The south Couch Report: Colorado Rapids vs Toronto FC

Colorado Rapids as the Caribou of Colorado.

Colorado Rapids as the Caribou of Colorado.

So then, the first 3 games ended with a 1-1-1 record, and after a week off now it’s on to Colorado. So far it’s been understandably and commendably defence first from Greg Vanney’s men, will that continue?  I think if there’s any opportunity to open things up a bit more and actually go for it within this 8 game road trip it’s this game, the Rapids are nothing at all to be afraid of going forward, so go after those 3 points and then you’re only 1 point away from the 8 point target. But then on the other hand, I wouldn’t be outraged to see them continue with the pragmatism and get more comfortable with this type of game. The 8 game road trip might be a bit of a blessing really if TFC get to play the same way for that many consecutive games and really figure out how to play that way.  Imagine a two legged playoff tie, and so far I’d be happy with any of those results we’ve had in the hypothetical first leg away from home.  Maybe it’d be for the best to just keep going and worry about changing things up when they start playing at home.  Other big question is how will the team look with Jozy Altidore back in the starting line up.  Speaking of which:

We won’t find that out this week.  He is on the bench. Babouli getting the start is an interesting choice. So is Lovitz though it’s a lot less exciting. Is Osorio still a bit injured, or has Cheyrou supplanted him in the starting line up? Can’t have too many Canadians now can we? Anyway;

Onto the Match:

3′- Luis Solignac is played in behind the defence. He’s offside, but Irwin comes out, the two collide, Solignac comes off worse.  By the way, did you know the game’s being played at altitude?

5′ – Giovinco gets played in by Cheyrou, but he’s very wide, his cross leads to a corner, which leads to a very very wayward shot from Bennyballs.

7′ – Dillon Powers gets way too much space in the box but hits the shot right at Irwin.

9′ – Morrow gives the ball away then brings down Powers in the box. No penalty called.

11′ – Yellow card Cheyrou with a nifty move, but one move too many means he loses the ball and he gets booked for a clumsy attempt to win it back.

12′ – Red Card.  Second yellow for Cheyrou. Challenged Bobby Burling, jumped into him with his arm flailing a bit, a bit harsh maybe but Cheyrou really shouldn’t have given him the opportunity to do that. Not a wise decision at all.  Now they’ll have to play with ten men. and at high altitude don’t you know!

16′ – Perquis fouls just outside the area, dead central, 20 yards out.  Gashi’s free kick is well, gash. Into the wall, and nothing comes from it.

18′ – Goal: Solignac scores, dinked over the top by Pappa, TFC defence looking for offside, Solignac all alone and slotted it nicely past Irwin. Almost offside, not called which is the right call.  Now then let’s see how well TFC can attack with ten men. No need to panic yet though.

23′ – Nice move from Morrow down the wing but the cross comes to nothing, Rapids counter but the shot goes wide.

27′ – Sub: Lovitz off for Osorio as Vanney shores up the midfield.  Happy to see it’s not Babouli.

29′ – TFC spend 90 seconds or so passing the ball around and from side to side, some very nice stuff, but then Beitashour throws in a cross to no-one, and thus the move ends.

30′ – Johnson has a shot from way out, misses and not really close but hey, a shot in the general direction of goal!  That’s something I guess.

42′ – Not much happening really these last few minutes, TFC just can’t really get anything going at all.

45′ – Yellow Card: Mark Burch. Johnson beats him and as he goes past he sticks out an arm, clotheslines him in the stomach, Johnson goes down and the card comes out.

47′ – Giovinco with a free kick about 30 yards out. Over the wall and curves just wide. predictable.

Half Time Mood : Meh, 1-0 down, one man down, and playing in a very slow and lethargic looking fashion. Changes are needed if we’re going to get anything from this.  Large part of TFC twitter seems to be predictably going after the ref. I think both yellows were justified and the goal wasn’t offside, so I in no way share the outrage. Are TFC supporters worse than other team’s fans when it comes to ref conspiracy theories? Cos they’re pretty fucking terrible about it.

2nd half

46′ Vanney interviewed as we kick off, asks about the offside, Nigel tells him it was on.  Chuckle.

47′ – Ball comes to Osorio on edge of box, tries to curl it into top corner, but hits it too hard and also forgets the curl, and thus it goes way high and wide.

