The crosses and chances were there for the Rapids against the Houston Dynamo Saturday night, but the finishing was not. It was a game of missed opportunities for the Rapids, as only one of the team’s 15 shots were on target. While 0-0 draw moved the Rapids into a tie for fifth in the Western Conference, head coach Fernando Clavijo knew his team had squandered a golden opportunity.
“We had five or six very good chances that we didn’t finish,” Clavijo said after the match. “We need more production from different players.”
One player that may see his playing time decreased is Jamaican striker Omar Cummings. Cummings, who has started ten games for the Rapids this season, is likely to get demoted in favor of Conor Casey, who seems to have recovered from a knee injury that left him sidelined for the first two months of the season. Cummings had at least five headers at net against the Dynamo, however, none of them were put on net.
Clavijo mentioned that while Cummings is trying his hardest, the results just aren’t there.
“Omar is working hard, but you need to finish. A striker is measured by his goals,” said Clavijo, who also complimented Casey’s workrate inhis twenty minutes of play.
Look for Casey to start alongside Scotish attacker Tom McManus against the Crew next week. Despite Casey’s return to full strength, the injury bug once again bit the Rapids as midfielders Jacob Peterson and Christian Gomez were taken out due to injury. Peterson was taken out after suffering a knee inury due to a yellow card tackle by Houston defender Craig Waibel, while Gomez was taken out minutes into the second half with an apparent leg injury.
Clavijo felt the referees could have done more to protect the players.
“Gomez was a marked man. I thought the officials were meant to protect skill players, that did not happen in today’s match,” Clavijo said.
While the finishing at the offensive end was below par, the defense at the back played well. Despite only having three defenders at the back, the Rapids had few mistakes during the game. U.S. national team midfielder Pablo Mastroeni looked very comfortable anchoring the back three, where he was accompianed by Ugo Ihemelu and Facundo Erpen. Clavijo called the three, “the best three defenders in the league.”
Wingers Colin Clark and Terry Cook both provided crosses into the box, while a 89th minute header by Clark hit the woodwork and bounced harmlessly away. Expect Cook to return to the starting lineup after Peterson’s injury. The Rapids next take the pitch against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Saturday night.