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Game Recap: Colorado Rapids 2, Minnesota United 2

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In an upbeat, back-and-forth match, the Rapids pay for their mistakes, while MLS newcomers Minnesota score a surprising road draw.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

You’d have to go back all the way to April 23, 2016 to the last time a Rapids home game featured four goals - the Rapids beat Seattle 3 to 1 on that night. But it happened again, as Colorado and Minnesota United ended up the night with a 2-2 draw. It was Minnesota’s first points in their young MLS history.

Dominique Badji opened the scoring for Colorado in the 17th minute. Minnesota midfielder Rasmus Schuller played an ill-advised pass backwards to Francisco Calvo, who couldn’t control the ball. Badji gathered in the loose ball and slotted it past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to open the scoring. Minnesota nearly converted on a similar Rapids defensive miscue. In the 35th minute, Jared Watts played a pass backwards wide of Tim Howard. Howard corralled it, but then passed it directly into the path of a pressing Johan Venegas, who crossed to a wide open Schuller. Schuller knocked his shot over the crossbar, and the Rapids would make it to halftime up 1-0.

Shortly after the break, disaster would strike. With Minnesota in possession, Collen Warner received a perfect pass from Ibsen, who laid it off for Kevin Molino and made a run. Molino served the 1-2 pass to the left side of the box and Rapids right back Mekeil Williams pulled him down. Whistle. Penalty kick. Molino converted, and the score stood 1-1.

Although the Rapids threatened again in the 54th with a shot followed by a dangerous corner kick, Minnesota scored again on Colorado. In the 58th minute, some clever combination play down the right flank resulted in a sharp, low cross from right back Jerome Thiessen right to the head of striker Christian Ramirez, streaking to the near post. 2-1, Minnesota.

That lead lasted all of 90 seconds. Marc Burch, who was the starting catalyst for a huge number of the Rapids attacks on the left wing on the night, bent in a perfect cross to the far post, where the Minnesota defense had forgotten to mark not one but two Rapids wingers: Badji and Hairston. Marly got his head to the ball first and knocked it past the keeper to level the match.

(Brief meta-question pause; wow it sure is different doing a recap filled with goals rather than finding new ways to describe the Rapids grinding down their opponents in midfield for a 1-0 win. You may now resume your regularly scheduled recap.)

Dillon Serna checked in for a tiring Shkelzen Gashi at 61’, and Minnesota United would make two switches at 69’, including bringing on 2017 MLS SuperDraft first pick Abu Danladi for his first MLS appearance. Shortly thereafter, a rough tackle on Marlon Hairston by Minnesota left back Justin Davis was judged to be a red card offense, and the Loons were down to 10 men. The Rapids would bring on Alan Gordon soon after, and then Bismark Adjei-Boateng would see the pitch for the first time as a member of the Colorado Rapids in the 82nd.

Nana Boateng was yanked down soon after while dribbling across the top of the 18-yard box. Dillon Serna took the free kick from 20 yards out, but shanked it high. The Rapids would have the bulk of possession for the final 10 minutes. Dillon Serna served in two dangerous balls that nearly found the goal. The first was at 88’ off a corner from the right side of the field and found Kevin Doyle at the near post, who headed it wide left. The second, from the run of play, found Alan Gordon lurking at the back post, but Gordon’s foot couldn’t guide the ball in on target.

On the night, Minnesota surely were the luckier team, scoring 2 goals on only 2 shots on target (out of 7), while the Rapids were a little more careless with their 11 shots. For a Minnesota team that have been outscored 11-2 over their last two matches, an away draw that finished with 10 men can only be seen as a huge success for them.

Colorado will have to start worrying that their defense has suddenly gone from league-best to league-average without Axel Sjoberg as well as Eric Miller. They’ll have a long international break layoff to figure out what went wrong in this one, and how to get it right, before their next match.