Colorado Rapids SC v Rapids Reserves. I mean, TORONTO FC: Bobbies World
Benjamins first official BSG blog entry
Benjamin Kowalsky
Apr 21st 2010

Hello Bobbies!

What a game! Not as big a crowd this time around (a little under 10,000 as compared to our home opener which had just under 12,000), BUT the Bobbies and the other supporters groups were out in full force. The chants were great, and Ill post a few of my personal favorites, along with some commentary.

After talking with the Media Relations Director I was able to secure a matchday press pass (sweet) and was told that I could interview anyone I wanted (double sweet). So, for future reference, if theres any question you have for any player after the home games, just let me know and Ill be sure to ask. That being said, I snagged 4 interviews: Larentowitz, Thompson, Moor, and Mr. Manager Gary Smith. Ill touch on what was said there in a minute after I talk about OUR match performance.

 

First, how was the Pregame:

Pregame Tailgate put on by Class VI and C-Firm was great. My friend and I spent some time kicking the ball around with them in the parking lot. Thankfully, I didnt have a repeat performance of the failed dribble to bicycle kick manuever which earned me a skinned elbow and worries of a concussion. Of which we will no longer speak following this sentence.

Bulldogs showed up a bit later and headed straight in to the Park. I wasnt with them as I was spending the day with my mom who flew all the way out from the East Coast to see this game.

 

Second, How was the Bobby Experience in the Terrace:

The Terraces are getting even better. Our chants were getting around. Thanks to the printouts that were being handed out. We even got some back and forth going with the West Side of the Terrace. Hopefully East Side and West Side of the Terrace can coordinate even more on some more complex call-and-response sort of chants, but it was heartening to just see it start out sort of organically. The one that I remember the most would have to be when the East Side would yell "COLORADO" and the West Side would respond with "RAPIDS".

As for the chants and songs circulating around, the new one that seemed to catch on the most was "Conor Casey: Rapids Number Nine".

I also want to state that, yes, I was part of the group that was chanting "FUCK FREI". My little 9 year old cousin, who was down there with us in the Terrace, asked his mom "Mommy? What are they saying?" To which she replied, "French Fries, honey. Theyre saying French Fries!"

Oh, the delicious lies we tell our children.

Incidentally, everyone still had a great time in the Terraces. No one said "Oh, there was a little too much swearing for my kids..." No. People genuinely enjoy the enthusiasm, exhuberance, passion, and AUTHENTICITY that genuine supporters groups add to the match. Can you hear me Front Office?

Stupid Prediction: DSG converts to all Terraces next year. Right after we sign Diego Maradonas Fist as our DP.

 

Third, THE GAME:

First, I just want to say that you dont go for the Terraces if you want a "premium viewing experience". Thats not what a Terrace is for. So Im not going to complain about the view. Thats out of the way, now lets focus on the game itself.

I am going to say is that from what I saw from where I was, the Rapids defense was great for about 80 minutes of the game. Drew Moor showing some great leadership in the back 4 in absence of hardman Julien Baudet. Danny Earls showing a bit more attacking flair this time around, and Marvell Wynne continuing to grow in his new role as a Center Back. Koz was really the only one who looked like he just got caught with his shorts down and ended up in a running contest with Chad Barret. The rest of the back line didnt react fast enough to the developing situation, which forced Pickens to come out and try to take Barret on by himself. This resulted in the penalty kick and the only goal that Toronto FC was able to put up on the board.

Pickens himself had a great performance. But as usual his saves seem to worry people. He keeps throwing himself into the post! As much as I like Steward Ceus, I dont like our odds of winning the season with Matt Pickens going home in a Denver Ambulance. Just saying. But that guy really puts himself on the line for his team, and thats exactly who we need in the net.

Pablo still stands as the rock of our holding midfield, and showed a lot more cool and composure this time around. I think he learned his lesson in KC: Captains have to stay cool. He did. Larentowicz is showing me that yes indeed, Colorado got the better of that Off-Season trade. His focus and awareness are still both excellent. Plus he frightened DeGuzman with a cheeky free kick to put the Rapids back in the game. Colin Clark, as has been mentioned by others, just seems on the cusp of coming into form. Id say hes 90% there. Jaime Smith, on the other hand, has a ways to go. But the problem is I dont think I ever got a chance to see what Jaime Smith looks like when hes IN form, I just havent seen enough of him... So I dont know when Ill know that.

Thankfully, weve got Wells Thompson on deck. Who looks like he really wants to get into that starting 11. He had a brilliant run at goal followed by possibly the best chance of the afternoon... sadly snuffed. Quincy Amarikwa is growing on me. Like Thompson, hes got a great flash in the pan sort of play. Fast-paced. Action-oriented. But while Wells is getting that sixth sense which only comes with experience, Quincy showed that while he certainly has heart, he doesnt quite have his decisions right. While I loved watching Quincy bravely take on 3 defenders in a struggle for the ball, I just couldnt help but think "Run AWAY from the three defenders, Quincy! AWAAAAY!!!"

Dudes got guts aplenty though.

Speaking of guts. I cannot say enough for Omar Cummings. That man is our most complete forward. Hes got speed, style, sense, and guts. He didnt get to have the chance to show off a great goal, or even a great football knockout boot to the keepers face... Hes still Omar. He chased down every ball, showing that characteristic energy and pace that he shows every match.

And I think we actually got to see Conor Casey come to life in this game. Aside from the penalty kicks... he was looking more the Casey of yester-year. The guy who gets on the ball, who shoves defenders around like hes a defender himself. This is why, despite what some may say about Colorado, we have the best striker/forward tandem in the business. I would hate to defend against Omar and Connor. End of story. On the one hand Ive got this guy who can run circles around me, and then theres this other guy who could force me off the ball with a flick of his pinky finger. I wouldnt know what to do. Cant wait until we see what effect Quincy and Lopez are going to have.

