It's always fun when you get a game like the one the Rapids played on Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union. It was expected to be a shootout because of the lackluster Rapids road form and the double-lackluster Union back line, and it delivered on that promise. Both sides will probably head to the locker room thinking they could have done better, but it's the Rapids who are the happier side after a 3-3 draw that featured a surprising comeback from the road side.
One issue the Rapids have had all season is a lack of finishing touch early in games. You remember early on in the year, the Rapids had every single match end 0-0 at the half, and then when teams finally did start scoring on the Rapids earlier, they couldn't find ways to respond. Unfortunately, this was another such performance; despite a few great chances early on, there was nothing nicking the twine for the Rapids. Deshorn Brown started slowly, as did a few of the other attacking players. Ultimately, it wasn't them that we needed to be worried about, though.
The defensive performance from the 'block of four' in the back (Nick Labrocca, Jared Watts, Drew Moor, Shane O'Neill) was absolutely horrendous for the first 75 minutes or so of the match, and it showed in the goals that were scored by the Union. The first few minutes of the game, despite some decent attacking chances, also featured some near disasters by O'Neill and Moor in the back, including a terrible pass by Moor that forced O'Neill into a last-ditch tackle. He'll probably be hearing from the MLS Disciplinary Committee next week about it. Conor Casey, as the script demanded, was the first to draw blood against his former team with a classic Conor Casey goal. (Parked at the post, waited for a cross near him, held off his defender wonderfully in order to craft an easy finish. The man is still one of the best at what he does.)
Only two minutes after the Casey goal, the Rapids found a shocker of an equalizer. Dillon Serna was the goalscorer, hooking up with Dillon Powers on a nice sequence outside the box. Unfortunately, that wasn't the spark that the Rapids needed, and they allowed the Union to take over the game for a stretch, ending in a goal in the 31st minute for Sheanon Williams off a corner kick.
It looked like the game wasn't going to get much better for the Rapids after they opened the second half a lot slower than any of us would have liked. It looked like it was over in the 74th minute when Watts committed an awful turnover in his own half and then failed to recover before Andrew Wenger found the back of the net. 3-1 with 15 minutes left seemed a nearly impossible mountain to climb.
Fortunately, Watts was able to atone for his sins with a run into the box only four minutes after the goal that ended in a boot to his face. Michael Lahoud was sent off for the infringement and the Rapids got a penalty, which Dillon Powers cooly slotted away. At 3-2 and with Carlos Alvarez, Marlon Hairston and Gabriel Torres subbed in, the Rapids were ready to attack without restraint, and attack they did.
In the end, it was Deshorn Brown who appeared out of nowhere to finally equalize the game for good in the 86th minute. Even better, it was Torres, coming back from a long stretch of no play, who got the assist. Does this mean a return to the XI for the DP? We'll see against Portland next time. Until then, we can bask in the glory of a two-goal comeback and a very good point on the road.