By: William Gray
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Continuing a streak of freak goals and mishaps, the opportunistic Rapids captured a 1-0 victory over San Jose after an own goal off the hands of Earthquake keeper Jon Busch.
After the dust settled, Colorado was simply happy to end their 7-game winless streak. The cross from Omar Cummings that turned into a goal in the 24th minute and stellar defensive play from Drew Moor and all-star Jeff Larentowicz gave Colorado three points in an important Western Conference game.[picappgallerysingle id=”9507740″]
The start of the match mirrored the offensive troubles the club had been battling over the last month. With Conor Casey sidelined for yet another game, two early missed chances left the Rapids demoralized. Colin Clark and Omar Cummings both missed near goals less than 15 minutes into the contest. However, in the fashion that many slides are broken, fate intervened.
The defense headed the call and combined with keeper Matt Pickens to provide the first clean sheet since June 5th. Colorado’s back four hamstrung the Earthquake attack, allowing only two shots on goal, one of which came from an Arturo Alvarez set piece in the 68th minute. San Jose had been a fierce team out of the corner, scoring almost half of their goals from the flagstick. The Rapids cut off their attack by rarely allowing any sort of penetration or fast break opportunity to develop. The play of defender Kosuke Kimura was especially strong. His possessions at the back and in transition were invaluable to Colorado. Kimura’s silky-soft first touch gets himself and his teammates out of a variety of tight spots as well as setting up offensive chances.
The Rapids controlled the game throughout, dominating time of possession and keeping the ball in the offensive end. The team was looking to make a statement and separate themselves from the bottom of the Western Conference, and by the looks of things, they did just that. The Rapids seem to be recapturing their early season form and the impending return of leading scorer Conor Casey will only bolster their playoff run down the stretch.
“I don’t care what it looked like or how we scored…we finally caught a break,” said Manager Gary Smith. However fortunate, the goal is a great way to closeout two weeks at home and prepare the team to head to the east coast to play the Philadelphia Union and the conference leading Columbus Crew.
The road trip will provide a great chance for the Rapids to solidify their wildcard status in the West. The struggling Union should provide an ample opportunity for three points before the showdown with the Crew in Columbus. These two away matches will surely test the meddle of the Rapids and perhaps show what kind of playoff contender they will be in November.