Categorized | Match Reports

RSL = Rapids Sorry Late

Posted on 23 October 2010 by pshea

Many reporters had their stories written five or 10 minutes before the final whistle at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night, but Real Salt Lake scored twice in stoppage time to turn an impending shutout loss into a 2-2 tie.

If you want to read a mythical story line scripted eight hours before kickoff*, scroll below the Player Ratings. In the meantime, here’s the “Real” story.

The Rocky Mountain Cup heads back to Salt Lake City for another year, despite a subpar showing. Head coach Jason Kreis, defender Nat Borchers, and captain Kyle Beckerman didn’t hesitate to denigrate their performance overall.

“We didn’t come out with enough energy,” Borchers said, “and we lost the ball a lot. Frankly, this was one of our worst performances of the year.”

“I thought the effort was not there in the first half,” Kreis said, noting how he thought his players had a “tremendous reaction” to his halftime request for more committed defending and taking care of the ball.

“We have to play better in the playoffs,” captain Beckerman explained.

Although he was disappointed with the turn of events at the close of the game, Colorado head coach Gary Smith was quick to praise his top two goal-scorers (Omar Cummings and Conor Casey).

Player Ratings

Colorado Rapids

Rapids player ratings on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best:

Matt Pickens (3): Despite three saves and a solid performance overall, Pickens was too casual with the ball when Alvaro Saborio blocked his clearance and scored the first goal for the visitors in the closing moments of stoppage time.

Drew Moor (7): Moor had another solid night, performing his defensive duties and getting forward for set pieces too.

Marvell Wynne (7): Wynne’s speed secured the Rapids defense, and he didn’t give any gifts to the visitors.

Kosuke Kimura (8): Kimura won individual duals (offensively and defensively), and he served a perfect cross for Conor Casey’s goal in the 51st minute. Coach Kreis condemned his players for not handling basic plays like the throw-in on the right side that led to the Rapids’ second goal. Kimura tossed it to Mastroeni and took the one-touch return pass forward before launching a curling cross off Casey’s diving head. In the 71st minute, Kimura raced Morales for the ball not far from midfield. Instead of positioning for a tackle, Kimura ran through the play and rifled a long shot not too far wide of the goal.

Anthony Wallace, 84 minutes (7): Wallace overlapped to receive the ball from Jamie Smith in the 16th minute, firing a low, hard cross into the box for Cummings to caress into the corner with his left foot.

Julien Baudet, 6 minutes (NR): Baudet didn’t get a chance to do much during the final turn of events.

Pablo Mastroeni, (8): The captain teamed with Jeff Larentowicz to give Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales as few opportunities as possible. The two visiting midfielders took one shot apiece, and they didn’t get much time on the ball.

Jeff Larentowicz (7): Larentowicz applied relentless pressure and uncorked a couple shots.

Jamie Smith, 45 minutes (5): Smith said his hamstring felt tight at halftime, forcing coach Smith to insert Wells Thompson early.

Brian Mullan, (3): Before the final play of the game, Mullan was MVP material worthy of a “7” or “8.” He ran down every hopeless cause, and he almost put the Rapids up 3-0 immediately after Casey’s goal. Instead of backing off, Mullan ran through a play and tackled the ball forward, cut past Beckerman, continued running with the ball, and fired a low shot just wide of the left post. But with millimoments to play, he fouled Morales unnecessarily on the flank, ran back into the crowd in the penalty box, and then fouled Jamison Olave with an improbably powerful wrestling move. A stellar performance ended with the game tied off a penalty from Mullan’s mistake.

Wells Thompson (6): Thompson added energy in the second half.

Omar Cummings, (6): You can’t blame Cummings for much. He put one of his four shots in the goal, a deft redirection with his left foot off a cross from Anthony Wallace in the 16th minute. If anything, the Jamaican goal machine held the ball too long in crowded situations, perhaps killing off a few more opportunities.

Conor Casey, 64 minute (7): Casey’s goal was the result of sheer determination and agility. Sandwiched between two defenders, he dove sideways to redirect the ball past Rimando.

Macoumba Kandji (8): Kandji replaced Conor Casey in the 64th minute, and he didn’t get a lot of lucky bounces during his 26 minutes on the field (no shots, and not very many chances on the ball with space and time).

Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake player ratings on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best:

Nick Rimando (6): Rimando snagged a few high balls and finished with one save (Larentowicz in the 85th minute). His defenders blocked four shots on-goal as well.

Robbie Russell (6): Russell played tough on Conor Casey and anyone else who visited his area.

Nat Borchers (7): Borchers cleared the ball to conclude a Halloween-scary sequence for the visitors in the 76th minute. Colorado’s Anthony Wallace completed a clever give-and-go with Omar Cummings on the left wing and pushed the ball to the endline before crossing it on the ground to Brian Mullan. Mullan fired a shot off Chris Wingert, and Borchers cleared Mullan’s ensuing cross in the box.

Jamison Olave (6): Olave matched Casey’s physical presence, and Olave’s positioning in the penalty box (specifically, on his back) was a critical component of the game-tying goal.

Chris Wingert (8): Wingert played tough in the back and saved a sure goal in the 76th minute.

Javier Morales (7): Morales gave the extra edge to Real Salt Lake’s attack, but he didn’t have many opportunities. He forced Pickens to make a save in the closing moments of the first half.

Ned Grabavoy, 29 minutes (5): Other than earning a yellow card for hacking Kosuke Kimura after getting burned on the flank, Grabavoy didn’t do much.

Andy Williams, 61 minutes (6): Williams raced to the endline with the ball on his last play before being subbed, slipping a dangerous pass into the box that might have forced Kreis to reconsider his substitution plan if the visitors had scored.

Kyle Beckerman (7): Although Beckerman didn’t find much space or time on the ball, he played steady in the middle.

Will Johnson, 76 minutes (4): Perhaps too much mileage lately has wilted Will’s legs. He took a shot in the 68th minute, but he was largely ineffective.

Collen Warner, 14 minutes (NR)

Robbie Findley, 61 minutes (4): Findley managed merely one shot during his time on the field.

Alvaro Saborio (8): Seemingly dressed like a ghost for Halloween, Saborio slipped unnoticed all night, putting four of five shots on goal and scoring both tallies in the final moments. “He always gets a sniff,” captain Beckerman said of Saborio, recalling a similar goal against Columbus earlier in the season. Saborio chased a lost cause, deflected a nonchalant clear from Pickens, and followed the play as Pickens raced back to get the bouncing ball. Pickens ended up in the net like a tuna when the ball bounced off the crossbar, and Saborio fired it in from inches out. Saborio calmly scored the tying goal with a penalty kick moments later.

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*this is not real. This was written in speculation eight hours before kickoff…

RSL = Rapids Spoil Legacy

With a 7-0 victory, the Colorado Rapids spoiled seven measures of success for Real Salt Lake at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night. To wit:

  1. The Rocky Mountain Cup returns to the east side of the Continental Divide.
  2. The Supporters’ Shield goes to the gaLAxy.
  3. The Houston Dynamo retain the MLS goals-against record of 23 (set in 2007).
  4. The Kansas City Wizards retain the MLS road-goals-against record of 16 (set in 2000).
  5. The Wizards keep their shutout record too (16, also set in 2000)
  6. D.C. United (2007) and the San Jose Earthquakes (2005) will continue to share the MLS best goal-differential of plus-22.
  7. RSL will face a higher-seeded opponent when the playoffs begin.

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