Archive | April, 2007

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Posted on 27 April 2007 by ASN Staff

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Posted on 27 April 2007 by ASN Staff

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Posted on 27 April 2007 by ASN Staff

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Posted on 24 April 2007 by ASN Staff

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Posted on 22 April 2007 by ASN Staff

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Rapids hit the road

Posted on 18 April 2007 by Jeff Cann

Brown suspended for game at Pizza Hut Park

by Jeff Cann

Denver, CO April 18, 2007 — (ASN) On Sunday, the Colorado Rapids travel to Texas to play FC Dallas in their first away game of the 2007 MLS season (1 p.m. MT). In their last match, a ten-man Rapids side tied the Chicago Fire, 1-1.

Both FC Dallas [1-1-1] and Colorado [1-0-1] are tied for first place in the Western Conference with 4 points each. Altitude and Telefutura will broadcast the game live on television.

In his closing comments last week, Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo acknowledged that FC Dallas is a formidable opponent, saying “we know FC Dallas is a quality team.” A sound observation, especially in light of the Rapids’ 4-14-2 record on the road against FC Dallas.

Sunday’s game is the home opener for FC Dallas.

Where’s Roberto?
Panamanian striker Roberto Brown will miss the game on Sunday to serve a one-game suspension. He was ejected in the sixth minute in the match against the Fire. He accounts for 30% of the Rapids offense so far this season, scoring one of three goals for the team.

Where’s Herculez?
Twenty minutes after losing Brown to the red card, the Rapids shifted their alignment and moved midfielder Herculez Gomez to the lone striker position. Will the Rapids move him up along side Niko Hernandez against FC Dallas in the absence of Brown? It would be an intriguing lineup, and one that Clavijo has not ruled out.

Facts and Figures
— Rapids midfielder Herculez Gomez scored two goals and was the Man of the Match in both the Rapids’ games this season.

— FC Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty will make his first career MLS start against Colorado on Sunday.

Probable Lineups
Rapids: Bouna Coundoul, Brandon Prideaux, Mike Petke, Ugo Ihemelu, Greg Vanney, Terry Cooke, Kyle Beckerman, Pablo Mastroeni, Herculez Gomez, Jovan Kirovski, Nicolas Hernandez

FC Dallas: Shaka Hislop, Chris Gbandi, Alex Yi, Clarence Goodson, Drew Moor, Dax McCarty, Juan Carlos Toja, Arturo Alvarez, Ramon Nunez, Kenny Cooper, Carlos Ruiz

Injury Report

Colorado Rapids — No injuries reported.

FC Dallas — OUT: MF Marcelo Saragosa (right knee MCL), DF Adrian Serioux (right knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: FW Roberto Mina (left knee), DF David Wagenfuhr (concussion).

Jeff Cann can be reached at jcann@americansoccernews.net.
© Cann/Cyber Soccer Associates, LLC 2007

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Rapids hope to shine in MLS opener

Posted on 15 April 2007 by Jeff Cann

Will extreme makeover produce results?

by Jeff Cann

Denver, CO April 6, 2006 — (ASN) During the off-season, the Colorado Rapids changed almost everything about their team. They changed their logo, team colors, stadium, website and roster. Gone are veterans like Clint Mathis and Joe Cannon, while other veterans like Greg Vanney and Zach Thornton are new arrivals to the team. The Rapids even managed to sign a marketing agreement with Arsenal, the English Premier League powerhouse.

MLS certainly seems to have rewarded the extreme makeover, as the Rapids will face D.C. United on the nationally televised MLS season-opening match from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (MT). The fact that the Rapids have an opening day home game is impressive. What’s more impressive is that it is against an excellent team such as United.


Let’s face facts: The Rapids offense has been missing in action over the past five years…


Yes, Virginia, these aren’t your father’s Black ‘n Blue Rapids. But as the saying goes, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. Similarly, for all of the off-season excitement surrounding the Rapids, there remain many questions regarding their on-field ability to achieve the goal of winning an MLS Cup.

Here’s a preview of the 2007 Rapids:

Strikers
Let’s face facts: The Rapids offense has been missing in action over the past five years. This trend remains downward as they were second to last in MLS in 2006, scoring a paltry 36 goals in 32 games. Their opening-day opponent, D.C. United, scored 52 goals last year.

