Categorized | Match Reports

TKO after 23 minutes

Posted on 29 August 2010 by pshea

The Colorado Rapids got behind the Houston defense three times in the first 23 minutes on Saturday night, and the Dynamo found themselves behind by three goals and one player with more than an hour remaining at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, ultimately losing 0-3.

Imagine a boxing match decided with a TKO in the first round, but instead of heading to the showers, the victor has to stay on his feet for another hour. The vanquished foe gets up off the mat to take a few periodic swings, but the contest is essentially over.

“The first 10 minutes is the story,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear explained. “You can talk about the next 80, but after the first 10, the game’s already done.”

Rapids midfielder Jamie Smith opened the scoring in the second minute when Conor Casey carried the ball through midfield and threaded a pass to the left wing. Smith cut to the goal and Omar Cummings streaked up the middle stride-for-stride. Pat Onstadt had to consider both players before digging the ball out of the net.

“It was a fantastic pass,” Smith said. “I really didn’t have to do too much. As soon as he played it past, my first thought was to go for goal.”

Five minutes later, captain Pablo Mastroeni jumped to flick a ball forward in midfield, and Dynamo midfielder Lovel Palmer jumped into the play. Both players tangled on the ground and kicked at each other. After consulting with referee assistants on the sideline, Abiodun Okulaja showed Palmer a red card and flashed a yellow for Mastroeni.

Down a man, Houston was down by two goals six minutes later when Mastroeni pushed the ball forward to Casey on the right wing. Again, Cummings streaked in front of the goal and tucked away Casey’s square ball for the 2-0 lead (and his sixth goal of the season).

For the next few minutes, the Rapids maintained one of the longest possessions ever seen at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. With the ball at their feet and only 10 dispirited opponents, they probed forward, retreated, switched sides, and patiently worked the ball.

In the 23rd minute, the long possession period concluded with the final goal of the game. Houston had the ball briefly but lost it, a first-time touch to Cummings in the Rapids’ defensive half. Cummings weaved past Anthony Obodai’s attempt to foul him and put the ball on Mehdi Ballouchy’s foot inside the box. The creator from Casablanca cleverly cut around a sliding Geoff Cameron and fired a shot on-goal. Onstadt deflected the blast, but Casey was in position to nod the ball in the net (his eighth goal of the season).

Kinnear replaced Dominic Oduro with Mike Chabala, and then he removed Obodai and fortified his defense with Eddie Robinson. Brian Ching created an opportunity at the close of the half, but he tweaked his calf. So Kinnear used his third substitute to put Cam Weaver up top for the second half, a 45-minute formality.

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