Although I couldn’t travel to Houston to support FC Dallas, I still made it a priority to watch and review the game, and let me be the first to say that I’m glad I did. This was a turning point for FC Dallas for sure.
We begin the game with a lot of defensive play, not only from the defense itself but from the entire team. In fact, not even fifteen minutes in, you can see Barrios (wing) performing defensive tactics against Houston. However, around the same time during the first half, you also see the trio: Zeigler, Hedges, and Cerillo doing all they can to keep the ball within Dallas’ realm.
Seeing both the front and the back work to keep the ball was very entertaining, but also disappointing, as the midfield was lacking this game. However, this wasn’t a bad game for FC Dallas. Despite being the youngest team in the MLS, Dallas shows a very mature style of play, and you see that after competing with Houston, the 4th oldest team in MLS.
Despite the lacking efforts in the first half, FC Dallas comes back, in the 86th minute to win their first goal of the game by Dominique Badji. Not only that, but FC Dallas scored again 10 minutes later with a goal by Santiago Mosquera. However, with a VERY controversial referee call regarding Dallas’ goal via VAR, it eventually led to the 2-1 loss of the Texas Derby.
Although Dallas took a seemingly unfair loss, the drive to win in the second half was something I have yet to see in another team so far this season. With some of our essential players gone (Paxton Pomykal) I believe FC Dallas is doing just fine for now.
With a home game coming up facing the New York Red Bulls, Dallas has a clear advantage to win this upcoming game. With a current 5-3-2 record with 17 points, Dallas has a very good rate at taking another win at home facing the NY Red Bulls (record of 3-4-2 with 11 points). Despite New York’s past two wins, Dallas had yet to be defeated at home, and it’s fair to say Dallas has the chance to remain undefeated at home and gain another 3 points.
When we last left off, the Colorado Rapids were in the middle of a seven-game losing streak and things were not looking good. Though I ended the article feeling hopeful that things would change, that losing streak became a team record-tying nine-game losing streak and included a loss to a USL side in the US Open Cup. It was painful. However, as Solomon noted in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. Thankfully, the time for not losing came in the Rapids’ June 13th 2-2 tie with Chicago Fire.
Now, I mentioned in my last article that I am an eternal optimist. What I failed to mention, is that growing up a baseball fan also made me more than a bit superstitious. Up until that Chicago game, I had been wearing my 2016 Marlon Hairston burgundy kit with matching burgundy Adidas shoes. (Yes, I have a thing about matching colors and brands when it comes to my sports gear.) Since the Rapids had consistently lost while wearing that kit, it was time to change things up. So, I wore my gold kit instead. And they tied.
The next game, I wore the same kit but remembered to bring a matching scarf with me. And they won. (I know, I know. What I wear to the game has absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the game itself, but superstition dies hard.) The Rapids have gone on to earn a total of 9 points in the past seven games which has put them ahead of San Jose Earthquakes by five points. With 14 games left, I think the Rapids can break into the top 6 with a shot at the playoffs.
The Rapids have also undergone some roster changes since we last spoke. They released Stefan Aigner from his contract and he was quickly picked up by KFC Uerdingen 05, a German third division side. Joe Mason, one of their offseason acquisitions, returned to Wolverhampton.
The most surprising move out of the club, however, was that of Dominique Badji, the favored forward, who was sent to FC Dallas. In their stead, the Rapids picked up two players in the Dallas homegrown midfielder and USMNT player, Kellyn Acosta, and the Jamaican international midfielder/forward, Giles Barnes.
Both players have debuted since we last spoke, and what debuts they were!
Barnes stepped on the field against the Houston Dynamo after completing preseason with his former Liga MX side, Club Leon. While he presented a creativity and a dynamic that the team had been lacking, he was unfortunately injured after being stepped on and is currently day to day.
Kellyn Acosta debuted in a club friendly against Argentina’s best team, Boca Juniors, this past Tuesday. (Reader, we won! Thanks to a penalty kick scored by Zac MacMath, our backup keeper!) While I was unable to attend the game, I heard from several sources that he played well before he was taken off. I am excited to see him play in person when the Rapids take on Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy on Saturday, August 4th.
I will be hitting the road this weekend and making my way to Atlanta for the All-Star Game against Juventus. I will be sure to update you with my and my co-writers antics that week. Reader, I hope to see you at an upcoming Rapids game. We have 6 home games left! You can find me in the stadium in my gold kit with my scarf held high and my voice nearly gone from screaming.
The Colorado Rapids second home game of the season was marked with several firsts. It was their first victory of the season, it was the first hat trick ever for Dominique Badji and the first hat trick in seven years for the Rapids organization.
The first half was relatively uneventful, but the Philadelphia Union absolutely dominated the play. There were several missed opportunities for goals on both sides. The first real goal scoring opportunity for the Rapids came in the forty-third minute when Tommy Smith put a diving header square in the middle of the goal, but Philadelphia’s keeper, Andre Blake made the save. The deflection gave the ball to Enzo Martinez who took the shot, but that was saved by Matthew Real, who was making his MLS debut for the Union.
