Monday, March 21, 2016

8 Thoughts on DC United vs Colorado

*So after two weeks of really captivating, entertaining soccer, the Sunday game of the week was something of a clunker in Week 3. Yes, there was some drama with Fabián Espíndola's late game winner, but overall the play was rather sloppy. The fact that Kevin Doyle's effort where he hit the post in the first half while lying on his back was the best scoring chance in the opening 45 minutes was indicative of the type of night it was. You have to wonder how this game got the primetime slot given how bad Colorado was a year ago. Why not San Jose-LA? Or if you wanted a game already slated for Sunday, why not Sporting KC-Toronto? It's just disappointing that after building some good momentum the first two weeks of the season with a rematch of the MLS Cup in Week 1, and then a star-studded performance featuring Andrea Pirlo, Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, David Villa and others in Week 2, that this was the best we could do in Week 3.

*Now, this match probably could have been a little bit more exciting had Colorado's prize offseason offensive acquisition, Albanian striker Shkëlzen Gashi, been able to play. But no. Gashi got himself suspended for one match for, get this, running onto the field to celebrate Marco Pappa's game winner against the Galaxy last week. Now, I get it, you shouldn't run onto the field, and suspending him sends a clear message, but COME ON! Just fine the guy. He's brand new to MLS, it was a 95th minute game winning goal, cut the guy some slack. I would think a warning would have been fine in this instance, and then we would've gotten to see one of the league's most intriguing offseason additions on National television. Instead, everybody loses.

*Dominique Badji has to be one of the surprises of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Taken 67th overall, the freakishly athletic Badji has started all three of the Rapids' matches this season and while he's yet to get on the score sheet, he has managed seven shots. It will be interesting to see if Badji's still in the Starting XI once Jermaine Jones and Gashi return from their suspensions, but regardless, you don't see a lot of 4th rounders have an impact in MLS, so good for him.

*Up until Espíndola scored the equalizer, I was actually leaning towards writing what a disappointing effort he had put forth. Despite entering as a substitute, he offered limited pace and effort, and even managed to put a long range shot so far off target, that it nearly hit the corner flag. Yes, he ended the night with a team-high five shots (and the goal), and the offense certainly seemed to flow better once he entered the match, but considering he's getting Designated Player money, I just expected better from him.

*I feel for Zac MacMath as his days as a starter are clearly numbered now that Tim Howard is officially joining the Rapids this summer. That said, if MacMath continues to make plays like the one that led to the Espíndola goal, he won't have much of a case for staying on the field.

*I actually thought that Patrick Nyarko was one of the more exciting players on the field last night. The nine-year MLS veteran showed an ability to take on the Rapids defenders 1v1 and draw fouls that created a number of dangerous opportunities for DC United, even if they weren't able to capitalize on any of them.

*Marco Pappa is going to end up being a really nice addition to this Colorado squad. He's already directly responsible for all four of the points they've earned this season scoring the game winning goal against LA, and delivering the corner kick that Dillon Powers converted last night. Considering he's had five five-goal seasons, and four five-assist seasons in his MLS career, his ability to impact games on offense shouldn't come as a surprise. You can bet Seattle misses him right now.

*Axel Sjöberg is REALLY tall. At 6'7", he should really win every single ball in the air, right? We've seen how Steve Birnbaum can impact games on the offensive end, it will be interesting to see if Sjöberg can develop into that type of two-way player as well and give the Rapids another attacking option on set pieces.

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