COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – During Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, head referee Sorin Stoica controversially ruled Rapids keeper Matt Pickens clipped Quakes striker Alan Gordon’s foot in the penalty box, leading to the game’s decisive goal in second-half injury time.
WATCH: Gordon draws late PK
After the match, Pickens said he was still unsure about the call.
“It’s hard to say because I didn’t feel any contact at the time,” Pickens told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “And if I did it was probably the slightest of touch for a 200-pound man to drop like a sack of rocks. But it is what it is, they made the call and we dropped three points.”
Replays proved inconclusive in determining whether or not Pickens clipped Gordon for the decisive penalty, but it didn't matter in the end. San Jose's Chris Wondolowski buried the ensuing penalty kick to hand Colorado their second straight loss.
Left back spot still up for grabs
The left back position has turned into the revolving door for the Colorado Rapids of late, and it doesn’t appear that the door is going to stop turning anytime soon.
Luis Zapata made his first regular season start there for the Rapids in more than a month, playing the full 90 minutes Wednesday night. Freeman, who had started the last three games there, was moved over to right back, with Kosuke Kimura on the bench.
“We are all competing for our spot, including coaches, everybody,” Colorado head coach Pareja said following Wednesday’s loss. “It’s a day-by-day thing. This is all about respecting this club and this franchise and the fans and everyone. I think this is a message for everyone, it’s not just Luis who is competing for one spot, this is soccer, this is business and we all have to do our job well because that’s what it is.”
Meanwhile, Colorado may look elsewhere for help at left back and elsewhere. South African international Brett Evans, a left back, began trialing with the team on Monday, and technical director Paul Bravo told MLSsoccer.com this week that the Rapids are actively searching for help.
“We’ve been looking at players in the back as well as our front,” Bravo said on Tuesday. “We’re happy with the group we have here and we need to get healthy in order to continue to evaluate where our needs lie, but that’s something that we’ve been actively searching for.”
Cascio gets rest
Rapids rookie striker Tony Cascio, one of the leading candidates for MLS’ Rookie of the Year award, got the night off on Wednesday after playing 1,095 of 1,260 minutes so far during the regular season, while also seeing considerable action in US Open Cup play as well.
“It had been hard the last couple weeks since as a player he’s used to a different season rhythm,” Pareja said. “Today, Tony could easily be part of the 18 but we have him in a different role to see if he can get back with that energy and be the player that we need.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.