Something changed during halftime and the Rapids came out far more ready to fight than they had been in the first half. The Rapids made their first substitution by replacing Danny Wilson with Axel Sjöberg as Wilson had twisted his ankle during the first half.
Jack Price picked up the first card of the game at the beginning of the second half for making an unsafe slide tackle on the Union’s David Accam. This was Price’s second yellow card in as many games.
Badji also seemed to come awake during the second half with his first career hat trick.
The first goal came in the fifty-second minute when Smith headed the ball to Badji who then put it in at the back post. The second goal came in the sixtieth minute shortly after Marlon Hairston was stretchered off the field and replaced by Dillon Serna. The third goal happened when Johan Blomberg passed the ball up to Badji from behind the midline.
This season has been a rough one for Colorado Rapids fans. The end of 2016 saw us lose at home against the Seattle Sounders in the race for the MLS Cup, a victory that has eluded us since 2010. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park had been affectionately nicknamed the “Mile High Fortress,” thanks to their 2016 regular season record at home. This season began full of hope and promise.
And then came 2017.
The 2017 season has been rife with disappointment, losses, and upheavals in staffing and on the field. A team that finished second in the MLS West division to FC Dallas, and the Supporter’s Shield, in the 2016 season was now dealing with life on the bottom of the board. We just couldn’t put together cohesive play to result in more than a handful of wins and the frustration was visible in player interactions on the field.
The offseason saw us sign the likes of Alan Gordon from LA Galaxy, Bismark Adjei-Boateng from the Manchester City system, and not do anything else. Midway through the season we saw the devastating departure of team captain Sam Cronin and Marc Burch to the new expansion team, Minnesota United. In return, Mohammed Saeid and Joshua Gatt donned the burgundy jersey. The departure that seemed to hit the hardest, however, was that of longtime coach and former player, Pablo Mastroeni. The drop in morale was tangible in that first home game since his firing.
There has not been much turnaround for the team under the wing of interim coach Steve Cooke, but Saturday night’s game provided the opportunity for the Rapids to move ahead of LA Galaxy, and out of last place. The Rapids started a 4-2-3-1 against Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place with Jared Watts and Michael Azira playing as a defensive 6 and an attacking 8, respectively, and Dominique Badji at the top as a target player.
The first half saw an early goal go in off of a header from Freddy Montero to put Vancouver ahead 1-nil after Axel Sjöberg was late to the play. Jared Watts (COL) drew the first yellow card of the game in the 14th minute due to a tackle from behind on Yordy Reyna after the ball was gone. Tim Howard then denied Cristian Techera a goal with a sliding save. Tim Parker (VAN) saw an attempt go wide and then turn into a yellow card thanks to his hand ball in the 34th minute.
We finally saw some flashes of Colorado’s defensive capabilities when they denied four consecutive attempts from Vancouver. Dominique Badji scored the equalizer in the 44th minute, megging the keeper, David Ousted. This was his third goal in as many games, bringing him to 9 for the season.
The second half began with a completely incidental collision between Badji and Andrew Jacobsen (VAN), though both got up with a bit of a hobble. Montero had a chance for his second goal, but he went just wide with his attempt. It was a lucky break for Colorado as Howard was down with no chance to make the save. Yordy Reyna beat Howard in the 53rd minute to score the go ahead goal for the Whitecaps.
Tempers soon flared a bit between Marlon Hairston and Tony Tchani, but because of camera angles – we weren’t able to see what happened. However, neither cards nor fouls were issued for the interaction. Michael Azira received the fourth yellow card in the game for pulling down Yordy Reyna. There was no argument from Azira because it was, as announcer Marcelo Balboa called it, “a professional foul”. Despite multiple attempts at the end of the second half, the Rapids were not able to put anything away to bring the score even.
The Rapids face FC Dallas on Wednesday, September 27th in their next round of play. Should the Galaxy lose to the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, we will have yet another chance to pull out of last place before the end of the season.
4’ – GOAL: Freddy Montero (VAN) 1-0 Whitecaps
14’ – CARD: Jared Watts (COL) – yellow
34’ – CARD: Tim Parker (VAN) – yellow
43’ – CARD: Mekeil Williams (COL) – yellow
44’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) 1-1
53’ – GOAL: Yordy Reyna (VAN) 2-1 Whitecaps
59’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Stefan Aigner in for Marlon Hairston
64’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Alan Gordon in for Josh Gatt
69’ – SUBSTITUTION: VAN (1/3) – Bernie Ibini in for Cristian Techera
75’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Bismark Adjei-Boateng in for Jared Watts
76’ – SUBSTITUTION: VAN (2/3) – Alphonso Davies in for Brek Shea
82’ – SUBSTITUTION: VAN (3/3) – Erik Hurtado in for Fredy Montero