in his first start of his rookie MLS campaign.
The BAD – Offensively only two shots, zero on goal. Possession 38%, too many turnovers and too many balls played over the top. Little creativity from the midfield. Midfield play further declined after Sanchez substitution.
The UGLY – The second yellow and red card send off of Bobby Burling in the 67th minute. The winless streak continues.
Synopsis – I know we’re only one game in, but this is a much better Rapids team defensively from what we saw in the second half of the season last year. Midfield needs to control possession better and create opportunities moving the ball forward. Still a well earned point for the Rapids on the road to start the season. If the playoffs started today, we would be in, LOL!
The match really was a tale of two halves. The first half being the better of the two halves for the Rapids. Despite giving up an early goal in the 8th minute, The Rapids found the equalizer in the 28 minute thanks to Dillon Serna. The second half saw the Rapids with a man advantage early but they were never able to capitalize on. The midfield play became a bit stagnant compared to the first half and this is where I believe a player like Juan Ramirez will make a difference in midfield. His ability to take defenders on one v one will open up the field of play for others. Ramirez didnt play in this game, but we’ve seen what he can do on the ball.
Rapids finish the preseason 2-2-2, but the look of this team in the preseason you can say that right now this is a different and much better team than the one that finished the 2014 season. The Rapids finish the preseason back in Colorado ahead of their regular season opener against the Philadelphia Union on Mar 7th.
Another intra-league loan, oh joy! The Philadelphia Union loan keeper Zac MacMath to the Rapids for the 2015 season. MacMath, 23 was selected 5th overall in the 2011 Super Draft.
My two cents. MacMath has the experience, (4 years, 103 appearances in the league) in backing up Irwin or at least challenging Irwin for the starting job is certainly a good thing. The Rapids trading away of Joe Nasco to the Revolution, left only John Berner, who has just 5 appearances in 2014 his only season with the Rapids, as the only other keeper on the roster. So the move makes sense for the Rapids, yes I said “Rapids” and “makes sense” in the same sentence. I can guarantee you that this probably wont happen too much this season. The Rapids would give up a draft pick to the Union if MacMath becomes a permanent transfer. Welcome Zac MacMath!
“Great now we have a Zac and a Zat on the roster!” said no one ever.