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PK in extra time salvages 1-1 draw

September 19, 2009 | 12:52 am No comments
By George Tanner

Imagine the array of emotions for Ryan Johnson on Friday night. The San Jose Earthquakes striker scored his team’s only goal in the eighth minute of a 1-1 tie against the Colorado Rapids. Then the 24-year-old committed the foul deep into extra time that produced a penalty kick for Colorado and the Rapids’ only goal.

Let’s start with the more controversial of the two plays.

Late, late, late in the game, with the Rapids finally putting four or five passes together, the pressure was on the San Jose defense. Colorado earned a corner kick, and Mehdi Ballouchy headed to the left corner flag.

All of the visiting team’s biggest bodies were in the box: Conor Casey, Julien Baudet, Michael Holody, Facundo Diz … even goalkeeper Preston Burpo.

Ballouchy’s corner was headed out of the San Jose penalty area, then second-half Rapids substitute Pat Noonan volleyed the ball back in. His pass sailed over everyone in the middle, but defender Drew Moor was at the far edge of the six-yard box and made a run. Moor had a step on Johnson and was going to get to the ball first.

Then Johnson put his left hand on Moor’s left shoulder and yanked him down from behind.

It was deep, deep, deep in the penalty area, and every Rapids player threw his hand in the air immediately. So did Coach Gary Smith and assistant Steve Guppy.

Referee Edvin Jurisevic had no choice but to award the penalty kick. Of course San Jose fans weren’t happy. Whose fans would be? But Johnson’s infraction was undeniable. It wasn’t a 50-50 call. The foul was blatant, and it was crucial. As crucial as Jurisevic’s decision.

Casey took the penalty kick and, remembering that he’d missed two of his three previous attempts this season, smacked it right down the middle.

This is a game Johnson won’t forget, and it won’t be because of that goal he scored in the eighth minute.

Oddly, that play started from the same area of the field as the one Johnson was whistled for at the end of the match.

Johnson headed a long throw-in from the left sideline into the right side of the Colorado net. Nearly half of the Rapids players seemed to be defending the same piece of the pitch, and nobody was eager to put a body on Johnson. The throw went straight to Johnson, his header sent a looping ball toward goal, and Burpo was caught in no man’s land.

No, in retrospect, that goal will provide no relief for the Earthquakes when thinking about Friday’s game. They did everything they needed to for about 94 minutes to walk away with a victory; it would have been their sixth win of the season.

But as abrupt as the surprise ending developed, it was not unearned or undeserved. Johnson’s foul at the end of the match was as quick and as unexpected as Johnson’s goal at the beginning.

The difference between one team driving home angry and another team flying home happy was the timing.

THE REACTION ON TWITTER: From the reaction expressed on tweets from fans, it’s surprising so many blame the Rapids for this outcome. The Rapids did nothing wrong in this match, other than letting lackluster play devolve into the finish that was so unsavory for the folks of San Jose. Blame the ref? Maybe. Blame Johnson? Certainly (but unlikely). Blame the Rapids? How is that possible?

“The Quakes were screwed by the MLS refs once again, add the Colorado Rapids to the suck it list”

“Bull—”

“hmmm, maybe it’s the 5000+ feet of elevation to their advantage? Nah”

“at least the Earthquakes kept the Rapids from advancing too far.”

“Down with Colorado Rapids”

“casey’s pk goes up…theirs. lol”

“bullshit call at the end gives rapids a pk. casey scores tie game. f— soccer.”

GOOD PLAY IN SHORT SUPPLY: The ESPN audience probably was hoping for a show from Colorado’s high-scoring fowards. And although Casey did add to his league-leading goal total, this was no offensive showcase. The only time the Rapids looked dangerous was in the 50th minute. Casey began a breakout when he took a quick restart at midfield. His pass led Kosuke Kimura up the right wing, and Kimura laced a perfect cross to the forehead of Omar Cummings, who was sprinting straight toward goal. The bang-bang play, however, ended in the sure hands of Earthquakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

POINTING THE FINGER: ESPN commentator John Harkes put some blame on Julien Baudet and Burpo for Johnson’s goal, and he was right. Baudet did not offer any resistance on Johnson’s header, and Burpo got stuck between Johnson and the back post, where the ball went in.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Cannon. In the 69th minute, Cannon made a stop on a hard, low bouncer from Casey, and then Cannon stopped Cummings on the rebound. Without these two clutch saves, the Rapids leave with all three points, not just one. And Cannon got a hand on Casey’s PK, as well.

CAPT. CONOR: That was Casey with the armband on.

WHAT’S NEXT: The same teams meet again Wednesday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids have six games left, four on the road.

NICE COMBO: I can’t stand the blue tops with the blue shorts, but when the Rapids wear the blue kits and white shorts, it looks really sharp.

MISSING: This was the third game of Pablo Mastroeni’s three-game suspension for a reckless foul against Houston. Goalkeeper Matt Pickens missed his second straight game because of a knee injury suffered a week ago in training. Darren Huckerby was out because of a possible career-threatening injury.

RAPIDS STARTERS: Burpo, Jordan Harvey, Scott Palguta, Baudet, Moor, Jacob Peterson, Ballouchy, Nick LaBrocca, Kimura, Casey, Cummings.

EARTHQUAKES STARTERS: Cannon, Ramiro Corrales, Brandon McDonald, Jason Hernandez, Chris Leitch, Bobby Convey, Ramon Sanchez, Andre Luiz, Shea Salinas, Johnson, Cornell Glen.

blockquote-tiny-georgie-mug George Tanner is a former writer and editor for the Rocky Mountain News; the Greeley Tribune; The Daily Independent of Ridgecrest, Calif.; the Durango Herald; and the Boulder Daily Camera. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado and an affiliate professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver. E-mail him at [email protected].

To advertise on Colorado Soccer Now, e-mail George at [email protected].

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