View from the Booth: Point not enough at this stage
When a parent or teacher were particularly unimpressed with my behavior which – being as angelic as I am – was rare, they would address me by my full name. In the case of my parents, it would be a stern ‘Richard’. A teacher would holler ‘Richard Fleming.’
And so this week’s ‘View from the Booth’ begins with …
‘Colorado Rapids! (Shake of the head, and a little finger wagging). What do you think you’re playing at?’
My three children tend to tire of me saying the same old thing over and over again. I tell them, ‘if you don’t want me to repeat myself, then change your ways.’
Same goes for the Rapids.
I don’t like telling them off (my children, that is), but sometimes a bit of tough love is needed.
Same goes for the Rapids.
An arm around the shoulder, or a metaphorical kick up the backside? (The Rapids, that is).
Games are running out, and so too is time to make amends.
Full Match Highlights
At Chivas USA, the Rapids played with a man advantage for long periods, against the worst team in the Western Conference, having been gifted a penalty kick, dominated possession and hogged the lion’s share of decent chances. And still the side only scraped a draw, courtesy of a late leveler.
Not needed at this stage of proceedings.
Yes, it was another point, and the unbeaten run stretched to eight games, but had the match with Chivas ended in a 4-1 win, then few would’ve suggested the Rapids were fortunate.
A similar tale emerged from the tie with Real Salt Lake eight days earlier, as well as the goalless draw with DC United last month, and the 1-1 tie at San Jose.
Four points is not a fair return from those four games. And there have been other contests this season, when teams have been let off the hook by the Rapids.
I wrote very early on this season that converting chances was a problem. In another ‘View from the Booth’, back in March, I penned: ‘In this game, if you don't concede goals, then you're not going to lose. Equally, if you don't score goals, then you're not going to win. Goals win games, and the Rapids need to start winning.’
It took a Martin Rivero goal at the StubHub Center to spare the Rapids’ blushes, after they had again conceded early on and after they had again huffed and puffed but struggled to blow away the opposition.
Finishing has been the Rapids’ Achilles heel this season, without a doubt. Composure and quality in front of goal has gone in fits and starts. But that struggle to finish off teams is now more of a concern as the playoff push picks up pace.
Quotes emerged following Sunday’s draw in California, from the Rapids camp, suggesting that they felt they deserved more than the draw. I’m sorry, but you can’t say that Chivas didn’t do their utmost to hand that one to the Rapids. They gave up a penalty and had two players sent off – both rightfully so, and both for disgraceful actions.
The Rapids failed to make the most of the countless opportunities and so, arguably, got exactly what they deserved. Failure in front of goal has been a bone of contention all year, only now, every missed chance and every point dropped is all the more painful, and could come back to haunt the side come the final reckoning.
Vicente Sanchez and Martin Rivero were the bright lights at Chivas USA. Sanchez looked confident in possession and will only get better as his understanding with teammates improves. Rivero was equally busy when he entered the contest, and certainly added a threat in the final third (only the final touch was often lacking).
And so the stage is set for Vancouver Whitecaps this coming weekend, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (TICKETS). A tie wasn’t good enough against RSL. It certainly wasn’t good enough at Chivas, and it won’t be satisfactory when Vancouver take to the field on Saturday.
The players know that the level of expectation has risen. Their top-notch performances this season have given fans an insight into what this team is capable of. And that is why Sunday’s showing left fans feeling flat. I daresay, also, that the players share their followers’ frustration, the only difference being that they are in a position to do something about it.
As a soccer fans, it’s times like this when you feel completely helpless. You watch on from afar, urging your team to come good knowing – ultimately – there is nothing you can do to influence the outcome.
Being a soccer fan is a little like being a parent. You offer your team unconditional love and support. By all means give advice – it’s theirs to accept, or not. Do your best, and hope they do theirs, so when all’s said and done, you can look back and know that you’ve done all you could, have no regrets, and just hope that everything turns out ok.