Obama Applauds Rapids After 4-1 Thumping

Richard Terry
Jun 30th 2011

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On Monday, June 27th, President Barrack Obama welcomed the Colorado Rapids to the White House. Unfortunately, it came a day after Colorado were humiliated at Columbus Crew Stadium by a score of 4-1 in favor of the fighting canaries. The Rapids had a dream start after Conor Casey headed them in front inside six minutes from a Jamie Smith cross. However, some dreadful passing within the defensive third and a straight red card to Conor Casey for a nasty slide tackle on GK Will Hesmer allowed the Crew to take a 2-1 halftime lead.

The Second half included a dreadful start for the visitors as defender Kosuke Kumura misjudged a defensive clearance and gave Andrs Mendoza a clean breakaway as the Peruvian claimed his second goal of the match. The Rapids were unable to keep one more out of goal as Tommy Heinemann scored from a fortunate bounce off Tyrone Marshalls clearance that added the fourth and final goal of the match. The head referee even blew the final whistle when the scoreboard clock (not official) still had 5 seconds to go until the full 90 minutes.

Colorado manager Gary Smith described himself as "shell-shocked" after the match. With the loss, Colorado exits a relatively simple month of June (only four matches played) to an extremely busy July that includes seven league matches over the course of the month.

Colorado is a mediocre 5-5-7 at the halfway point of the season. Injuries have plagued the Rapids while star forward Conor Casey and Irish international Caleb Folan have had suspension troubles. The CONCACAF Champions League is also on the horizon and all eyes will be on the Rocky Mountain club as they look to advance from the group stage of top regional tournament of North and Central America, and the Caribbean.

Coming back to Barrack Obamas speech to the Rapids, the most powerful leader within the free world described the club as a "Mini United Nations," and openly congratulated Pablo Mastroeni for playing 13 seasons before winning an MLS Cup Title with the Rapids. Obama also individually praised some of the players for their personal accomplishments; Conor Casey, Omar Cummings, Mac Kandji, Kosuke Kimura, and Wells Thompson all were mentioned by the Commander and Chief.

Another big deal about the Rapids visit to the White House was the fact that owner Stan Kroenke was in attendance. The American business entrepreneur normally makes the headlines with Arsenal FC and his attempts to become the largest shareholder within the famed London club. However, Stan stood in the front row and was quite conspicuous as his grey suit was much lighter than everyone elses.

Kroenke and Rapids managing director Jeff Plush gifted the President with a Colorado Rapids jersey that had #10 on the back and Obamas name as well. Obama stated "Me and Messi" after the jersey was presented to him (in reference to the fact that Lionel Messi wears #10 and is a fantastic leader of FC Barcelona and Argentina).

After the formal address, the Rapids took part in a clinic for children of military families on the White House Lawn. It would prove to be a memorable day for the players and staff to meet the President of the United States. However, the Rapids look to overturn a two-game losing streak in which the club has been outscored by a margin of 7-2. Colorado will welcome Houston Dynamo to Dicks Sporting Goods Park on Sunday, July 3, with a chance to stay on the heals of fourth-place Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference standings.

BSG member Richard Terry writes for Global Football Today, please visit his blog at http://colorado.globalfootballtoday.com.