The counter-attack hurt the Rapids again
Twice in the May 26 match against the Timbers, the Rapids paid for mistakes that lead to goals in transition the opposite way.
Saturday against Vancouver, in the 17th minute Yordy Reyna and Cristian Techera created a 3-on-3 attack that started in their defensive half and turned it into the opening goal. To be honest, there wasn’t much the central defenders or Tim Howard could do. The damage was done when Reyna and Techera raced untouched for 60-70 into the 18-yard box. It was a lethal counter attack that happened because the home side had been pushing numbers forward, hoping to press Vancouver into an early mistake. Instead, a turnover lead to the opening goal and the visitors never looked back. Speed kills in the counter-attack. And as the Rapids, when you’re facing a team with loads of pace and you’re throwing numbers forward you can’t turn the ball over with acres of free space to run. Credit to Vancouver, they made the Rapids pay for their mistake.
Injuries have been an overlooked story during this losing streak
Johan Blomberg returned to the starting lineup after having missed the last five games due to injury. His impact was felt immediately as he created chances and pushed the game down the right-hand side during his 61-minute shift. The Swede was also credited with an assist on Edgar Castillo’s 41st minute stunner. Not a bad outing for just over an hour of work. His calming presence and attack-minded skill might have made the difference in a match or two over the past six weeks. Who knows
Similarly, I think Marlon Hairston and Kortne Ford have been missed more than most casual fans realize. Both are young, insanely athletic players. They’re difference makers. Even though they’re a combined 46 years old they are also quiet leaders. Simply, they are two players this side couldn’t afford to lose this early into the season. Especially during a very difficult stretch against a run of playoff teams.
Sure, the breaks haven’t fallen for the Rapids during this bad run of form, but the injuries have been the catalyst that may have set things in motion.
The U.S. Open Cup comes at the right time
In MLS play, things have not been going well. There’s no sugarcoating it. The last seven games have been close (outside of the trip to NYCFC), but the results aren’t there to show for the effort.
Come Wednesday night, the Rapids have a fresh chance to turn things around. They have an opportunity to kickstart a run at a piece of silverware with a trip to Nashville for a Round of 32 U.S. Open Cup match against a USL side coached by former Rapids boss Gary Smith.
Matches against lower division sides are never easy, and this one figures to be a battle against an unfamiliar foe on their home field. But maybe that’s a good thing. The Rapids have been handed a chance to build some momentum, while snapping a losing skid on just a few days of rest. When you’re losing, and things aren’t breaking your way, all you can ask for is another chance to right the ship.