Eastern Conference Final: Rapids vs. Earthquakes (Match Night Commentary)

Eastern Conference Final: Rapids vs. Earthquakes (Match Night Commentary)

MLS- Colorado Rapids

Eastern Conference Final: Rapids vs. Earthquakes (Match Night Commentary)

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6a00e54ef2975b8833013480e51a03970c 6a00e54ef2975b88330133ec4ad7e9970b

 

The Colorado Rapids will look to move a step closer to a first MLS Cup Final victory with a won tonight at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in the Eastern Conference final against the San Jose Earthquakes (9pm, Fox Soccer Channel).

A cold and snowy atmosphere awaits the two Western Conference clubs, with the Rapids considered the favorites at home, but the Earthquakes have already shown an ability to triumph in a hostile environment.

I will be providing live commentary on tonight's match, so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section belo.

Enjoy the action (Tonight's commentary is after the jump):

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FINAL– That's all for me. Thanks for following along and be sure to follow our coverage of the Western Conference Final on Sunday between LA and Dallas. Share your post-game thoughts on tonight's match in the comments section below. 

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FINAL– Colorado will appear in its first MLS Cup Final since 1997. The Rapids haven't exactly played magical soccer these playoffs, but they defend well and win. That's all you need.

For San Jose, missing chances and playing a flat second half proved costly. 

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FINAL- Rapids 1, Earthquakes 0. Kimura's cross-turned-goal is the difference on a night when San Jose didn't finish its chances and Colorado's defense played very well. 

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94th Minute– 17,779 is the attendance. That's a great crowd for Colorado.

Final minute

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92nd Minute– Alvarez inexplicably tries to dribble two defenders and loses the ball. San Jose can't afford those mistakes with time running out.

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90th Minute– Four minutes of stoppage time. The crowd in Colorado is going nuts. Great turnout for tonight's match.

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88th Minute– Quincy Amarikwa is in for Casey. Clock keeps ticking and San Jose is running out of time.

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86th Minute– Earthquakes with a wide gap in midfield and are just sending long balls forward. Not sure they have the personnel to make that work.

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84th Minute– Wynne does well to beat Johnson on a challenge before dribbling into the attacking half. Johnson has been subpar tonight, Wynne has been very good.

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83rd Minute– ALVAREZ HIGH!! Sends a long shot just high. Earthquakes running out of time.

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82nd Minute– San Jose just isn't creating much right now and Colorado looks to be in control. Still just 1-0 though, so it only takes a moment to change things.

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80th Minute– Colorado's defense has played well tonight. Moor and Wynne have been solid in the middle and Kimura has been a standout at right back.

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77th Minute– CASEY heads it wide.

Julian Baudet comes in for Wallace.

Eduardo replaces Sam Cronin for San Jose.

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76th Minute– Earthquakes trying to put balls into the area, but can't put anything on Pickens, who has had just a few good punches to deliver tonight.

SAVE BUSCH!! Stops Cummings again. GREAT SAVE.

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73rd Minute– Johnson earns a corner, but it doesn't lead to a chance. San Jose wasting corners all night. 

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72nd Minute– Khari Stephenson is in for Geovanni. Stephenson has a better motor for this point in the match. Geovanni wasn't really doing enough.

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69th Minute– GEOVANNI CLEARS one off the line. Wow, Rapids almost score again. Moor with a header but Geovanni is on the post.

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68th Minute– Yallop might want to sub out Johnson and insert Ike Opara. At least Opara would be a threat on set pieces.

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67th Minute– San Jose lucky to still be alive here, down only one goal. They've had looks, but haven't tested Pickens once tonight. Wondolowski must do better.

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65th Minute– CUMMINGS OFF THE CROSSBAR!! Larentowicz plays him in on goal, Cummings rounds Busch, but sends his shot off the crossbar.

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64th Minute– SAVE BUSCH!! Stops a Mastroeni blast, who was set up by Cummings for a free look at the top of the box.

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63rd Minute– WONDOLOWSKI WIDE!! He heads one just wide of the right post. He had to put that on frame. Better from Johnson, who sent the cross in.

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59th Minute– Johnson shanks a cross. Hasn't been a good night for him.

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58th Minute– Arturo Alvarez replaces Chris Leitch. Convey slides to left back, Ward moves to right back. Earthquakes will look to go at Colorado's right flank with Convey and Wondolowski, who moves over from the right wing.

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57th Minute– Geovanni's FK hits the wall and is cleared eventually. Wasted chance by the Earthquakes there.

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56th Minute– Geovanni earns a dangerous set piece for SJ after Kimura put a bear hug on him.

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54th Minute– If you are following along with the commentary tonight, please let me know in the comments section, and let me know where you're following from.

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51st Minute– A second goal would kill this one. Earthquakes can't afford to absorb too much pressure here.

Wondolowski and Convey need to start imposing themselves on this one if San Jose is going to have a chance.

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48th Minute– Colorado will look to attack more and are finding more looks early on. San Jose sitting back a bit to start.

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46th Minute– The Earthquakes just need to keep playing the way they played in the first half and the chances should come. Doing better with set pieces and corners would help.

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46th Minute– We're back. Can San Jose respond early?  

