The sixth minute in Sunday night’s match between Colorado and Sporting Kansas City was telltale on how the match would eventually play out for the visiting Rapids. Eric Miller found Marlon Hairston running at goal before trying to pick out Dominque Badji with a low cross but it skidded just in front of his outstretched boot.
With possession, SKC immediately went the other way and after Tim Howard got a hand to hard ball coming across the goalmouth, it fell directly to SKC’s Seth Sinovic who perfectly placed a shot between Howard and the post for the early lead……..such was the way things would go for Colorado.
That being said, the Rapids settled down and began to pressure a content SKC side almost equalizing more than once in the first 45 minutes. “Organizationally we fixed some things but we knew we had to get one back so we had to go press them and do what we could to get one back late in the half,” MLS debutante defender Kortne Ford told The Voice of C38. “We were unfortunate not to get one but sometimes that’s how it goes.”
Hairston stated the team felt the same way and wasn’t panicking, but rather thought they were gaining momentum and an equalizer was close. “From the beginning of the game we tried to press them. We wanted them to make mistakes higher up the field for us so we could try and counter and create closer to goal. Playing from behind isn’t easy on the road but we didn’t put our heads down and continued to press.”
“We thought we ended the first half on a positive note. We created some chances off the press so we wanted to do that coming off the second half creating chances from our defensive pressure. When we got the ball try to knock the ball around in get chances in behind.”
Colorado did just that with a spot-on chip to the back post by Kevin Doyle late in the first frame, but Badji’s point-blank header was somehow kept off the goal line by keeper Tim Melia. Badji almost provided another opportunity just a minute later finding Hairston, who again slipped a neat pass to the back post just past a lunging Nana Boateng before the halftime whistle.
Rapids fans could feel a goal coming, or so they thought, but SKC waited patiently for Colorado to pull out of their defensive shape and hit them from angles in scoring the next two goals making a comeback look bleak. “A couple of their goals came from us overpressing and us being late to tackles and playing around us,” said Hairston succinctly. “At the end of the day it wasn’t good enough.”
“We created enough opportunities to win that first half,” Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni said matter-of-factly. “If we win that it’s a different game but you’ve got to score goals because goals change games. We just weren’t sharp enough in front of goal and it’s just simple stuff-simple passes, more determination, more grit.”
“I think its match fitness,” Pablo explained as the difference on the night. “This three-and-a-half week break when everyone else is playing 2 or 3 games we’re sitting at home training. You’re not competing against SKC Tuesday through Thursday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. You’re playing against each other (during the week).”
“From a fitness perspective, from a sharpness perspective, from a lot of perspectives, not having these games while other teams are in a rhythm in this zone of playing and they understand the tempo I think was it. There’s moments when they break and there’s a lot of little simple things that when you’re in a rhythm you do right. To be honest, at this level we need to get fitter and you can only do that from playing games.”
Source: Blog Post