Colorado’s Control Allows Badji’s Finishing to Dominate


By Brian Jennings

A good team learns from their mistakes and takes action to try and avoid them going forward.  That’s exactly what the Colorado Rapids did Saturday night in a 3-0 thumping of Philadelphia on cold, windy night in Commerce City.

The first half saw Colorado look a bit apprehensive to go too far into the red early on, something midfielder Jack Price thought was an issue in the previous match at home.  “Last week we came out the blocks quick, the first 20-25 minutes, and we wanted to do the same but also we didn’t want to blow ourselves up like we did last week.,” he told The Voice of C38 postgame.  “We managed the game a little bit better, even though they had a bit of pressure, we knew at halftime, nil-nil, we’d have the advantage going into the second half with the altitude.  You could tell the last 30 minutes we had them on the ropes.”

Other than a couple missed headers by Philly’s CJ Sapong, Colorado absorbed some decent pressure but never really stressed over major chances on their goal.  However, the Rapids didn’t threaten much either until the end of the half when Tommy Smith efforted a low, diving header causing a diving save by Andre Blake for the Union and a blocked rebound off Enzo Martinez.

Price explains the Rapids talked in the locker room about getting things going starting the second half by controlling the ball higher up the field.  “The gaffer said we need to do more in terms of our press,” said Jack.  “We sat off in the first half, let them have a lot of pressure, but as you see the second half we come out, press them higher, we got the ball-a lot of second balls-we worked the ball better side-to-side and created some good chances and Badji stuck em away tonight.”

That he did, as Dominique Badji put himself in stellar positions in front of Philadelphia’s goal and finished superbly for the second straight match.  Price’s driven corner kick off the head of Smith found Badji at the back post in the 53rd minute to start the onslaught.

Johan Blomberg then had a foot in both of Badji’s other tallies after his shot from distance was deflected into Badji’s path for the second on the night.  Then to top off the scoring in the 87th minute, an active Blomberg fed the striker down the left side with a perfectly place long ball leading to the hat-trick score.

“We got energy from the goals,” admitted the quiet Swedish midfielder.  “I think the space behind their fullback was pretty big. I tried to run in there a lot and I got the ball plenty of times.  The whole team had great movement.  We found the flow so to speak,” admitted Blomberg.

Overall, the second half was taken by Colorado while their efforts paid off as time wound down according to Price.  “We managed the game better once we were 1-nil, 2-nil up we kept the ball side-to-side.  It’s easier then of course, but I felt we had more control in the game than we did last week when we gave the ball away too much. We didn’t just go for goal every time.  We cut it back out, worked it side-to-side, it was a more efficient performance from the lads tonight.”

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