Editorial (July 3, 2017) – The Colorado Rapids got a much needed win against the Houston Dynamo this past weekend. With a brace from Marlon Hairston and an offensive explosion, they won the match 3-1.
Colorado Rapids Offense Outruns Dynamo 3-1: Three Big Takeaways
Kevin Doyle and Marlon Hairston scored for the Rapids. Dominique Badji had three assists. Erick ‘El Cubo’ Torres scored the lone goal for the Dynamo.
Offensive Outburst: Relationships Start Clicking:
The Rapids scored more than two goals for the first time in league play since May. They’ve dealt with injuries and a rotating cast. This game was a coming together of work, and the right players on the field.
“It was just the chemistry between the midfielders, the defenders, and the strikers. There’s been a disconnect throughout the season. Today was just a culminatin of all the work we’ve been putting in, especially me and [Doyle] clicking. When he has the ball, I know where to be. When I have the ball, he knows where to be,” forward Dominique Badji said after the game.
Doyle and Badji were in sync in ways we hadn’t seen from them in the past. There had been flashes, but this was a culmination of work as Badji said. Hairston and Dillon Serna were regularly involved in the attack as well. This was all fueled by great work from the center mids:
“Mo [Saeid] and Nana [Boateng] today were the catalysts of everything that we did with the ball. That partnership was very obvious . . . The tempo that they created between the two of them was fantastic,” said Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni.
It wasn’t obvious from the highlights, but the build up started with Mohammed Saeid and Bismark Nana Boateng. They slowed the game down when needed and played it fast when there was an opportunity to counter. Saied played forward throughout the game. Boateng was sound defensively. Ever since Sam Cronin left the club, the team needed a replacement for that midfield engine. They may have found it in these two.
Mastronei spoke further on Boateng: “From a tactical perspective, he’s a very bright individual. From a technical perspective, he’s very good. [He] dictated the flow and intercept some balls and effect the game on both sides of the, it speaks to the type of player [Boateng] is.”
Colorado will need Boateng to grow into this role if they are to make the playoffs.
Dynamo Offense Lacking Depth:
The Dynamo were without Albert Ellis and Romell Quioto due to national team duty. Houston was able to create chances in this match, but they had trouble finishing. Torres had one really good chance and he made it count, scoring at the end of the first half.
“We created a lot of options. In fairness, Tim Howard was great as we were expecting. We could’ve scored five or six goals but he was unbelievable. That shows we created chances, so we just have to finish and close this day,” said Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera after the game.
Torres leads the team with 12 goals. Mauro Manotas started this game, he has 5 goals in 2017. With Ellis and Quioto out, the next highest scorer in the lineup had a single goal. Manotas had several good looks in the match, but one has to wonder outside these four, who else can scores goals for Houston?
A Makeshift Backline Getting Experience:
Defense is the hallmark of Mastroeni and the Colorado Rapids. They’ve had a rough couple of weeks with bad performances.
“After our road trip, we sat down together as a group and really talked about the nuances that we wanted to do defensively to make sure we were all on the same page. It’s learning from every game and how we can affect from that result,” Mastroeni said after the match.
Mike da Fonte and Eric Miller have moved around the backline in 2017. Against Houston, they simplified things. The two kept marked Torres really well. Da Fonte in particular made high percentage plays. They played it out when in doubt. Every defender and goalkeeper Tim Howard cleared balls out the first time.
Other than his goal, they kept Torres in check. The midfielders helped stabilized things on both side the ball. The defenders will need to do the same thing going forward.