|Cautions||Powers 39'||Russell 90'+2|
|Substitutions||Buddle for Hill 45'
Rivero for LaBrocca 58'
Brown for Sturgis 79'
|Russell for Ephraim 78'
Osorio for Laba 87'
Bostock for Emory 89'
It just never ends, does it?
It always somehow ends up being part of our game reports -- and rest assured, we here at Waking the Red are just as tired as you are of having to type it up week in and week out, as you are having to read it time and time again. We could cut and paste, but it seems each week it's just that one little different thing that causes that late game collapse.
Even the rosiest of analysis of this game would call this a dull affair; both sides were limp and rather lifeless, and that showed for over 85 minutes. But true to form, TFC would give up a late goal, courtesy of a missed clearance by Logan Emory in his first game back from injury, perfectly trapping the ball, then falling over, leaving it on a plate for former Red Edson Buddle (remember that guy?) to slam home the loose ball to secure three points for the home side...like an arrow, passing through our hearts.
But it could have ended so, so much differently for Toronto if Robert Earnshaw had cashed in on one of the many chances he got. Many in MLS have him pegged as a goal poacher, and in the past few weeks have defended him as such. And like a true goal poacher, he did find his way into advantageous positions; however, the whole finishing thing definitely leaves a lot to be desired. Earnshaw had a chance to knock the air out of the Colorado momentum early in the 12th minute, but hit his shot right at the goalie.
He had another chance later in the first half, a lovely move featuring a great pass from Jeremy Hall, a good cross from Ryan Richter and a delicious dummy form Luis Silva, but he knocked it over the bar. But the most egregious of his misses came in the 71st minute, when he received a beautiful pass from Luis Silva in the Rapids box, only for the Welshman to duff his shot. It was cringeworthy how bad it was, and showed how badly out of form Earnshaw is, after having lit the league on fire with five early goals.
The truth is, despite the inability to score, Toronto probably didn't deserve to lose (but they also didn't deserve to win either. In fact, neither side did; one journalist put this game as two dull objects cutting one another, the game was THAT dull). Sure, there were the usual defensive scares stemming from a complete inability to clear dangerous free kicks and/or corners that land in the box. Many of those instances were eventually dealt with, but as we've all seen before: too many of those usually leads to trouble. But probably because of the weakness of the opponent, the injury depleted Rapids were unable to make Toronto pay.
And what of young Matias Laba? Well, he's definitely not Julian de Guzman, but in the role he was signed to play (which is defensive mid), he came out looking rather okay. It's still early days mind you, but as long as Reds supporters remember that a) this was his first game and b) he was not signed to provide goals, he should turn out fine. Joe Bendik also turned in a relatively solid performance, the late Buddle goal he could do little about but some of the distribution -- including his now almost-trademark end-to-end-that-misses-everyone-hoof -- remains a bit suspect, and just makes for terrible viewing.
One question still remains though, and this one belongs to Ryan Nelsen: what is going on with the substitute situation? Yes, we know there is a game on Wednesday night in San Jose, but when nothing is going right (and with Colorado pretty much there for the taking) why wasn't the idea of substitutes floated, if not implemented when the metaphorical iron was hot? The team was looking tired, and the Rapids were pretty much playing on the same level. Some could argue that John Bostock could have come on much earlier along with Jonathan Osorio, but instead we saw Hogan Ephraim pulled in favour of Darel Russell, who was making his first appearance in five games.
Would Osorio have once again worked his super-sub magic if he had been given just ten extra minutes? And would Bostock have made a difference if he had come on BEFORE Colorado scored? Those answers will forever rest in the land of conjecture, something that we will never know (unless someone has a remote control that can turn back time? Call us if you do!) but the sheer idea that subs weren't engaged until deep into the second half is baffling to say the least.
Oh well, at least now the Reds will hope San Francisco can save them from their woes, as they take on the Earthquakes on Wednesday. If the mountain air didn't do it, maybe the salty Pacific sea air can ease their (and our) woes? I hear ocean air is therapeutic...
* * *
GOLDEN TROPHIES/KICKS TO THE GROIN
|Kick to the Groin: Robert Earnshaw
||The free ride is over, buddy.
||Providing the spark for a wet towel.
| Golden Trophy: Matias Laba
|Kick to the Groin: MLS PRO
||Train the refs, or get better ones. It's not rocket science.
|Kick to the Groin: Ryan Nelsen
||Where were the subs!? (And I don't mean sandwiches)
|Shots off Target||6||5|
|Passing Accuracy (%)||78||66|