Written by: Ian Campbell – Pictures courtesy
Well that was quick. In the third minute of Friday’s game against Seattle, Brian Mullan put the Rapids down a man with a reckless challenge on Steve Zakuani. Zakuani was stretchered off with his leg in an air cast, so it seemed fairly serious. Because the stadium didn’t show any replays, we could only assume it was gruesome, and Youtube was able to confirm that later in the evening. I wouldn’t recommend looking up the video if you have a weak stomach. Zakuani underwent emergency surgery in Denver for a broken fibula/tibia and should recover, though the timeline and extent are still unknown. Mullan is expected to receive a suspension for the challenge, but the extent is still unknown.
Unfortunately, the Rapids took an eternity to recover from the initial shock of going down a man in the opening minutes. The entire first half was dominated by Seattle, and the Sounders were able to strike in the 19th on a finish by Fredy Montero. The play found Tyrone Marshall lost in no man’s land, forcing Marvell Wynne to cover two players in the middle of the field, and as he stepped in to Mauro Rosales, Montero was left wide open. With a first-time placement shot from the top of 18-yard box, Montero was able to put the ball between Matt Pickens’ legs for the game’s only goal. Pickens could have done much better with this chance to keep the game tied at 0-0.
The second half started with more of the same for Colorado as they struggled to create scoring chances while still splitting possession with the Sounders. Colorado’s ability to move the ball in the second half never seemed to be affected by playing a man down, which was a far cry from the first half so Gary Smith deserves a tip of the hat for his halftime chalk-talk. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until the subs started coming on in the 65th minute that the game started to get even remotely interesting. Pablo Mastroeni was taken out in favor of Wells Thompson, Tyrone Marshall was replaced by Anthony Wallace, and Jamie Smith was removed for Sanna Nyassi all in the span of 5 minutes. Mastroeni’s extended injury break left him a bit short on fitness, so it was natural to see Thompson come on, though still disheartening to see the captain leave right before the final push for a result.
In the end, the best chances were created by Kosuke Kimura combining with Sanna Nyassi on the right side, yielding a few shots on goal and a few deflections for corners. The shots were generally comfortable saves for Kasey Keller and nothing seemed to really bother the Seattle defense. In the end, the Rapids were not able to overcome Mullan’s red card and couldn’t atone for the defensive collapse. Luckily for fans, we can erase the memory of this disappointment with a home game against the Chicago Fire on April 30th. Chicago is in 8th place in the Eastern Conference after 6 games, so they might just be what the doctor ordered to get Colorado back on track and stop the skid.
Please see all game photo’s at the Denver Post Website: http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2011/04/colorado-rapids-vs-seattle-sounders-april-22-2011/#name%20here