50′ – Giovinco gets a bit of space, goes on a run, but his eventual shot is blocked and then the Rapids close him down and the danger is cleared away.

52′ – TFC attack and Rapids counter, Bradley jumps in to try and get an interception, but doesn’t get it and thus Rapids in space, get ball out to the right and eventually nothing comes from it, but not the smartest play from our inspirational leader.

55′ Giovinco has got the ball on the edge of the box a few times recently and is looking dangerous. Hasn’t quite happened yet, but it’s looking better.

56′ Giovinco wins a free kick about 30 yards out.  He doesn’t shoot.  Ha, of course he does.  Went wall side, obviously. This one on target right in the top corner, but MacMath got to it and a corner it is.

59′ – Yellow Card: Burling, for persistent fouling of Giovinco.

60′ – Sub: Altidore on for Babouli.  Quiet game from Babouli, didn’t really notice him much at all.

60′ Sub Pappa off, Badji on.  Good, Pappa’s been very good tonight.

61′ Badji with a header from a cross, On target but quite slow, Irwin able to get down and save it.

63′ – Cross comes in, Irwin makes a save from a header at the near post, ball then popped over Irwin, then headed over the bar from just beneath it. Close.

64′ – Closer: From the corner, header hits the post and out. Woof.

70′ – Moor with a shocking giveaway. Leads to a shot that Irwin does well to save.

71′- Osorio and Powers in a challenge, Osorio went down hurt, Cronin kept playing, shot deflected wide. Corner caught by Irwin.  Osorio’s fine, got up no problem eventually.

72′ – Sub: Gashi off, Conor Doyle on

74′ Burch shoots, Irwin gets down and pushes it wide. Follow up cross deflected over bar for a corner.  Burling cleanly wins the header, but puts it wide.

76′- Sub: Perquis off, Morgan on. Presumably Morrow to CB.

80′ – Badji has a run and a shot, but well wide.

81′ quick throw gets giovinco into the box, wide and right on the goal line, crosses to Altidore who gets bundled fairly off the ball, chance lost.  Morgan’s very forward here, looks like we’ve gone 3 at the back.

82′ – Yellow Card – Doyle for a very soft foul, tugging at Bradley, who fell over very easily.

83′ – Azira off, Serna on.

83′ Chance for a break kind of wasted by Altidore’s lack of control. Gets ball back runs into a rapids player, wins a free kick, just outside box, very wide.  Giovinco pulls it back to top of box, Johnson shoots. Blocked. TFC want handball, not given, would have been incredibly harsh. Hit the guys arm, but right at his side and no way of avoiding it.

85′ – Altidore almost gets a chance but very good tackle puts it out for a corner.  Giovinco goes on a run into box, his cross is blocked for another corner.  Crossed into box, shot blocked and eventually cleared.

87′ – Couple more dangerous crosses in, but don’t come to anything.

88′ – Serna in a lot of space, shot saved by Irwin.

89′ Rapids getting a lot of space now and chances coming with that. Doyle takes too long and Beitashour able to get out and deflect his shot.

3 minutes of injury time.

90+2′ Giovinco wins fee kick, central, 30 yards out.  Gets it over wall, just too high.

90+3′ Giovinco gets in to box, but crowded out, and then ref blows for full time.

Full Time : Crapids 1 Reds O

Man of the Match : Marco Pappa was consistently dangerous, so I’ll go with him.

Goat of the Game : Benoit Cheyrou. First was definitely a yellow, second on it’s own was probably a yellow, bit harsh to give a second yellow for that, but very dumb of Cheyrou to go in like that right after his first booking.

Ref Rating : 3.5/5. Some TFC fans/media personalities seem to think he was the big talking point and it was yet another outrage. It wasn’t.  He was ok, perhaps a bit too free with the cards at times, but nothing crazy. TFC weren’t screwed by the ref here. 

I Am Not The Gaffer, But… : Difficult to say what could be done differently after the red card. Kept the defensive/midfield shape by bringing Osorio on. Didn’t excessively go for it until Morgan came on, which is good timing I think. After that, either side could have scored plenty.

In Case You PVR’d It : Watch the first 20 minutes for the big moments, skip the rest of the first half, watch the 2nd.

