Saturday, May 17, 2008

Clavijo Watch

With the home win over Real Salt Lake the Rapids are now 4-4-0 in 2008. That brings Ferndado Clavijo's overall record in the MLS to 50-63-29. Previously update here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rapids Win

Just a quick post with some random thoughts on the Rapids win last night.

Did Clavijo tell Colin Clark to not dream about taking a run at people? It looked like Clarke may have seen some bench time to get the message he needs to learn to better choose when to run with the ball. He didn't appear interested in doing much more than pass last night. This isn't a bad thing.

What was Kreis thinking? Dema and Beckerman wide? The Rapids wide players Colin Clark and Jacob Peterson didn't look like they were playing in a competitive game. The part of the game involving them looked more like a non-stop crossing drill. I'm sure it happened a few times but I can't remember a single time RSL did anything to mess up wide play by those two.

Was that Kosuke Kimura with the goal line clearance for the Rapids? The more I think of it, it was ever Kosuke or Erpen that I would've given MOTM. Of course the Rapids FO announced the goal scorer Omar Cummings for it after the game last time. Can you think of a time they didn't announce the player with the game winning goal as MOTM? Do they really have that little understanding of the game?

With 4 offsides, a header, and a few short trots at $105,000 Kenny Deuchar was the 2nd most overpaid player last night.

After 60 minutes of failing to deal well with the Rapids 3-5-2, Kreis failed to adjust the teams personnel or tactics. It's good to see patience and sticking to imposing your plan on the game. But after an hour of it not working, why didn't Kries try changing things up? Deuchar and Espindola had little to do all night and had failed to come back to find the ball. Williams was busy making sure his freshing polished finger nails didn't get messed up. Dema and Kyle were running and running and running and running.... but not seeming to have the rest of the team do much to help them get the ball forward. Did Kreis want to win the game or was he just trying not loose? If it's just trying not to loose, is RSL actually better off than they were with Ellinger?

Why didn't Andy Williams retire after 2007? I'm not sure what he did last night other than some simple passes, too many ugly possession-losing flics, and trot around hiding his hands in his sleeves. It's baffling as to why Real Salt Lake's Jason Kreis kept him out on the pitch. They missed Javier Morales last night. With RSL struggling to produce much in the way of possession let along generate chances, you have to wonder why Kries didn't throw Cordoba in another 20 minutes earlier. Surely with Dema, Cutler, and Beckerman in the midfield there wasn't any danger of lacking bite in the midfield.

Chris Wingert --> The ex-Rapid was playing at left back for Real Salt Lake last night. He had two howler passes last night that could've easily cost his team another goal or two.

Clavijo Tactics Won It --> The Rapids had plenty of chances they should've done better to finish. They may have only officially had 10-12 shots but, as I noted, at times it looked like a crossing drill for them. The players may have not executed but in putting the 3-5-2 out on the pitch, Clavijo showed he watched his tape and knew RSL's weakness. Good job Fernando!

Do the Rapids need to have 2 players in on taking corner kicks every time?

Props to Bouna on the cleansheet last night. Things were quiet for him more often than not. But he showed maturity and concentration in being able to rise to the occasion the few times he needed to do so. Especially big was his save on a late free kick taken by Epsindola (or someone else?). It was drive low and to Bouna's right. He got low past and pushed it wide.

Have referees been instructed to not call PK's when Omar Cummings is taken down in the box more than once or twice a season? Mantilla man handled him at one point, wedging his body into Omar's back with his right arm hooked onto Omar so they looked like some young drunken teenage couple trying to figure out the whole PDA thing. It completely took away Omar's ability to turn with the ball let alone keep his balance. Mantilla took Omar down, there was no call, and somehow Omar again managed to pop up and keep playing.

Abby --> Next time a player takes a dive, like Dema did right in front of you, please have the balls to dish out the YC. Yes, I know next time it just might be Clark or Herc but I really want to see something happen over diving. Overall though Abbey did a good job calling the game.

Pablo, LaBrocca and Christian Gomez --> I love it. LaBrocca's comfortable getting forward to link with Gomez. Pablo's comfortable doing the same here and there with LaBrocca reading play and dropping back. And Christian Gomez looks loads better when he's played back a bit and allowed to move forward with the ball.

Kyle at The Offside points out with the right result, the Rapids are in a SuperLiga spot.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rapids - Real Salt Lake

Looks like it'll be a chilly spring evening with a chance for some rain for tomorrow night's game. Real Salt Lake is traveling to The Dick (Dicks Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado). RSL has yet to win on the road in 2008. In fact, they've only won 6 times away from Rice-Eccles in their history. Will the Rapids make sure that Kreis' team racks up yet another road loss?

Kyle at The Offside's look at the upcoming match
View From The Couch on it (Failure is not an option!)

Minnesota Thunder, Ex-Rapid Tarley Returns

The Minnesota have, as far as soccer in America goes, been around for quite awhile. They're proud of their history having started out in 1994 in the USISL. As they grew they moved up into what is now known as USL-1 (ex- A-league; US division 2). But the last couple of years they've struggled.

Local owners bought the team 3 years ago and cut back on player wages. The team lost too many games and played most of their home games in a high school football stadium, James Griffin (St. Paul Central HS), with artificial turf and football lines. New owners, a Belguim company Wingfield, bought the team and pledged to invest $2 million in it for higher player wages and other improvements.

The investment has payed off with the Minnesota Thunder having their best start in years. They're 3-1 including wins over traditionally strong Vancouver, Montreal and Rochester. The Thunder still have ex-player and St. Paul Academy grad Amos Magee at the helm as their head coach. They have brought in some new talent, among them ex-Colorado Rapids player Luchi Gonzalez (spent last year with Miami FC) and ex-rapids, Ex-Real Salt Lake striker Melving Tarley (spent last year with Puerto Rico).

Duncan "Melvin" Tarley made his name, so to speak, a couple years ago with the Minnesota Thunder. They had had a nice run in the US Open Cup that included Tarley scoring a lot of goals. In fact, he scored four against the Colorado Rapids. But he didn't catch on in the MLS. First Real Salt Lake gave him a try. IIRC his only goal in 9 games was against DC United. Tarley started the next season again with the Thunder. Later in the year the Rapids gave him a try again and again with little MLS success. Tarley join ex-Dallas coach Colin Clarke at Puerto Rico last year. This year with more money on the table the Minnesota Thunder we able to bring him back. He just returned and hasn't played much. Watch for Magee to use him both as a midfielder and forward.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Clavijo Watch

Since the last Clavijo Watch update, the Rapids beat DC United 2-0 at The Dick & lost to Houston on the road at Robertson stadium. Fernando Clavijo's current all-time coaching record in the is now 49-63-29.