Drew Moor and Sam Cronin trampled hometown grass at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday night, representing the Rapids against Tottenham Hotspur in the second half of the MLS All-Star game.
“It was great,” said Cronin, the Rapids midfielder added to the roster on Tuesday. “We could’ve played a little better in the second half, but the experience was great. Just to be a part of the game was a blast, and we got a win, which was most important. We’re all leaving happy.”
Both Colorado players entered the game to start the second half, and both admitted that the workout started immediately against one of the BPL’s top teams. “I realized when the final whistle blew how tired I really was,” admitted Moor in front of his locker. “You play against Tottenham, and that’s bound to happen. It was only 45 minutes, but it felt like 90 minutes.”
Holding a 2-1 lead at the break, the All-Stars switched the entire 11, slotting Moor in at right back and Cronin in his customary defensive-midfield position.
Moor played alongside Seattle centerback, and childhood teammate, Chad Marshall. The two of them wound up dealing with Spurs striker Harry Kane and midfielder Nacer Chadli more than they would have liked, according to Moor. “We defended desperate at times, but we did what we had to do,” Moor explained. “[Marshall] is a big strong guy. He wanted me to take care of everything outside, and he would take care of everything inside, and I thought we did a good job of it. That’s the key when you play in games like this. You’re not necessarily familiar with each other. You have to talk the whole time. Communication is key. I still don’t think we communicated as well as we probably could have, but it was a quick week, and Tottenham are a quality side.”
Head coach Pablo Mastroeni was glad to see the grit of his two players and the entire All-Star group to finish the match. “The second half was a tough start to it. But to be fair, when life gives you lemons, you’ve got to add some sugar and make lemonade. They did a good job defending in the beginning,” the ex-All-Star player noted, recognizing Kane and company were a handful the entire night.
“That attack is very dynamic and very dangerous,” Mastroeni said. “For the better part of the second half they held up to a lot of pressure to find a way to keep it 0-0 in the second half, which is a big part of the result.”
Kane and Chadli were able to work inside the All-Star penalty area, but Moor and his mates did a good job pressuring them into off-target shots or missed opportunities. “[Kane] showed his quality in the first half. I just don’t think he did too much in the second half. I was happy the way we matched up against him,” Moor said.
“We had a tough time getting out and getting ahold of the ball,” Cronin said. “So it was important that we just stayed solid. We didn’t let them create too many chances. David [Ousted] made a couple of saves, but for the most part they just went side-to-side. We did OK, but in a game like that you want to be on the ball more and enjoy attacking soccer.”
So, despite being completely worn out, Moor appreciated the entire experience to the fullest.
“It was special to have support like that,” Moor acknowledged. “The home fans have been incredible all week. From the time that I found out, social media has been unbelievable, and it made this extra special for me. I want to do it here every year.”