And who saw that little tussle between Casey and Stefan Frei? Was I the only one?

From my angle it looked like Casey was dallying too long in front of a ball which Frei was taking his sweet time to pick up. Just a little intimidation, which is exactly why you want a guy like Casey as a pure striker--to make that keeper nervous. Then as Casey turns around to go jogging off, Frei took a little swipe at him. I lold. Casey turned around with this "WTF? u serious?" look on his face. It was classic moment.

Another classic moment was when Julian DeGuzman, the high-paid DP of Toronto FC, showed us exactly how much DPs are actually worth. Larentowicz steps up to take his free kick, and fires it directly at the knees of the wall. Should have been an easy clear and a slap to the forehead for Jeff... but no. Not for DeGuzman. He was determined to make the weekly highlight reel one way or another. There you go Toronto FC, something for the highlight reel that actually looks dumber than Dwayne De Rosarios goal celebrations.

Seriously, all respect to De Rosarios skills, but what is up with that sort of "Walk on Hot Coals" he does? Thats almost as weird as anything Arjen Robben calls a goal celebration. And thats saying a lot.

It made me long for the days of more elegant celebrations like the Charlie Davies "Stanky Leg".

PS. America loves Charlie Davies. Recognize.

Thankfully, we kept Torontos celebrations to a minimum. De Rosario only got to walk on the coals once. One out of four shots conceded on goal. Honestly I think that was at least 3 shots too many. Toronto hasnt a great offense, and there was just too much leeway given in the back for them to get through. The Rapids certainly have improved defensively, nay, overall, since the draw with Chicago. But Colorado has got to keep that energy going not just for 90 minutes, but until the final whistle.

That we didnt get any goals from open play should be something to look at.

So we got by Toronto with 3-1. And we move up the Conference table to a tie for second place on Goal Differential with Houston. Not bad. Not bad.

 

Last, the moment youve probably been waiting for me to get to, the POST GAME QUOTES:

I got a chance to talk with the Manager and three of the players. I just basically bee-lined for Larentowicz. This would be his first goal of the year and his first ever wearing the Rapids Burgundy. 

I asked Jeff what was different about this game overall than the 2-2- tie with Chicago, and about those "little things" that were mentioned in the postgame against Chicago:

"The last home, we wanted to pressure the opponent and stay on top of them...We let it slip against chicago, but this time we stayed on top of them and went out with a lead at half time, so I felt like our presssure was being rewarded. When we came out for the second half we made sure that we didnt let it slip, we just came out and put it all on the line.

"The Manager just really stressed the small things and asked for just a small percentage (more) from everybody whether it be on closing down players or being mentally prepared when we come out after the break. He just asked for the small 5 to 10 minute spurts where we keep the pressure up and and dont allow a lull in our play where they can get back in. I dont think we were perfect on that today, because we did kind of let them to creep back in, but in the end I think we stayed on top of them."

 When asked about what he thought when DeGuzman jumped out of the way of his freekick:

"I say thank you. And then I watch it go in the goal."

 

Wells Thompson on giving the bit extra:

"My coach at Wake... always talked about these 5 minutes: the first 5 minutes, first 5 minutes of a half, last 5 minutes, and the 5 minutes after a goal... a lot of times goals are scored during that period. So I think its just going out there with a better attitude, better mental attitude, prepared, to set the standard so-to-speak."

On the Almost-Goal that almost-happened:

"Oh man! That was a gift! That was such a gift! im kicking myself! I thought I would kind of catch him (Toronto keeper Stefan Frei) off gaurd and just hit it one-touch and I just didnt hit it well enough. You kick yourself on those, you just look back over the season and think "I should have put that one away". But hopefully Ill learn from it, and put the next one away.

"Coach just wanted me to go in, run at defenders, and bring energy. So I wasnt even trying to catch my breath I was just running at defenders!" 

 

Drew Moor on the conceded goal:

"Kosuke stepped up and when a defender steps up real high like that to put pressure on the ball then everyone has got to step up and i think myself and Danny were slow to step up, and that kept him onside, but then after that I think Pickens did a good job standing him up and i think we had a couple of guys who were able to get back in on the line but Pickens had committed and probably made a smart foul because if the guy gets around him then hes just going to smash it home... We just needed to be on the same page. Kosuke did the right thing to step up. We just needed to step up with him."

 

GARY SMITH on the overall performance:

"We dominated possession, got a good lead, in a ten minute spell the energy for us went out of the game and allowed them an opportunity to a get a little bit of a foothold. And they scored in that spell. I dont know how many shots on goal they had, but it werent many at all. And to concede and for them to draw level was a concern, because I dont think theyd really done anything to warrant that."

"I really thought that we attacked the game in the way Id wanted...that energy and intention in our game, I felt, in the end was the difference."

On Larentowicz:

"Jeff gave us that (inspiration) today. That free kick, that fabulous free kick, to take us in front, and from that point on we started to believe that we could win the game. There are moments which can change the course of a game, and that was one of them"

What has Improved since Kansas City:

"We looked before the game at the set plays from Kansas. All the postive ones. I think they had five corners on the day, two or three dead ball situations, that we defended fabulously well. And theres no doubt that theres been an improvement there. But when you get undone on a set peice and its the winning goal as well. I along with everyone else start to get a bit down... but the reality is that the guys have taken on board what it means to defend those situations. I thought today we did it ever so well."

What to improve from this game:

"The final ball, on many occasions, even from dead ball situations, was nowhere near good enough. And the players know that. Its part of that process moving forward."

 

And thats all I have. Thanks for a great Sunday, Bulldogs. And I will see you again at yet another Rapids home game!

Country Roads...Take me home...

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