The Colorado Rapids were on a good route this season. Their offense needed a bit of time to gel, but between a soon-to-be-healthy Kevin Doyle, Shkelzen Gashi and Marco Poppa, they had a great foundation to build off. They were all either picked up this year or last summer though, so again, time was an important factor.
Plus, Colorado had not shown an affinity for scoring goals yet. Their defense was tremendously composed, especially at home, where they have surrendered just one goal all year.
And then came Jermaine Jones. After serving a six game suspension, Jones came into a Rapids team on a good path, waltzed into the drivers seat, took the wheel and pushed the pedal down even further. Instead of feeling his way into the scheme, he elbowed his way into the No. 10 role, pushed Gashi and Poppa out wide and enjoyed the hell out of himself. It was nearly a perfect game for the pirate-like United States international in his inaugural match against the New York Red Bulls.
It never figured to be an easy game. No matter the form that the Red Bulls are in, they still have the same quality they had last year. Plus, the snow made things interesting.
But Jones didn’t care. No doubt that six game layoff wound him up a bit, but stuffing him into the No. 10 role was a fantastic decision by Pablo Mastroeni. He gave his best and strongest player the most important role on the pitch, using him like an adhesive to pull this attack together quick.
It worked to perfection. Jones was man of the match with a goal and an assist. He created more chances than any two players on either team combined. He won more aerial duels than any two players on either team combined. He was tied for the match lead in shots on target. He was second on the team in successful tackles.
To summarize, Jermaine Jones did absolutely everything for the Rapids – a team that was already starting to put together a formidable force.
This is why Colorado went out and obtained Jermaine Jones. The longer this offense has to click, the stronger it will become and Jermaine Jones will always be at the center of that. He saw to that when he grabbed this game by the horns and made it his own. As mentioned, he was the everything player and Mastroeni has already acknowledged that Jones will be used all over the formation from central defense to central attack. He has those capabilities.
This Colorado defense was already formidable, but the offense was proving unable to score more than a goal. They have now scored two goals in each of their past two games. Watch for that to continue to grow.