Featured striker Thiago Martins was released by the club. He was a valiant fighter but produced only 3 goals in 25 games. It appears that Herculez Gomez [acquired from the L.A. Galaxy in the Joe Cannon trade] and Niko Hernandez will shoulder the burden of goalscoring for the Rapids this season.

Midfielders
Recently, the Rapids traded the underachieving Mathis to the Red Bulls for a pair of draft picks. When they traded Jeff Cunningham to Real Salt Lake for Mathis last season, there were high hopes by fans that Mathis would regain the form he showed in the 2002 World Cup. Unfortunately, he appeared mostly disinterested on the field and his output was negligible.

Terry Cooke has been a fan favorite at crossing the ball. He tallied 12 assists in 23 games last year. His diminutive size can be defended against, but if left unmarked, he will find the open man.

The good news for the Rapids in 2006 is that Kyle Beckerman emerged as a legitimate offensive threat out of midfield. He and Hernandez led the team with seven goals each. If Beckerman develops better field vision and ball distribution, this could be a potent combination for the Rapids. It does appear, however, that the field general is not among the midfield roster.

Defenders
In 2004 and 2005, the glue that held the Rapids defense together was Nat Borchers. Last year, the team struggled without him, allowing a league-worst 49 goals.

Gone is Spaniard Aitor Karanka, who last year showed he could still play this man’s game. Despite his age, he logged the third highest number of minutes for the club in 2006 behind Beckerman and Hernandez. This year the responsibility will fall on veterans Pablo Mastroeni, Mike Petke, and Greg Vanney, who was acquired from FC Dallas in January. Young gun Ugo Ihemelu came over with Gomez in the Cannon trade with the Galaxy.

Goalkeepers
Cannon was probably one of the best keepers in Colorado history. He was voted on to the Rapids Best Ever XI and won the MLS Keeper of the Year in 2005. Probably the only reason the Rapids defense did not allow 70 goals last season was due to Cannon’s physical ability.

Fortunately for Zach Thornton, the improved defense – on paper, at least – should make his job easier. If Thornton gets injured, then excitable Bouna Condoul is ready to step in. It would not be good for the Rapids if Condoul played a lot of games due to his inexperience at the MLS level.

Summary
If history is any guide in other sports, a new uniform does well to improve the image and self-respect of a team. The Rapids have 32 games to prove that the Burgundy and Sky Blue are legitimate contenders.

Injury Report
Colorado Rapids – None

DC United – None

Jeff Cann can be reached at jcann@americansoccernews.net.
© Cann/Cyber Soccer Associates, LLC 2007

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Rapids hold Fire to 1-1 draw

Posted on 15 April 2007 by Jeff Cann

Hosts play a man down after early ejection

by Jeff Cann

Denver, CO April 15, 2007 — (ASN) On a windy and cool evening, the Colorado Rapids tied Eastern Conference powerhouse Chicago Fire at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. After both teams won their opening day matches last week, each now holds a 1-0-1 record [4 pts.].

Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo lauded his team’s performance.

“We don’t want to lose any points at home, but it could have been much worse,” he said. “I give credit to the whole team. We had an outstanding attitude and discipline for 85 minutes. One breakdown and they found the back of the net. Even with 10 players we tried to score and we found the back of the net.”

The match started with a hard tackle by Rapids striker Roberto Brown. In the sixth minute, Fire defender C.J. Brown went down in a heap with a scream audible in the press box. Ricardo Brown was shown straight red by referee Jair Marrufo. C.J. Brown returned to the game no worse for the wear. The Rapids fans booed him every time he touched the ball for the remainder of the game.

After the red card, the teams played most of the first half in the Rapids end. Despite the man advantage for nearly 40 minutes, the Fire were unable to score . In fact, both teams could not generate scoring opportunities and totaled 3 shots on goal by halftime.

In the 29th minute, the Rapids made clear their defensive posture when Clavijo substituted Jovan Kirovski for Pablo Mastroeni.

