View from the Booth: Show-stealing Sanchez, take a bow
'The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential ... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.'
'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.'
'When one scores a goal and the team doesn't win, (the goal) doesn't matter.'
Oooh, View from the Booth getting all philosophical …
Full Match Highlights
Three quotes which could've emerged following Saturday's game with FC Dallas, and a second successive win. In fact, only one was said post-game, and it came from the mouth of the man instrumental in the victory, Vicente Sanchez.
The other quotes are courtesy of Confucius and Aristotle. Now, I'm pretty sure the chap from China and the guy from Greece did not have soccer in mind when they spoke such words two-and-a-half thousand years ago, but they certainly strike a chord in 2013 when discussing the Colorado Rapids.
After a 50-minute delay, the contest with FC Dallas barely flickered into life first half. Here were two teams, tactically stifling one another, on a difficult surface and with so much at stake. (And some of the passing could've been better).
It needed a spark.
After the break, the sparks were many and varied.
First, an early second-half strike from David Ferreira, following a slick move down the left. It was just what the game was screaming out for.
With his tattoo-laden arm and rockabilly hairstyle, softly-spoken Sanchez stands out from the crowd. And, from the moment Dallas threatened to upstage him, the Uruguayan stepped fully into the spotlight and stole the show with a match-winning display.
Vicente Sanchez Goal
His equalizer, and first goal for the club, was sublime. Granted, the build-up was nothing special (it fell his way from a misguided clearance) but he never took his eye off the ball, before bludgeoning beyond Raul Fernandez.
Small in stature, but with the heart of a lion, Sanchez was in his element. He'd offered up glimpses of his repertoire in previous games, including assists for Deshorn Brown and Edson Buddle goals (against Vancouver and LA), but lit up Dick's Sporting Goods Park with a blend of tricks and tenacity, allowing Rapids fans a true view of his undoubted talent.
With his goal celebration, Sanchez paid tribute to his pregnant wife. It was a special moment.
With his performance, the 33-year-old had the Rapids faithful suggesting the birth of a new era for the club.
Oh, and George John is still looking for Sanchez, having been turned inside-out for the second goal! George, George … the game's finished.
I recall noting a few rather sorry comments on social media when it was announced the club would be signing Sanchez, along the lines of 'who is this guy?' and 'what are the club doing signing a 33-year-old?'
Well, I trust those fickle folk are tucking into a thick slice of humble pie. Sanchez is the real deal, and he can drag this Rapids side to the next level, a level they'll need to reach if they're to go the distance this year, for in the Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy and - dare I say it - Real Salt Lake, there are major Western Conference hurdles to overcome.
Oscar Pareja Post-Game
Going into the trip to Sporting Kansas City, all were aware that the remaining eight games would be extremely tough. The loss at Sporting Park, ending the nine-game unbeaten run, seems to have sharpened the team's focus, as the qualities shown at LA Galaxy were again evident against FC Dallas.
The will to win, desire and determination to better oneself is clearly something this side has in truck-loads. As Confucius previously pointed out, these are 'the keys to … personal excellence.'
And being excellent is not something this side is prepared to do once in a while. With what would be music to the ears of Aristotle, I daresay the win over FC Dallas is but a fading memory, occasionally triggering a wistful smile. Eyes are now firmly fixed on Friday's return to Portland, where the Rapids will be keen to continue their habit of excellence.
Twenty-nine games played in the regular season. There are now five to go. It's been an eventful journey thus far. Expect a few more bumps in the road between now and October 27th. There's the Timbers test, followed by a two-week break, before the Rapids resume at home to the Sounders.
In real terms, one could say that nothing's been achieved so far, save for the return of the Rocky Mountain Cup. One could argue that, with a playoff place still not guaranteed, there's little to shout about.
Maybe so, but what were once whispers of something special happening in Colorado are now open conversations.
Like Vicente Martín Sánchez Bragunde, the Rapids can no longer be ignored.