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Rapids found wanting

August 28, 2011 | 8:08 pm No comments
By Shaun Schafer

The Colorado Rapids roster is being tested by CONCACAF Champions League and MLS play, and it is being found wanting.

The latest evidence came on Saturday night as the Rapids fell to the Chicago Fire, one of the worst teams in MLS, 2-0 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

While it was the most disastrous result in the latest string of games, it was also further proof of the mounting fatigue for a squad battling in two competitions. Surrendering late goals are normally the key sign of a tiring team. Colorado (10-7-11, 41 points) gave up a tying goal to Real Espana on Tuesday in the 85th minute and to Chivas USA on Aug. 20 in the 86th minute.

Coach Gary Smith attempted to make the most of his flagging roster by putting sometime starter Caleb Folan up top, and resting Omar Cummings.

The move produced few chances, and Cummings ultimately came on in the 61st minute as the team sought its way out of 2-0 hole. Inserting Cummings and later bringing on Macoumba Kandji for Folan produced little.

Perhaps Chicago ‘keeper Sean Johnson deserves much of the credit for earning his sixth shutout. However, the Rapids dug their own hole by letting Dominic Orduro loose in the 16th minute, and failing to close down his shot. The second goal was even more egregious as Kosuke Kimura, who possesses the work rate of a draft horse, simply couldn’t continue the run to the end line for the cross that Cory Gibbs turned into the second goal.

The bottom line is that this team, which relies on outworking opponents and then unleashing the speed of Sanna Nyassi and Cummings, is showing signs of the grind. Not having another game until Sept. 9, when the Rapids travel to face the LA Galaxy, may be the best thing that can happen for this squad. The season is at a critical juncture, and this side is running on fumes.

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