Colorado's Smith "shell-shocked" after collapse vs. Crew

Gary Smith described himself as “shell-shocked” after his Colorado Rapids surrendered a 1-0 lead to get thrashed 4-1 by the Columbus Crew tonight.

A series of errors by the Rapids defense handed the game initiative on a plate to the home side. This all after a perfect start to the game for the visitors when Conor Casey headed in a goal in the fifth minute from a Jamie Smith cross.

“We had such a bright start, but those were two or three of the worst mistakes I have seen from this group since I have been here,” Smith told MLSsoccer.com.

Watch Highlights: Columbus 4, Colorado 1

The first mistake came in the 12th minute when Scott Palguta gave the ball away and Eddie Gaven broke in to equalize. Kosuke Kimura then failed to find Pablo Mastroeni with a back pass, and Andres Mendoza pounced to make it 2-1 in the 18th minute. Mendoza took advantage of another Kimura gaffe in the opening minutes of the second half to find himself with a breakaway that he finished to ice the match.

Sandwiched between the errors was the sending off of Casey in the 29th minute for what the referee deemed a reckless challenge on Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer. Casey seemed to know the instant he collided with the goalkeeper that he was in trouble.

It was the second consecutive game that saw a Rapids forward sent off. Caleb Folan saw red last week against the LA Galaxy.

“If we had stayed 11 on 11 at 2-1 down, we might still have been in the game, who knows?” Smith said. “I think they were both very harsh decisions. On both occasions, the guys have got up and carried on. The referees seem to be looking at what the injury might be and not at the challenge.”

Disputed calls aside, Smith is obviously frustrated with the Rapids’ current form. They have conceded seven goals and scored only two in the past two matches.

“There is a huge amount of disappointment at the result and even bigger frustration at the way it unfolded,” he said. “The guys will have to look very deep at what we are about to see where we are going this season.”