COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (May 14, 2018) – Last Saturday’s match saw Colorado Rapids lose their fourth straight and second straight at home. Despite some positive play in the first half and a furious final 10 minutes, New York Red Bulls came out on top 2-1.
Colorado Rapids lose 4th straight: Anthony Hudson on officiating and other takeaways
The Rapids are doing a few things well but are still a work-in-progress. Head Coach Anthony Hudson had some strong words on a few topics from this loss. Here are a few key takeaways from yesterday from the game.
Officiating played a role and Hudson was not happy about it:
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and the officiating in general played a significant role in this game on several occasions.
“This is not the first time I’ve felt this: We’ve been undone tonight by probably two really disappointing decisions from the referee. It’s cost us points,” Hudson said post game.
The two decisions Hudson’s referring to was a VAR review of a Derrick Etienne Jr. goal that was initially called off-sides but then reversed and a PK shout in the final minutes when defender Tommy Smith went down in the box.
“I can’t understand why the off-sides [goal by Etienne Jr.] been changed, why it’s been given. And Tommy Smith at the end, I can’t understand how that’s not given. With where the defender is, it’s a goalscoring opportunity. It was poor,” said Hudson.
The main photo of the off-sides/non-off-sides moment has been circulating around the internet. The linesman didn’t have the best angle when he made the call but head official Ismail Elfath agrees with the call. A VAR review in which Elfath did not go to the monitor reversed the call. The fact that there’s so much discussion over the call tells me the situation was not “clear and obvious.”
In any case, the Soccer Gods have yet to give the Rapids the benefit of the doubt on several occasions this year when it has come to officiating.
Sam Nicholson provides a spark but the midfield three still hazy:
This was Sam Nicholson’s second straight start since joining the Rapids. More comfortable with his teammates and the 3-5-2 system, Nicholson ran the offense on Saturday. On several occasions, he ran out to his left wing to combine with Edgar Castillo. The two had good passing sequences.
“We go through it in training. Edgar [Castillo]’s a good player. We know each other and what we’re going to do. We’re only going to get better,” Nicholson said about his relationship with Castillo.
The Rapids went after the space between New York’s line and used their numbers advantage on the flanks to get the ball forward.
Here's the first half chalkboard for Nicholson/Castillo (left) and Boateng/Martinez (right). Good job getting forward and wide. There's a decent amount of service to the box. Not finding the forwards/don't have numbers there with the two mids out wide. #Rapids96 #COLvNY pic.twitter.com/XDuSW2PJrN
— Matt Pollard (@LWOSMattPollard) May 13, 2018
“There were times where we noticed they had a high line. There were times to go in behind, but we need to drag them towards us. There were times we opened them up,” said Nicholson.
Unfortunately, the Rapids were unable to connect their service into the box to forwards Yannick Boli and Joe Mason. With the midfield still a work in progress, there wasn’t any support in the middle of the field to create a numbers advantage in the box or regain possession at the top of the box.
Rapids still burned on both ends by defensive breakdowns and close chances:
Unfortunately for the Rapids, defensive mistakes cost them on both goals given up. Inexplicably, no one of the three players in the box attacked the ball or picked up Daniel Royer on the first Red Bulls goal.
“It was a poor goal. Probably the biggest criticism on the first half was not good on the throw in and a poor goal,” said Hudson adding “after the first half, there was really only one team in it. After 10-15 minutes, I wasn’t concerned about the scoreline. We had the game under control.”
The Rapids had good stretches throughout Saturday’s match but had two breakdowns that both led to goals. Even with the linesman putting his flag up, players are taught to play to the whistle. Whether he was off-sides or not, Etienne beat the Rapids to the ball. Danny Wilson missed it as did goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Even with the defense rebuilt, the center backs overall are relatively slow and aren’t great 1-v-1 defenders without help. Their mistakes are leading to goals and costing the Rapids points.