Versatility is a big thing in just about any walk of life, soccer included. In fact, Portland Timbers manager Caleb Porter blames some of his poor years at Portland on his insistence on doing things one way – his way. When the Timbers faced a team that did not allow them to control possession and pressure high, they were done for. There was no plan B.
Thus far into the season, Colorado have shown a couple different ways to take points. It started off with defensive solidity. They were scoring a single goal and winning. It was good for points, but not good for convincing the world that you were for real. Then it turned into the Jermaine Jones show. Let the man do his work and take the points. Again, good for points, but not the best at convincing. Still, it was another facet they could utilize to pull points.
Against Montreal, Colorado showed several more ways to take points. Not only did they go into Montreal’s kitchen and score two goals in a draw, but they did it when playing from behind all game and they did it without Jermaine Jones being at his best.
And there are even more reasons why this game is the final question mark removed from Colorado’s credibility.
Toronto FC came into Montreal and won. That made them the best team in the East, according to some. Colorado did not win, but they showed many more weapons.
The Rapids had not been a very prominent come from behind team. Not at all. Yet, despite facing down Drogba and the whole Impact crew, the Rapids dug in and came back twice.
Then there is the matter of making more with less. It has been perhaps one of Colorado’s most underrated strengths all year. With veteran leaders like Jones, Gashi and Doyle, the Rapids don’t need 20 shots to beat you. No team is averaging more shots on target per match than Colorado. Yet they are right in the middle of the pack when it comes to overall shots fired.
That was true again against Montreal. Despite managing just ten shots, the Rapids put five on target, trumping the three that Montreal put on target from 16 attempted.
Then there is the matter of Shkelzen Gashi. I wrote earlier in the year that Gashi would justify that DP tag. This may have been the match where he turned the corner. With Jones dominating the past few matches, Gashi stepped up and ran the show. He created more chances than anyone else (3). He had the most shots on target and he tied for the most overall shots. He was also tied for the team lead in touches and was not dispossessed a single time.
Shkelzen Gashi had himself a game. Any lingering doubters of the Rapids had to be put to bed after seeing how well they performed against Montreal.