With four games in 11 days, it’s no surprise that Pablo Mastroeni mixed up the starting XI, leaving regular starters Dillon Powers and Eric Miller on the bench. With Kortne Ford, Axel Sjoberg, and Jared Watts all back from injuries, Mastroeni got them all on the field by pushing Watts up to defensive midfield.
The Colorado Rapids had a couple chances early. In the 8th and 9th minute, Dominique Badji got a couple shots: one clear shot that a defender blocked, and the other a rebound header from Kevin Doyle that he just couldn’t get anything on.
In the 18th minute, Sebastian Blanco dribbled into the box against Marlon Hairston, shook Michael Azira and took the shot to the far post. Tim Howard didn’t even get a chance to go after it, and Portland went up 1-0.
Axel Sjoberg had a chance off a corner in the 26th minute after Jake Gleeson whiffed on the punch, but headed it up and over the goal. Doyle also had a decent opportunity shortly after, but headed it wide.
Again, the Rapids were playing the we-don’t-care-if-you-have-60%-possession game, but they were going to have to work to get back into this one.
Per usual, there were no changes to start the second half. Early in, Portland got a corner kick and Fanendo Adi shoved down Axel Sjoberg to get a clear shot. The push wasn’t called, but luckily Adi shanked it over the goal.
Then in the 52nd minute, Doyle slotted a beauty of a pass into Badji, who took a couple dribbles and chipped Gleeson to tie it up 1-1. The Burgundy Boys didn’t let up from there, and kept the pressure on. Colorado almost got another goal from a blast of a header from Doyle, but Gleeson came up with the big save. The Rapids kept attacking and ended up with 13 shots, five on goal, with two shots coming from Doyle and Badji each.
Alan Gordon subbed in for Joshua Gatt in the 80th minute. In the 89th minute, Mo Saeid curled the ball in to Gordo and connected for an amazing header to put the Rapids up 2-1 with three minutes of extra time left.
And the Rapids held on to win their fifth game at home (including the US Open Cup), and third comeback in a row (also including the US Open Cup).
Whatever Pablo is saying to them at halftime, it’s working...but maybe he should start saying those things at the beginning of the game? The second half Rapids were exciting to watch - imagine if we could have that all game?