“We sacrificed [striker] Nicholas Hernandez by moving him to left midfield,” said Clavijo, describing his change in tactics. “Then we moved Herculez [Gomez] up front. We knew he was going to take a chance. We also replaced Jovan Kirovski with Pablo Mastroeni, and I think this worked extremely well.”

Fire coach Dave Sarachan observed that his team was unable to take advantage of the wide pitch.

“We needed to do a better job of playing forward,” Sarachan said. “We played a lot of negative balls tonight, and against 10 men sitting back that is not going to get you very far. [Our game plan] was not executed as we had hoped. The guys in front of the ball were not getting into open spots early enough. We needed a lot more wide play than we got.”


“It was a tough game, although we felt pretty confident once they got the red card. We didn’t do as well as we should have with a man advantage. With that advantage, we should have won…”Fire defender Gonzalo Segares


In the second half both teams again played conservatively. The Rapids took advantage of a mistake with an odd-man rush on goal. Gomez, playing up front after Brown’s ejection, took a ball past three Fire defenders. His hard shot struck the back of the far corner in the 58th minute. Gomez was voted Man of the Match for the second straight week.

“It wasn’t my best day on the ball, but I tried to be honest and work hard for our team,” Gomez said. “Being a man down, I needed to be that outlet. In the second half, I thought we did very well. We came out of here with a great sense of pride.”

For the next 20 minutes, the Fire continued to push, if softly, against the 10-man Rapids. It was in the 85th minute when Chicago generated an excellent scoring chance. All but one of the Rapids defenders stepped up on a ball sent over the back line by Fire striker Chris Rolfe. This lapse left the other Fire striker, Chad Barrett, facing goalkeeper Bouna Condoul alone, six yards in front of the net. It was an easy score for Barrett who placed it near post past a sprawling Condoul.

Despite the late equalizer, the Rapids appeared positive on the result.

“We stuck to our game plan after the red card,” Gomez said. “We wanted to stay tight and compact. We wanted to pick and choose our moments [when we could attack]. I think it is unfortunate that they scored that goal, but it shows a lot that we held them off for 85 minutes.”

Next week, the Rapids travel to Texas to play FC Dallas, who lost 3-0 to the Red Bulls earlier today at Giants Stadium.


Scoring Summary:

 

1

2

F

Colorado

1

0

1

Chicago

0

1

1

COL — Herculez Gomez 2 (Nicolas Hernandez 1, Bouna Coundoul 1) 58
CHI — Chad Barrett 1 (Chris Rolfe 2) 85

Colorado
Bouna Coundoul, Brandon Prideaux, Ugo Ihemelu, Mike Petke, Greg Vanney, Terry Cooke (Dan Gargan 88), Kyle Beckerman, Jovan Kirovski (Pablo Mastroeni 29), Herculez Gomez, Roberto Brown, Nicolas Hernandez,
Substitutes Not Used: Jose Cancela, Nico Colaluca, Jacob Peterson, Zach Thornton, Chris Wingert

Chicago

Matt Pickens, C.J. Brown (Thiago 46), Jim Curtin (Calen Carr 79), Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause, Chris Armas, Diego Gutierrez (Pascal Bedrossian 70), Justin Mapp, Ivan Guerrero, Chad Barrett, Chris Rolfe,
Substitutes Not Used: Jon Busch, Brian Plotkin, Dasan Robinson, Osei Telesford

Statistic summaries

COL

CHI

Shots

3

9

Shots on Goal

2

3

Saves

2

1

Fouls

15

6

Offside

2

0

Corner kicks

4

0

Disciplinary summary

COL — Roberto Brown (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 6
COL — Bouna Coundoul (caution; Reckless Foul) 31
CHI — Chad Barrett (caution; Diving, Exaggeration) 33
CHI — Diego Gutierrez (caution; Reckless Foul) 69
COL — Herculez Gomez (caution; Reckless Foul) 89

Officials:
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee’s Assistants: Rob Fereday; Frank Anderson
4th official: Ben Chouaf
Time of game: 1:52
Attendance: 12,110
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 70 degrees

Jeff Cann can be reached at jcann@americansoccernews.net.
© Cann/Cyber Soccer Associates, LLC 2007

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