When the Rapids headed to Dallas last week, I said I felt good about it. I felt so good about it, in fact, that I agreed to a friendly wager with an FCD fan, because I said the game was winnable; winnable or not, it wasn’t to be for the ‘Pids.
The Rapids opened their account early with a 12th minute Mullan-to-Castrillon goal and were looking to keep up momentum, but Cummings was unable to capitalize on two important chances in the next 20 minutes; those missed opportunities would prove more infuriating with each of Dallas’ three goals, which came in rapid succession. The first of these came in the 41st, courtesy of Fabian Castillo (and I will admit, it was a beauty), and the second came just three minutes later when Jair Benitez took a free kick and sunk his first ever MLS goal. Dallas closed out the half with their third and final goal (David Ferreira) in the 48th. The Pids were down, but not out in the second half; Jeff Larentowicz sunk his third of the season in the 55th minute, low and through the box, a goal startlingly similar to Dallas’ first of the night.
Unfortunately, that was the last of the good news for the Rapids. Jaime Castrillon earned a straight red in a tactless moment of astoundingly bad judgment in the 71st, and the 10-man squad wasn’t able to do much else with the match. The game ended 3-2 Dallas, and my hopes of winning a Dallas Beer Guardians scarf to accompany the Pids’ three points were dashed.
So what went wrong? (I’ll bet you can guess…) Looking at the match stats, the teams were evenly matched, as I predicted they would be, in a lot of areas. Dallas had a slight advantage in possession, but the two were closely matched on pass accuracy, and both had 12 shots on goal with 5 on target. Dallas were simply able to make one more of those shots count than the Rapids were. The Rapids played a passable game, but the squandering of clear opportunities match after match is disheartening. The Rapids are now sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference, four points above dead-last Portland.
It’s admittedly a little hard to be optimistic going into Saturday’s game against Chivas, but only one point separates the Rapids from seventh place Chivas, and the Rapids won 4-0 in their last meeting with the Goats (Rapids are 10-5-5 in overall meetings with Chivas). Although Castrillon is (deservedly, in my opinion) suspended from the match, Conor Casey has been training with the team this week, and is expected to be back in action at Dicks Sporting Goods Park on Saturday. There’s really no reason not to be cautiously optimistic headed into this week’s match.
(image courtesy of coloradorapids.com)