This was a slow game. Not in the sense that it lacked action or scoring or shots or saves or dribbles or lunging tackles. It had all that.
Nonetheless. It seemed as if time moved a bit slower, the seconds ticked down differently. Each moment felt like a discrete segment of the broader whole. The sum total of parts was broken out this game into a million tiny little pieces. I noticed little things in infinite detail, moment by moment. The crowd noise; the angles formed by the railings at the corner of the pitch; flags fluttering in section 117; the smell of the mini-donuts stand behind section 123. Time slowed down. Senses were sharper. Little jokes with the other folks in the press box were tinged with melancholy. I wanted everything to last a little bit longer. And so, in a sort of magical way, it did.
Tonight was my last night as a writer or a fan on the Colorado Rapids. At least as a local reporter, anyways. My family and I are moving on to Pittsburgh. As I am already a sentimental sort of person who cries easily and feels deeply and probably cares about this team too much, this experience of a last game was a bit of sensory overload. But in a good way.
I took it all in and enjoyed every second. I stopped in to visit friends all over the stadium. I shook a lot of hands and gave a lot of hugs. I did decided to restrain myself from giving Tim Howard a big ol’ bear hug during the post game interview, lest security end my night with the full blast of a taser gun.
I’ve been greatly blessed to be a fan of this team for five years, and even more greatly blessed to be in the press box for the past two years. A little hard work and a lot of soccer-watching … a lot … got me the chance to get close to a team in a way that few people get to. Writing was a golden ticket to the Wonka factory of football. And every time I went to the stadium, I knew it, and I didn't ever take it for granted. Oh how blessed I am - how blessed we are - to be a part of this glorious game.
I’m only too thankful to have people read my stuff and tell me that they were enlightened by it or that I helped them understand the game. People told me they were my fans. Me! I just wanted to talk about the game a little more after the final whistle. I'm just happy that folks would engage and share their thoughts with me, and enjoyed the thoughts I could share with them.
I’ll keep reporting on the Rapids from afar for a while while also picking up some other soccer assignments (hopefully). But I will deeply miss my time around the Colorado Rapids. They haven’t been the most successful team in MLS these past five years, and I love them all the same - perhaps more - for that fact.
In the end, tonight was a very good way to end my last game as a fan and a writer.
Oh yeah, also, the Rapids won 2-1 over San Jose.
Starting XICOL - Howard; Castillo, Ford, Smith, Hairston ( N. Jackson 74’); Price, N. Boateng, K. Acosta, E. Martinez (Serna 28’); Nicholson, McBean (Gashi 62’)
SJ - Tarbell; Lima, Kashia, Cummings, Salinas; Hyka, Godoy, Luis Felipe, Eriksson (Wehan 74’), Vako (Jungwirth 87’), Hoesen
First half 11’ Boateng intercepts a ball, passes to Nicholson who dribbles across and drops the ball off with Marlon Hairston. Marly swings in a good cross, but it’s batted away, and the Rapids ensuing corner kick is waived off for goalkeeper interference.
24’ Somewhere on the sidelines, a San Jose coach is screaming his head off. “We literally showed you guys video of the Rapids doing. That. exact. Play.”
On a corner, Kellyn Acosta plays it short to Sam Nicholson. Sam pings it right back to Acosta, who winds up a back-post cross that Tommy Smith heads home. 1-0, Rapids.
27’ Tim Howard is tested by a shot. No idea who.
42’ Shea Salinas dribbles in from the left and hits a ball hard and low at the back post. Tim Howard saves it.
52’ Shot on goal, Howard save
55’ Shot on goal, Howard save
57’ On a free kick, ball comes into Kashia. Kort Ford slides at the ball, Kashia goes down, Alan Kelly points to the spot for a penalty.
58’ PK to Eriksson. Magnus sends Tim Howard the wrong way and buries it, 1-1.
70’ Marlon plays a bad ball in the midfield straight to Vako. Kort Ford pulls him down in a tactical foul to prevent a dangerous break, and earns a card.
75’ Nana Boateng chips a ball over the backline. Niki Jackson gets up and gets his head on it, but it sails high over the bar.
83’ Nana Boateng gets a chance atop the box, and puts it right at Andrew Tarbell for a save.
88’ Shea Salinas gets fired up as Dillon Serna makes a tactical foul. A fight breaks out and theres a lot of pushing and shoving. Salinas gets a straight red, Cummings gets a yellow, Dillon Serna gets a yellow.
90+2 Nana Boateng receives a pass on the left side from Castillo. He dribbles, fakes a shot, takes three more steps, and hits it low and hard into the corner for a goal! 2-1 Rapids.