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Failure to finish: Rapids, Kansas City end in scoreless draw

September 26, 2009 | 11:50 pm No comments
By George Tanner

Random notes from the Colorado Rapids’ third draw in nine days, a 0-0 tie with the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night at Community America Ballpark:

SIZE MATTERS: The official dimensions of the pitch at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park are 120 yards long by 80 yards wide. In contrast, the fields surrounding Dick’s are 110 by 70. The Kansas City Wizards’ media guide suggests that Community America Ballpark is 110 by 70, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were narrower than that. Whatever the size, it’s smaller than the Rapids’ home turf. And the Wizards play to the size of the field, attacking the ball religiously. The Rapids do that on the larger field, which might be more difficult. So when you throw the two teams together on a smaller field, the results are predictable: very tight matching and very little magic.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Davy Arnaud had a few flashes of excitement in him, including nearly ending the game in the third minute of extra time. Kai Kamara centered he ball from the left wing. But although Arnaud got inside of Rapids defender Julien Baudet, he couldn’t put his boot on the bouncing ball, which was all he would’ve had to do. In the 54th minute, Arnaud nearly scored on a snap header that went wide left. Less than five minutes later, his shot sailed just over the crossbar. Arnaud also was part of the most creative play in the game. In the 82nd minute, Claudio Lopez pushed the ball forward to Arnaud, who centered the ball from the left wing to Zoltan Hercegfalvi. The Hungarian, though, poked it just wide of goal. Consideration for man of the match also would go to Rapids goalkeeper Preston Burpo, K.C. goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and Kansas City left back Michael Harrington, who might be my second choice. But Arnaud was the player most likely to decide the game. Fortunately for the Rapids, he didn’t.

DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD, PART 1: Arnaud broke into the starting lineup for the Wizards as a rookie in 2003 and has been there ever since.

THERE WERE A COUPLE OF OTHER CLOSE CALLS: Jimmy Conrad off the post in the 79th minute. Kosuke Kimura, attending to one of the posts on a corner kick, stopping a shot with the family jewels. It takes a tremendous amount of courage not to cover the jewels with your hands, which is a risky proposition on the road in the enemy’s penalty area. Nice work, Kosuke.

SAVE OF THE MATCH: A tie between Hartman’s save on Omar Cummings in the 24th minute and

BJORN BORG CALLED AND WANTS HIS STYLE BACK: What’s up with Jimmy Conrad’s headband? If he wore it any lower, it’d be a blindfold.

SATURDAY, BLOODY SATURDAY: At the hour mark, Kansas City striker Josh Wolff made a huge fuss about not getting a call after receiving a bloody nose from a Rapids player. The ref didn’t see the contact, and neither did the television audience, at least not live. But some good work by the camera crew in Kansas City showed what happened: Wolff was behind Scott Palguta, who was running toward his own goal. Palguta’s arm smacked Wolff in the nose during Palguta’s normal running motion. No foul. However, the replay also showed that just before Wolff recoiled from the blow, he gave Palguta a little one-handed shove in the back. Nothing like a little disingenuous outrage for the ref, when you can get away with it.

TWO WRONGS? On the third of three consecutive Wizards corner kicks in the second half, Burpo easily rushed forward and hauled in the ball. But Conrad put both hands on Baudet and spun him to the ground. No whistle. Conrad then gave Baudet an elbow gesture, rationalizing or justifying his opportunity to commit a foul, perhaps.

WITH APOLOGIES TO DAVID LETTERMAN: Kimura, Kamara. Kamara, Kimura.

MISSING: The Rapids announced that Jacob Peterson and Jamie Smith are out for the season with knee injuries. Pickens also missed Saturday’s games.

DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD, PART 2: Smith had one assist and no goals in the four games he played for the Rapids in 2009.

RAPIDS STARTERS: Burpo, Moor, Baudet, Palguta, Harvey, Mastroeni, LaBrocca, Kimura, Ballouchy, Casey, Cummings. Significantly different lineup and formation. Three in the back, five in the middle. Harvey and Kimura on the wings in the midfield. Pablo and LaBrocca sharing the holding role. Coach Gary Smith used no subs.

DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD, PART 3: The last time the Rapids chose to use a three-man back line (intentionally, not out of necessity) was in the Tim Hankinson years. Hank regularly used a defense of Rick Titus, Robin Fraser and Ritchie Kotschau in 2002, especially toward the end of the season.

WIZARDS STARTERS: Hartman, Leathers, Conrad, Besler, Harrington, Arnaud, Hirsig, Jewsbury, Lopez, Kamara, Wolff.

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