Tonight was Fan Appreciation Night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and our Colorado Rapids certainly gave the crowd something to appreciate—a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake. It was back on April 15th when the Rapids, up comfortably 1-0 in the 80th minute, gave up two late goals to Real Salt Lake to lose the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup and saw their home winning streak snapped. A case could be made that it was here the season went off the rails.
The Rapids jumped ahead early when, in the 4th minute, Alan Gordon provided a cheeky back heel to Joshua Gatt, who then slotted home the go-ahead goal. That was one of two shots the Rapids had on goal, holding only 28% of the possession. Thus, Real Salt Lake had plenty of possession and plenty of opportunities to equalize, attempting 30 shots.
The Rapids’ defense was as stout as ever, blocking 15 of those 30 shots. In the first half, Marlon Hairston could make his claim for Man of the Match. He covered Tim Howard twice in preventing goals, and cleared (from my count) three from free kicks and corners. Tim Howard had seven saves and played stellar in goal.
The concern is the injuries: Dominique Badji had to be subbed out for Mike da Fonte (68’), and Alan Gordon was subbed off for Dillon Serna (72’). The Serna substitution paid off when he gained the ball on a counter (70’) and either tried to score or tried to thread the ball on a cross to Gatt far post, juuuust missing an opportunity for Gatt’s third goal against RSL this season. A nice moment took place when a Rapids trainer and RSL’s Joao Plata helped Gordon off to the sideline. If anyone captured that moment, please share via Twitter or in the comments section.
In the 83’, Marlon Hairston (a bit gimpy himself) was subbed off for Bobby Burling, quite possibly his last time in MLS and one would imagine his last time in a Colorado Rapids uniform. His insertion into the lineup gave the Rapids an enormous backline, joining Axel Sjoberg and Kortne Ford. I and all other Colorado Rapids fans wish Bobby Burling nothing but the best in the days ahead.
The fans went home happy not just for the win against our archrival, but also for how this win hurt RSL’s playoff chances. They are now one point behind San Jose Earthquakes and FC Dallas.
The Rapids finished this underwhelming 2017 campaign against at CenturyLink Field against Seattle Sounders FC (Sunday at 2:00 pm MT on Altitude). Should the Rapids win and Minnesota United FC lose, the Rapids would finish in 9th place. Small consolation, I know, but that’s better than dwelling in the basement.
What were your favorite takeaways from tonight’s match? Leave a message in the comments section or on Twitter.