Tag Archives: 2018 home opener

Episode 4: A New Hope, for Rapids

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, March 24: 2-2 Draw

The boys are back in town! Last Saturday kicked off the Colorado Rapids season at home and it was electric in the stadium. With all of the changes that happened in the offseason, including those that happened between my last article and this game, there were a lot of excited fans.

The stadium was buzzing. There were new flags hanging in front of the Rapids supporters section, C38, that hadn’t been there last season. As commented on during the offseason, coach Anthony Hudson played the team in a new (to them) 3-5-2 format and saw Joe Mason get his MLS debut.

Image courtesy: John A. Babiak @Photog_JohnB

The game started well with a goal by Dominique Badji in the first 5 minutes. Marlon Hairston hit a beautiful cross to Edgar Castillo who put the ball directly on Badji’s foot for the goal. Not much later, Tommy Smith hit a pass up to a wide-open Joe Mason who took the ball in for the second goal of the game and the first goal of his MLS career.

Jack Price took the first booking of the night when he slid in late on Sporting KC’s Yohan Croizet and got more man than he got the ball. Enzo Martinez proved himself to be a nuisance for SKC as he was consistently pressuring their players and present whenever they had the ball on his side.

The Rapids failed to take advantage after dual fouls on the Rapids by Felipe Gutierrez and Roger Espinoza. This seemed to be a theme throughout the game – failing to convert opportunities into goals.

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
“Scarves Up” image courtesy: Jess Houwen

When the teams stepped back onto the field for the second half, the players’ energy seemed to have switched sides. The quiet Sporting KC fought with a vengeance and the fighting spirit of the Rapids seemed to have waned. Tim Howard, however, was still on fire. He made amazing save after amazing save and, in my mind, earned a Man of the Match nod. (The honor went to Edgar Castillo, who did have an amazing game.)

Unfortunately, his amazing saves couldn’t keep up with our lack of defense from our central defenders. In the fifty-sixth minute, Sporting KC converted a missed opportunity into a goal when Gutierrez put in a rebound from a header off of the near post by Khiry Shelton. Danny Wilson was just a hair too late to keep the ball from going in.

The referee missed a lot of calls on both sides of the ball that night including a cardable offense when SKC’s Espinoza came in from behind on Martinez and kicked his leg out from under him. The Rapids still looked like they were going to come away with three points until the ninety-first minute when Diego Rubio (who had been subbed on for Johnny Russell) equalized.

It feels really weird to say this since we have yet to see a win in the 2018 season, but the Rapids are playing far better than they did in 2017. It seems that with the new coach and the new players comes a new hope. We will see what the Rapids have for us in their next match against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 31.

5’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) – 1-0 Colorado

8’ – GOAL: Joe Mason (COL) – 2-0 Colorado

15’ – CARD: Jack Price (COL) – yellow

46’ – SUBSTITUTION: SKC (1/3) – Seth Sinovic replaced by Jimmy Medranda

57’ – GOAL: Felipe Gutierrez (SKC) – 2-1 Colorado

58’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Johan Blomberg replaced by Bismark Adjei-Boateng

61’ – SUBSTITUTION: SKC (2/3) – Yohan Croizet replaced by Gerso Fernandes

64’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Joe Mason replaced by Niki Jackson

65’ – CARD: Niki Jackson (COL) – yellow

79’ – CARD: Tim Howard (COL) – yellow

84’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Dominique Badji replaced by Jack McBean

88’ – SUBSTITUTION: SKC (3/3) – Johnny Russell replaced by Diego Rubio

91’ – GOAL: Diego Rubio (SKC) – 2-2 tie

93’ – CARD: Ilie Sánchez (SKC) – yellow

Featured image courtesy: Jess Houwen

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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ORL vs DC post game

Shae Beaudoin - Orlando City/mlsfemale
Official Orlando City Reporter

By Shae Beaudoin // @ShaeEliz

Saturday, March 3, 2018: 1-1 Draw

Orlando City SC’s home opener was just as intense as I would expect from this team. Saturday night we opened our season at home against DC United. Being the first game of the season, of course the fans came loaded with so much energy. The chants started in the streets of downtown Orlando two hours before the gates to the stadium even opened.

Along with the energy, the fan supporter groups hung a huge TIFO at the start of the match reading “Grow your passion, show your pride, create your legacy, legends never die” as a tribute to a fan who passed away last season. 

Last night’s lineups were:

DC United

Ousted (GK), Fisher (D), Birnbaum (D), Brilliant (D), DeLeon (D), Moreno (M), Asad (M), Segura (M), Stieber (M), Arriola (M), Mattocks (F)

Subs: Clark, Durkin*, Harkes*, Miranda, Mullins*, Odoi-Atsem, Opare

Orlando City

Bendik (G), El-Munir (D), Tarek (D), Spector (D), Sutter (D), Lindley (M), PC (M), Johnson (M), Yotun (M), Mueller (F), Miram (F)

Subs: Edwards, Laryea*, Rocha, Sane, Toia, Allen*, Pinho*

*subbed in

Right out of the gate, DC found themselves in promising positions inside the box twice in just the first two minutes. At 18’ minutes, VAR awarded DC a penalty kick, which was miraculously saved by Joe Bendik and knocked out of play by captain Jonathan Spector. By the 31st minute, DC had a point in the board and by 40 minutes, Orlando was down to 10 players with Victor PC sent off with a red (initially a yellow until VAR said eh, no). By halftime, tensions were so high between the two teams a fight nearly broke out on the field.

Second half was just as intense, but at least less tension between the teams. More or less. There were still several cards handed out and free kicks awarded, including one free kick awarded to Orlando that was quickly stolen by DC and almost a dangerous breakaway if Mohammed El-Munir hadn’t chased 11 down to knock the ball out of play.

And, as City is oh so good at pulling off, a pass from Spector allowed Pinho to land an equalizer in added time of his first MLS appearance. The Wall exploded. Hey, it’s not a win but it’s better than a loss. Plus we need to commend the effort here.

City held DC to just one goal with a man down for the majority of the match. Even more than that, City was without some key players from the roster, with Dwyer, Sacha, Colman, Powers and Rosell unavailable to play.

I know, personally, I had accepted the loss at about the 80th minute, thinking the cards were just stacked against us being a man down and without those players. I was gladly proven wrong when Pinho subbed in for Mueller to take some shots. We also need to applaud Mueller. This was the 2018 draft pick’s professional debut and he did awesome, getting several attempts of his own in there.

This game was tough, I will admit. This is definitely not the same DC team we’re used to facing. Controversial calls—or lack thereof, rather—made the match even more challenging for both sides. Overall, a great game by City and I’m excited to see how dangerous we are with our full roster available.

City faces off against Minnesota United next Saturday, back at the Orlando City Stadium. Check back here for my pre-game breakdown next week and I’ll try to contain my love for Adrian and Harrison Heath and Kevin Molino. Maybe.

Featured image courtesy: @OrlandoCitySC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @ShaeEliz

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