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Ugliness the name of the night

July 18, 2010 | 9:32 am No comments
By Shaun Schafer
Pablo Mastroeni delivers one of the few bright spots for the Rapids against Kansas City with a first-half shot that goes just wide left. (Photo by Jonathan Ingraham/ColoradoSoccerNow.com)

Pablo Mastroeni delivers one of the few bright spots for the Rapids against Kansas City with a first-half shot that goes just wide left. (Photo by Jonathan Ingraham/ColoradoSoccerNow.com)

There are ugly wins and ugly losses, but there is rarely an ugly tie.

On Saturday night, the fans at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park got to see an ugly tie as the Colorado Rapids salvaged a point against the visiting Kansas City Wizards, 1-1.

For the unfamiliar, an ugly tie is when the home team lets a mediocre visitor control play for long periods, fans see their own players tripping over the ball and falling on home turf, and the team’s best player get a chance to deliver a win and instead clanks the ball off the post.

All of these things came to fruition as the Rapids dawdled and frittered on a gorgeous July night.

For the record, Kansas City scored first when Craig Rocastle sent a through pass from his half of midfield that found a streaking Davy Arnaud. Arnaud zipped past a lumbering backline and waited for Matt Pickens to commit to a side. When Pickens went to the near post, Arnaud fired to the far post to put the visitors ahead in the 20th minute.

It looked like KC might double or treble its lead as Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury and Arnaud continued to pester the goalmouth. Pickens made back-to-back saves on shots from Kamara and Arnaud in the 39th minute to keep the Rapids in the game. Bunbury had the best chance in the 41st when he beat the ‘keeper, but the ball ricocheted off both posts before Pablo Mastroeni cleared it.

Looking for a change, coach Gary Smith took off Mehdi Ballouchy and inserted Jamie Smith at half. This followed the mericful replacement of Scott Palguta with Danny Earls in the 44th minute. Palguta, playing at left back, was outmatched by Kamara’s speed and reduced to the role of Greco-Roman wrestling with the forward. Palguta’s efforts earned him a yellow card in the 36th minute and little else.

Adding Smith and bringing on Claudio Lopez for Colin Clark in the 62nd minuted changed the shape of the team and the fate of the game. Colorado continued pressing for the equalizer and found it when Conor Casey took a Smith pass, turned in the box and bulled his way past defenders before beating ‘keeper Jimmy Nielsen in the 74th minute.

In the 89th, Casey got the chance for a win on a perfect diagonal pass from Lopez. Nielsen went down as Casey moved in the box. With an open net, the forward attempted to chip a left-footed shot. It clanked the left post and bounced out for a goal kick, leaving an ugly tie in place.

Records: The Rapids slipped into fourth place in the Western Conference at 6-4-5 (23 points). Kansas City remained fifth in the Eastern Conference at 4-8-4 (16 points).

Rapids 11: Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Palguta (Earls 44), Omar Cummings, Ballouchy (Smith 46), Jeff Larentowicz, Mastroeni, Clark ( Lopez 62), Casey.

Wizards 11: Nielsen, Michael Harrington, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Roger Espinoza, Arnaud (Graham Zusi 86), Stephane Auvray, Rocastle (Jack Jewsbury 63), Ryan Smith (Josh Wolff 75), Kamara, Bunbury.

Next Up: The Rapids next game is a road game at Seattle on July 25, which will be televised live nationally on Fox Soccer Channel (9 p.m. Mountain). The Rapids return home to face FC Dallas at 2 p.m. on July 31.

Relocated: The originally scheduled game at Philadelphia on July 14 was rescheduled for September 29.

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