From the 10th minute to the 75th, the Colorado Rapids dominated the Columbus Crew, racking up double digits in shots. Funny thing, though — they only put a couple of those shots on frame, never seriously testing backup Columbus keeper Andy Gruenebaum aside from the well-taken goal, which left Gruenebaum with no chance.
– Crew sub Kevin Burns nearly earned himself quite a bit of play on SportsCenter tomorrow with a looping header from outside the box that clanged off the right post.
– Burns’ shot was one of three great chances for the Crew, all in the second half. Andy Iro pounded a shot off a corner kick right at Matt Pickens, and Guillermo Barros Schelotto put one well over the net.
– Colorado had three forwards on the bench, a testament to their offensive depth, but Mac Kandji was clearly the wrong call. He didn’t have the defensive poise he needed.
– The Crew defense had all sorts of problems. Frankie Hejduk misplayed several balls. Iro struggled with Omar Cummings, who undid the defense with a diagonal run into space where rookie Shaun Francis probably should’ve been.
– Colorado’s dominance came from the midfield, where Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz ran over Brian Carroll and a rotation of Eddie Gaven and Emmanuel Ekpo in the center. Carroll committed what you might call a frustration foul, sliding very hard into Cummings.
Second-leg projection: It’s 50-50. After the final 20 minutes, Columbus has the momentum. The game is in Columbus. Colorado counters with a one-goal advantage and the best defense of all — a strong offense.