Rapids miss too many good scoring chances

Coach Gary Smith was looking for first-half buffer

Gary Smith, Colorado Rapids

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

On the wide expanses of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the
Colorado Rapids are able more often than not to build patiently, creating
openings throughout any given game.

But in the narrow confines of CommunityAmerica Ballpark
tonight in Kansas, it seemed they barely had any time to forge such openings—not
enough time to spread the ball wide, lots of very quick and not necessarily
effective passing in the center of the field.

Watch: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Saying that, it was the Rapids who created the two best
chances of the first half. Chances that needed to be taken given they were so
few and far between. Omar Cummings blasted one from point blank range in the 23rd
minute which somehow was saved by the Kansas City goalkeeper’s ear. And Mehdi
Ballouchy, who had done well to get into a great scoring position, blasted over
from about six yards from a Cummings cross right at the end of the first 45
minutes.

“The big moment for me was when Mehdi skyed it over the
bar,” head coach Gary Smith told MLSsoccer.com. “The first half was a real pitched battle and,
if we had come in with something, it could have been a buffer for us to hold on
to.”

Once KC scored the only goal of the game early in the second
half, they were able to control the game a little more, stroking the ball
around and frustrating any effort the Rapids made to create. The only major
chance of the second half resulted in a disallowed goal for Conor Casey, set up
by Cummings after Wells Thompson’s shot was parried away. Cummings, however, was
in an offside position. An already challenging situation was made no easier by
the sending off of Julien Baudet in the 71st minute.

Things to note and
quotes from the coach:

  • Gary Smith partially answered some of the
    questions that remain about what will eventually constitute the primary starting
    back four by giving a first start for the season to Baudet in central defense.
    Marvell Wynne continued at center back while Drew Moor moved out wide to the
    left and Kosuke Kimura continued in the right back position. Danny Earls, who
    had started both previous games at left back, was the odd man out this time.
    Partially answered but Baudet will miss the next game given his red card
    tonight. “I just thought it suited us better
    physically to have Julien,” Smith said. “Ultimately, that was our Achilles heel
    because he got sent off. I thought Drew Moor was absolutely terrific at left
    back and Marvell Wynne was outstanding again.”
  • Good to see some game time for Jamie Smith who
    was ultimately unable to make much impact on the narrow field. Smith entered
    the game in the 61st minute for his first minutes of the season
    after battling back from a hamstring injury. “Jamie did okay,” Smith said. “It was tough
    for him but he will get more minutes on Tuesday which will stand him in good
    stead for Toronto.” The Rapids are at home to Toronto next Sunday, April 18.
  • Good experience also for new boy Quincy
    Amarikawa who came on for the last ten minutes following his move to Colorado
    from San Jose this week. Some of the players will be staying on in Kansas
    for Tuesday’s Open Cup game against the same opposition. Smith said one or two
    players feeling knocks from tonight’s game would be later decisions for
    Tuesday. “But I won’t be far away from what I was thinking,” the coach said. Claudio Lopez, now confirmed as having his
    visa issues sorted out, looks likely to play some time in the Open Cup game.