Imagine being a D.C. United fan watching highlights of the Colorado Rapids these days. Christian Gomez has played like an MVP candidate while Facundo Erpen has provided a steady force in the back for the Rapids. Gomez’s replacement in D.C., Marcelo Gallardo, isn’t doing quite as well and we all know about D.C. United’s defensive problems.
Gomez and Erpen were key to helping the Rapids down FC Dallas and move into first place in the West. Tom McManus buried the game-winning goal to move the Rapids to 5-5 and leave the Hoops waiting for a new head coach to arrive and steady the ship in Frisco.
SBI Correspondents Craig de Aragon and Casey Corcoran watched the action on Sunday and provided their perspectives for us:
Casey proves at least one doubter wrong
By CRAIG de ARAGON
Thank you Mr. Balboa, I like my crow prepared medium well with a side of steamed vegetables and a nice Riesling. Actually, I don’t really know what a Riesling tastes like, and to be truthful, I don’t even eat meat, so my crow would have to be soy or tofu…but whatever, you get the picture.
Last Tuesday I had the honor to co-host the From the Pitch Show with Marcelo Balboa. During the show Balboa and I were discussing Tom McManus’ blast from 35 yards out against Chivas USA. It brought up a great question, who would you start at forward on this team if everyone was healthy? I was in the camp that McManus and Omar Cummings would do the trick, yet Balboa’s answer to the question had me startled a little bit. He said a name of a guy that I forgot was even on the team. When the Rapids acquired him last year, he couldn’t stay on the field because of injuries, which has always has been his modus operandi, and he had yet to take the field this year too. So you can’t really blame me for looking to other options right?
Well, the player that he would start and confide in to create offense was Connor Casey. I kind of chuckled thinking he was joking…an awkward pause later, he explained that the Open Cup qualifying game, that was about to start, would be a big test for Casey. Well he aced it, scoring the game winning goal late in the game, as if on cue. But I wasn’t ready to eat my black bird banquet just yet. After all, it was only an Open Cup game, against a less than impressive Los Angeles team. I wanted to see it in a real game. Well on a warm Sunday afternoon, dinner was served.
Casey started up top for the Rapids against FC Dallas and had Rapids fans wondering if the local boy could prove that the wait for him to get healthy was worth it. It only took 7 minutes, a fantastic Christian Gomez leading pass, a step back and shot to the far post for me to realize that Casey should be and will be the Rapids starting forward as long as he’s healthy. He brings a dynamic that the Rapids have been sorely lacking, a true target forward, someone that Christian Gomez can loft balls to from the midfield, someone that Terry Cooke, Colin Clark and Jacob Peterson can cross balls to in the box to, someone that can hold off a defender, sneak a pass through to a streaking McManus or Cummings. His presence along with McManus’ emergence as a finisher has Rapids fans smiling looking back at the 2-1 win this week and looking at the table and seeing their burgundy and blue in first place.
It also has me clearing a place at the dinner table, pulling up a chair and choking down a little crow with a grin on my face.
FC Dallas is getting painfully predictable
By CASEY CORCORAN
I do not like it when I am dialed in to my team (FC Dallas) so much that giving up last minute goals is something I predict, not fear. Three games in ten days, starting with a come from behind victory, a squandered win resulting in a draw, and a squandered draw resulting in a loss. To be fair, after losing a head coach, going .500 really is an accomplishment. The problem is dropping points in nearly every game this season. Three wins, four ties and four losses equals bad times for this fan.
The first game this week resulted in a finish much like the previous result between FCD and Houston. So far against Houston this season FCD has led in to stoppage time, only to concede. I remember thinking to myself, Houston will score, like usual. Sadly, I was on the ball and De Ro equalized for Houston in the 93+. The search of a complete game and some consistency continues for FCD. If the team scores two goals, the defense gives up soft goals. If the defense manages to stop anything, the offense falters.
I think all the negativity comes from this trend. There might not be anything more frustrating than seeing a team with true players time and time again shoot themselves in the foot.
Luckily some positives are beginning to pop up. Kenny Cooper, Dominic Oduro, and Andre Rocha are showing some real promise. I have liked Oduro for a good couple years. When I attended last years Open Cup Final at Pizza Hut Park, Oduro was the one player who looked very dangerous. On opening day this year, Oduro was the one who set up a potential game winning gimmie goal to Rocha in stoppage time (who completely missed the net). Oduro scored twice on Sunday of last week and once again on Sunday of this week. It is good to see from a fast young player. His emotion shown after scoring the game winning stoppage time goal last week was a sight for sore eyes.
I am not sure the 3-5-2 is the right formation for this team. The defense just cannot stop the long balls, or the skillful players, or, well, I could go on and on. I am not sure if anyone has confidence in this squad’s defense. I will say that, last year with four in the back, it was not any better. The sooner a new coach comes in the, the better.
This is a team and a franchise and an organization I want to succeed very badly. But when the team plays pure mediocrity, and the product on the field is weak, I can barely sell myself, let alone any skeptics. Luckily, I am quite positive none of the players read this, because all of this can be fixed with some hard work and some results. So let us focus on the skill of Kenny Cooper and his flirting with the national team, or the blazing speed and hard work of Dominic Oduro and his flirting with being a true striker, or the emergence of Andre Rocha’s superb assisting ability. When you are down in the doldrums, little things can help a great deal.