This week has been interesting. With people either saying the Rapids got lucky or they dominated the match versus the Red Bulls, seemingly no one can make sense of what exactly transpired last Saturday. The Rapids came out with real intensity.
The kid that I said at the beginning of the season, Dillon Serna, had a great shot after the ball fumbled to him in the 18. I think he should have scored it, but to Robles’ credit, he made a great reaction save high on the near post. Serna would again break through on the right hand side after some brilliant connecting play by Powers and LaBrocca, but was again denied by Robles. Serna appears to be fearless.
The Rapids ended up taking 18 shot on goal and did have quite a bit of pressure, but thanks to a nicely played ball into the box that was finished by – a somehow unmarked – Thierry Henry the Rapids were down 1 – nil. Then, late in the match, the controversial penalty call happened and the Rapids Vincente Sanchez converted it to tie the match 1-1. Whether we all believe it was a penalty or not, it was called. Personally, what Olave did is a foul, plain and simple. Yes, Chavez sold it a touch, but in the middle of the field, that is a foul call. So, if it is a foul call outside the box, it should be a foul in the box. Referees don’t typically grant softer fouls like that in the box, but Olave has to know better than to body check a small guy with his back to goal there. That play aside, I think both teams performed in an okay fashion and weren’t anything spectacular; as a fan, we can only hope the Rapids improve upon that draw. Either way, it was a huge draw away at the Red Bulls, as I noted it would be in my match 1 preview.
Onto the Portland Timbers on Saturday, March 22nd; this is the home opener for the Rapids. With Chris Klute out several weeks with a hamstring issue, this will be a difficult match for the Rapids. I cannot stress too much how important he is to this team. No, it’s not like Powers is out, but it is a huge loss, nonetheless. With the Timbers recent success against the Rapids, the boys in burgundy will be looking to change this for the better in the home opener. The Rapids have never lost to the Timbers at home, a fact that does instill confidence in the fans, I’m sure. However, previous success does not guarantee future results. With both teams winless thus far, someone will win this match, I believe.
Who is it going to be? Well, in my opinion, I could go either way, but I think this is a home win for the Rapids 1-0. Timbers have had to claw back into both games they’ve played and haven’t looked great doing it. They have had some chances, but the finishing has not been on their side. I think the Rapids defense will be ready without Klute and I feel that Deshorn opens his 2014 campaign with a goal for the game winner. I also think Vicente starts this match in place of Serna. The Rapids need Vicente’s creativity in this match against the defense of the Timbers.
Who do you think will win, the Will Johnson led Timbers or the Powers driven Rapids? No matter what, it will be a great match. Also, I should note that Mark Geiger will be the referee for this one (left here without comment).
Come on you ‘Pids!
(image courtesy of USA Today Sports Images)