I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but the Rapids won this week. They didn’t just win; they shut out Chivas USA 4-0. It was an amazing win for the ‘Pids, but it wasn’t as easy as the score might suggest.
Last week in my very brief thoughts going into this match, I said there were 2 main areas the Rapids needed to improve on to take three points from Chivas. The first of these was pace and consistency. Against LA, the Rapids’ slow start may have cost them the match, but this week, they came out of the gate fighting. They had plays developing on the goal within the first minute or two and that really helped to establish the pace. However, Chivas matched these efforts and there was a lot exciting end-to-end football with both teams having some great chances. Rapids keeper Matt Pickens made some truly heroic saves which kept the score at 0-0 going into the half and ultimately earned him Man of the Match (which I think in itself says that Chivas brought more to the match than the score indicates).
The second area that I said was going to be integral to the Rapids’ success was improving on set pieces. Set pieces, set pieces, set pieces, for the love of football, SET PIECES. And again, the Rapids delivered. Shortly after the half, Tony Cascio scored on a corner kick. Chivas pushed back, but still failed to net anything. Kamani Hill put a second goal away in the 82nd minute, and the Rapids were able to capitalize on a Jeff Larentowicz PK just a couple minutes later.
Up by three with mere minutes left, the crowd started to demand recently-fit front man Conor Casey be subbed on, and he was at the start of stoppage time. Almost instantly Casey was setting up on the goal and although his first attempt failed, he came back with an assist to Hill who put it away in the final moments of the game for a 4-0 lead at the final whistle.
Overall, the Rapids played good, solid football. They played hard the full 90 against a (nearly) relentless Chivas, and hey, 4 goals feels pretty good. Hopefully this win is an indication of upward momentum that the Rapids can take advantage of as they head out for three road games, facing off against New England on Wednesday and Dallas this weekend.
(image courtesy of Bart Young/Colorado Rapids)