The Colorado Rapids missed a golden opportunity at home Wednesday to gain some ground in their quest to gain a higher playoff seed. They tied Chivas USA 1-1, gaining only one point on the idle Los Angeles Galaxy and losing ground to FC Dallas, who beat the Columbus Crew.
"I said all along that Chivas is a very difficult team to play with," said Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo. "They have nothing to lose and at the same time you have to make sure you prepare yourself well enough to come out and play regardless of your opponent. We didn't come out with that intensity today."
A raucous Wednesday night crowd had a distinctly Chivas feel to it, as Mexican clubs CD Guadalajara (better known as Chivas) and Cruz Azul were set to play an exhibition immediately following the Rapids game.
"I know that our franchise wants to sell a lot of tickets, but they didn't do us a lot of favors putting the two games right next to each other," said Rapids 'keeper Joe Cannon.
"With our team in such a close playoff race I don't think that was probably the smartest idea. But it looked like a great crowd and it was a definitely great atmosphere, and I don't think any of the guys are going to use the crowd as an excuse as to why we couldn't put the ball away or put the ball in the back of the net."
Cannon, who missed a third consecutive game because of a lingering abdominal injury, indicated that he would begin full training again on Thursday.
"We're hoping I'll be back in one of the next two games," said Cannon. "To be honest I haven't really done anything 100 percent yet except for diving around a little bit today. But I've been given the green light to try everything including kicking the ball, which in the past has been a bit of a problem in recovery."
One of the bright spots for Colorado was the continued stellar play of newcomer Dedi Ben Dayan, who scored his fourth goal in as many matches for his new team.
"Goals are nice," said Ben Dayan, "but the main point is that Colorado succeeds in the playoffs."
In the final analysis, the Rapids know that they must improve their play if they hope to go far in the playoffs.
"We're trying to establish what's best for the team and which lineup is going to perform," said Clavijo. "Today's lineup, it was not there, so we have to keep trying in the last two games to find out what will work for the playoffs. ... Today is one of those games that you don't want to look too much into it and it's good that no one got hurt. Overall, I don't think anyone performed to their capabilities."
Geoffrey Urland is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.