The Colorado Rapids started out slow, and then more or less comfortably dominated the first half. The second half was
a little a lot more interesting, with an ejection, goals, and all kinds of excitement.
It all started in the 8th minute when Sam Cronin booted a sweet pass over the top to Marlon Hairston, who got blasted by David Ousted but managed to get it over to Dominique Badji. Badji had a wide open net, and the Burgundy Boys went up 1-0 early in the first half. The Ousted foul was outside the 18, and should have been a red card, but the ref said nothing. Check it out here if you missed it.
The Rapids didn’t let up from there, and shortly after had a shot blocked and then another off the crossbar.
After the initial 15-20 minutes, there was more back and forth. Vancouver had a couple shots in the 35th minute that were easy for Tim Howard to scoop up.
Unfortunately, the ref had some serious missed calls until he gave Michael Azira a yellow card in the 39th minute. Azira will be out next week against the Portland Timbers (unless we are wrong again).
In the second half, neither team made any changes, but the referee, Baldomero Toledo, continued to impact the game by missing calls. Kendall Waston pushed Marlon Hairston down as Marly and the ball went out of bounds. Instead of giving a foul to Waston, he gave Vancouver a corner kick, and Waston scores. Should the defense have done better? Of course. But the corner kick should never happened in the first place.
In an exciting turn of events, Vancouver got Toledo’ed when the ref gave Waston a red card for a foul on Badji in the box in the 56th minute (which may have actually started outside the box, but it was a clean breakaway, so... karma). Gashi found the back of the net for his 6th goal of the season, putting the Rapids back up 2-1, with Vancouver finishing the game with 10 men.
So you would think, well that’s a wrap, right? WRONG. In anything-can-happen Rapids games, some sloppy defending led to another goal, this time by Pedro Morales, in the 70th minute. 2-2 game.
And then (AND THEN!) Hairston earned a free kick about 30 yards out. Gashi steps up and curves it around a wall that was about as good as my rec soccer team sets up. He curled it into the upper corner and Ousted didn’t have a chance. I’m calling it now—Goal of the Week.
You could feel the desperation from Vancouver, and they really brought it. Power and Hairston went out, with Marco Pappa and Sebastien Le Toux subbing in. The final sub in the 89th minute was Mekeil Williams for the goal-scoring Gashi. Clearly the Rapids were packing it in for the last few minutes.
Just before the stoppage time, Vancouver tried to catch Howard off his line with a chip, but he got big and made the save. The Whitecaps did get a corner kick from his effort, and Le Toux may have saved the goal himself.
Everyone was so close to declaring the win, and the defense broke down again. The defense failed to clear the ball, a cross got in and Erik Hurtado got a head on it. It deflected off the crossbar, hit Marc Burch, and got past Howard in 90+3’. Marcelo Balboa took it back to Pappa losing the ball and fouling the player. Agreed. He should have been playing hold up soccer, not trying to be fancy and move around the player.
But no matter whose fault it was, the Rapids got just one point today, when they were thisclose to grabbing three.
Howard walks out without saying a word or shaking a hand. That pretty much sums up how we all feel right now.