Well, the first half just wasn’t getting going at all was it? Pappa was dropping back a lot and thus had the time to be able to play some dangerous balls behind the defence. Ideally they’d have found a way for the midfield to stop that from happening, but with ten men it’s hard to be too critical of that. Not a great game for Moor really, had one horrendous giveaway, and Colorado were winning way too many headers in the box from corners and as the main defensive organisey guy, that’s on him. Rapids did a good job on Giovinco, he looked dangerous but they always had plenty of guys there to help out and more or less kept him under control.   Looked better when they switched to panicky ‘go for it’ mode than the did against the Sporks so that’s something.  Babouli didn’t really have a great impact on the game did he? Nice for him to get the start, but hasn’t really justified the excitement for him yet. Probably worst game of the season so far all in all, though hardly disastrous.

Player ratings : Irwin 8.5, Beitashour 6.5, Perquis 6 (Morgan N/A), Moor 5.5, Morrow 6, Johnson 6, Bradley 5, Cheyrou 3, Babouli 5 (Altidore 6, Giovinco 6.5, Lovitz 5.5 (Osorio 6)

Author: Duncan Fletcher

Blogging journeyman formerly of Cruel Geography and Waking the Red, also briefly with Sportsnet and every now and then with the Guardian. As a supporter of Darlington, TFC, England and Canada, football's been unfair and poking fun at Duncan for decades now, so it's only fair he does the same right back at it. Follow him on twitter @duncandfletcher

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  1. Tough call on Cheyrou’s aerial play on the ball. Coaches are taught to to teach approaches on headers to raise the arms, to provide additional upward momentum and to provide protection. Cheyrou DID also got his head on the ball, WINNING the ball.

    Solignac, was most definitely offside. FIFA’s states, “Consideration should be given to any part of the head,
    body or feet of the attacker in relation to the second last defender”. As I keep saying the difference between PRO level ARs and youth level is non-existent. MLS can hire a good youth level AR for a lot less money. The PRO level ARs are proving themselves to be poor week after week.

    Post a Reply
    • I’ve seen angles that ‘definitively prove’ he was on or offside. It was certainly very close, so I wouldn’t be putting it in a ‘referees are so terrible, look at this blunder’ file by any means.
      As fpr the second yellow, if it had been a first yellow, I doubt anyone would have been comlaining too much, much like people didn’t really complain too much about most of the other single yellows, even if some were soft.
      I can understand why some people want to make it all about the referees, whether it’s vanney wanting to distract form an overall poor performance, or take pressure off his players or himself, or even just trying to influence refs hoping for more favourable decisions in the future, that’s part of the job that all managers do at different times . I can understand why some media want to push it, so they can be at the centre of a big clickbaity shitstorm, good for the numbers to try and keep fans riled up.
      They’re doing their job, it’s a hate the game not the players kind of thing, but i don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing for the team, the league or the game as a whole really. and the fans are starting to come off as crazy whiners so far, though that’s probably true of almost all fanbases.

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      • Not complaining about the red, but really that is how you are coached for those headers.

        Vanney needs to get support for Seba and Altidore is going have to heal and get better.

        Now can Vanney reach the lofty 8 point goal? It was a cakewalk after the first game.

        Post a Reply
        • good question. not an easy schedule ahead by any means. the 4 goals conceded is a very welcome stat. the 4 scored is a bit worrisome, how things change to get a bit of attack going, and how altidore is integrated will be very interesting.

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  2. Minor point, Burling carrying a yellow hauled Giovinco down from behind, about 30 yards out of the Rapids goal at the 87 or 88th minute. Referee Elfath opted not card and eject Burling, which in this game is obviously inconsistent officiating.

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    • could have been a yellow for sure. you can play that game many times in any individual game from either side I’m sure though.

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  3. “I’ve seen angles that ‘definitively prove’ he was on or offside.”

    In real time from any angle, Solignac was sitting about 2 yds offside on the build up to the play. The TFC backline fell back and only put his feet and ankles onside, which in every referee clinic I have been to, you are offside including your feet as the opposition cannot put you onside by dropping back. Add to this that PRO through the first 3 weeks, called plays where players were receiving balls in onside territory but had wandered back from offside positions, where they were then whistled offside. In this situation the only thing that slo-mo replays revealed is the AR was watching the game, instead of watching his offside line. This is a something that is driven home even in youth soccer, don’t watch the game, watch your line.

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    • Sorry, but it did feel better to rant – at least until next week. 🙂

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