COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Saturday’s 1-1 tie with the San Jose Earthquakes was very much a tale of two halves for the Colorado Rapids. They had a largely aimless first 45 minutes, but came back after the break to play a much more positive game, stringing passes together and finding better openings.
For captain Pablo Mastroeni, the Jekyll and Hyde performance boiled down to one thing: playing simple soccer.
“I think once you start moving the ball quickly and everyone gets a feel of it, everyone wants the ball and it’s contagious, just like defending,” Mastroeni said. “So, I think moving forward, the emphasis needs to be on playing simple, playing what you see, and creating some kind of movement after you pass the ball to create that momentum that everyone wants. I think in the second half we did a good job of it."
The Rapids also cut down on the number of long balls in the second half, while the first half saw many hopeful services flighted towards the front line. The results were disappointing: Colorado were caught offside five times.
“The first half offsides were an anomaly, I don’t know why that was happening,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz told MLSsoccer.com. “I don’t know why we didn’t play as well as we did in the second half.”
They’ll have to find out quickly. Though two of their last three regular season games are at home, the Rapids will have to defend their turf against FC Dallas (Oct. 1) and Real Salt Lake (Oct. 14), two of the top teams in MLS.
The solution? Stay aggressive at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and keep it simple.
“I mean we’re at home, these are the kinds of things we need to do and we should be doing them from minute one,” Mastroeni said.