The Colorado Rapids can rest easy after tonight. With 45 points after defeating FC Dallas at home, they have almost certainly guaranteed themselves a playoff spot, especially if they can snag at least one more point out of their last two matches against Vancouver Whitecaps and Real Salt Lake. In what was probably the biggest result of the season for Colorado, they also picked up their first result against a Top 4 team, losing all their other matches against Dallas, Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy until tonight.
In what was a chippy match - aren't all Dallas vs. Colorado games slaughterhouses by the time they're over? - the Rapids managed to pull out a close 1-0 match even after getting knocked down to ten men after Miguel Comminges got red carded later in the second half.In front of a mid-size crowd at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the Rapids sent out a squad that was easily the most talented group sent out by the Rapids since perhaps July, when both Brian Mullan and Jamie Smith last played together on the Rapids wings. The two of them playing again together made an instant impact, as Rapids fans had perhaps had enough time to forget the immense chemistry they put together with Jamie providing offensive flair and Brian creating defensive stops.
With both the Rapids and Dallas on skids of draws and losses - though the Rapids technically had broken the all competitions part of their streak when they defeated Isidro Metapan in CCL 3-1 back on Wednesday - you got the feeling that both teams were going to push early and try and snag something for themselves and that feeling was proved correct as both teams played recklessly at the start working to move the ball forward.It didn't result in much for either team as the recklessless rarely turned to chances but turnovers were happening all over.
The Rapids finally struck first after the the game finally started to settle down in the 25th minute. A corner earned by the Rapids was sent in from Sanna Nyassi's foot right to an unmarked Drew Moor's head, getting the defender his fourth goal of the season, which have interestingly all come on set pieces. (When we get a free kick he will scooore scooore scooore indeed!)
Up until the 74th minute Miguel Comminges had been playing very brightly in his second league start for the Rapids but his performance was marred by a red card after being handed a second yellow for a tough challenge on Zach Loyd, knocking him out of the game and by default the Real Salt Lake derby match as well.
Though Brek Shea and Martin Chavez had both caused problems within the Rapids defense all game and both very often came close to breaking through after the red card was issued, the defense with Tyrone Marshall inserted for Jamie Smith was able to hold themselves strong and play a high possession game near the end to hold of Dallas' final attacks and preserve the 1-0 lead.
The Rapids next play rivals Real Salt Lake at DSGP on October 14th for the Rocky Mountain Cup. After finally getting some playoff assurance with the win tonight, they can feel free to settle themselves down and play their game without any need for jitters, which should make the match one of the most entertaining of the year, as RSL-Rapids matches always tend to be.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Drew Moor. And isn't he always? Another brilliant game from the Rapids best player.
GOAT OF THE MATCH - Omar Cummings. Another invisible game for the supposed 'star' of the Rapids, filled with missed shots, turnovers and moves too cheeky for his own good. It's gotten to the point where even Caleb Folan is starting to look like a better nightly option.