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HALFTIME– Rapids 1, Earthquakes 0. San Jose had the better of the play but Kimura's goal is the difference right now. 

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45th Minute– The goal is being given to Kimura. It didn't look like Cummings got much of it, if anything.

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44th Minute– Great cross from Kimura, and Cummings hits the side volley only just barely, just enough to beat Busch.

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43rd Minute- GOAL RAPIDS!!!! And it's Omar Cummings with the finish. Finishes off a Kimura cross with a nice volley. Rapids 1, Earthquakes 0.

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41st Minute– Another good look from San Jose, but they can't get a head on the good cross in. Johnson just isn't that useful in the air.

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38th Minute– CUMMINGS JUST HIGH!!! Wow, what a blast from Cummings  across his body after racing on on the left side of the area. He's been the Rapids only real threat this half. No surprise there.

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35th Minute– Casey argues a foul call for dragging down Wondolowski, who was smothering him defensively. San Jose doing well now.

WONDOLOWSKI goes high. He races in the back-post but can't get it on frame. 

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32nd Minute– San Jose has been the better side so far, still waiting to see Colorado look like it's playing at home.

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30th Minute– And there's Casey, flashes a header just wide of the left post. Good look, beats McDonald for the header. You can't let him get looks that close.

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29th Minute– Casey has a shot from far out, the sign of a frustrated forward. He hasn't had much to do so far.

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26th Minute– Nice ball from Sealy to Johnson, in on goal, but Kimura races in to clear the danger. Johnson has to close in on that faster.

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22nd Minute– SAVE BUSCH, kicks away a Cummings look after a nice pass in from Thompson. Busch did well to close down on Cummings before it became a clear look.

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20th Minute– San Jose with some sustained possession and pressure in the Rapids' end. They need to produce from one of these corners though. Rapids doing better to clear them away.

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17th Minute– Until either Thompson and Mullan show that they can create something, Colorado will struggle to break down San Jose. Earthquakes are all over Cummings and Casey.

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16th Minute– San Jose with a quality build-up started by a nice Geovanni sequence. SJ corner.

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14th Minute– Where Colorado can struggle at times is when facing an organized defense that doesn't give Cummings freedom to operate. Right now San Jose isn't giving the Rapids much to work with in the final third.

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12th Minute– Whoa, Sealy nearly chips Pickens after an awful kick by Pickens from way off his line. You can't non-chalantly kick that when you're 23 yards from goal. Pickens got lucky there.

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9th Minute– A nice sequence from Colorado, but an off-side call ends the movement. Better idea from the Rapids though.

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8th Minute– There is comings, getting away from Ward at midfield and sending a hard shot from distance. San Jose needs to pick him up ASAP.

San Jose breaks out and puts a shot on Pickens. San Jose finding some daylight early.

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5th Minute– Earthquakes a bit more active early. Colorado hasn't exactly started quickly. Still early though.

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3rd Minute– Earthquakes send a free kick into the area and nobody from Colorado could head it clear. Fortunately for them, San Jose couldn't connect on it. Colorado needs to do better getting that cleared.

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2nd Minute– Wondolowski will look to punish Anthony Wallace tonight. Wallace is the weak link on the Rapids back-line.

On the other side of the field, Omar Cummings will look to float to the right, where Tim Ward could have a tough time without help.

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1st Minute– We're underway.

Mullan on the left to start the match, Thompson on the right for Colorado. 

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PRE-GAME– We're ready to get underway shortly.

Jorge Gonzalez is the referee tonight.

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PRE-GAME– Can the Rapids get off to a fast start tonight? They started extremely slowly in game 2 vs. Columbus, but tonight they'll be on the offensive at home. San Jose does a good job of withstanding pressure and it should be noted that Colorado managed just one goal in 180 minutes vs. San Jose this year, and that goal came on an own goal (Jon Busch spill).

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PRE-GAME– Jason Hernandez is in the lineup after some injury concerns had him questionable. He will be key to keeping tabs on Omar Cummings.

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PRE-GAME– Temperature is in the 20s tonight. 

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PRE-GAME– Here are the benches for both teams:

RAPIDS- Joyce, Amarikwa, Baudet, Kandji, LaBauex, Lopez, Palguta 

EARTHQUAKES-  Edwards, Alvarez, Burling, Eduardo, Opara, Ring, Stephenson 

Yes, that's Ike Opara in uniform, first game in months since a broken foot. He just might be a late-game set-piece threat for the Earthquakes.

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PRE-GAME– No snow on the ground in Colorado, just a cold night right now. There had been forecasts of snow. None of the white stuff just yet.

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PRE-GAME– Here is San Jose's lineup:

——————-Johnson—————————

Convey——-Sealy—–Geovanni—-Wondolowski

———————Cronin—————————-

Ward——McDonald———Hernandez—–Leitch

———————–Busch—————————-

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PRE-GAME– Good evening folks. Here is the Colorado starting lineup:

RAPIDS

————-Casey———Cummings————-

Thompson———————————Mullan

———-Larentowicz—–Mastroeni————-

Wallace——Wynne——Moor———–Kimura

———————-Pickens———————–

 

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