Categorized | Match Reports

Rapids captain surges forward

Posted on 29 October 2010 by pshea

The pregame calculus for the visiting Columbus Crew at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Thursday night required special surveillance for Colorado’s Omar Cummings and Conor Casey. But relentless attacking from Pablo Mastroeni gave the Rapids a 1-0 victory and altered the equation in the two-game series.

Mastroeni scored the game-winner and made more than a dozen runs beyond the strikers’ position to catch the Crew off-guard and open space for teammates.

“If we can get players beyond midfield, it throws them on their heels,” Mastroeni explained. “Once we got back there, our wing play gave us possession and allowed us to get further into the attack. That’s what we tried to do in the first half. But unfortunately we were unable to capitalize on all the chances we created.”

Cummings leaked free on successive plays early in the game, sending a number of passes on a silver platter for Casey and others. In the 23rd minute, Cummings found himself streaking down the right side again, and Casey snaked through the defenders’ blindsides and crashed to the ball at the near post. With a half-dummy, half-flick, Casey distracted the defense and allowed the ball to roll across the goalmouth for a sliding Mastroeni to put away.

Noting how the momentum shifted when Robert Warzycha replaced Steven Lenhart and Guillermo Barros Schelotto with Jason Garey and Andres Mendoza in the 68th minute, Mastroeni said, “They had their opportunities late in the second half.”

In fact, the visitors took six of their nine shots after the Rapids had taken their fifteenth and final shot of the night in the 63rd minute. The end of the game looked like a tide-shifting march toward the aggregate goal total to determine who advances to the Eastern Conference finals. The teams face again next Saturday afternoon in Columbus.

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