As expected, Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni mixed up the starting XI and we saw yet another completely different backline. The only regular starters tonight were Tim Howard, Eric Miller, Michael Azira, and Kevin Doyle. With Mohammed Saeid and Bobby Burling’s injuries, Shkelzen Gashi still being out, and all of the games in such a short period of time, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see guys like Dennis Castillo, Mike da Fonte, Dillon Serna, and Caleb Calvert starting.
The Rapids came out strong and Caleb Calvert got a shot early. Colorado kept the pressure on for a couple minutes, but after that, Atlanta dominated most of the half. The Burgundy Boys’ best chance came in the 39th minute when Dillon Serna took a strike, but hit the crossbar. Atlanta came down the field and had a couple chances, but luckily nothing came of it, and both teams ended the half with one shot on goal each.
At the end of the half, the Rapids had a mere 24.4% possession, but a couple of Atlanta’s biggest players (like Yamil Asad and Josef Martinez) were mostly irrelevant.
In the second half, Atlanta came out strong, making Howard work. Around the 55th minute, Howard did a poor job of distributing the ball, and Atlanta took advantage of it. The ball got to Martinez, who dribbled it in and Howard came up with the big save. Just a few minutes later, Mekeil Williams overcommitted and Da Fonte played for a pass instead of a shot and Martinez got one past Timmy in the 67th minute to put Atlanta up 1-0.
The Rapids had a really good chance in the first minute of stoppage time when Marlon Hairston took off down the field and tried to feed the ball through but the defense got to it. But after that, Atlanta was relentless. In the fifth minute of stoppage time, the Rapids got a corner kick. Bismark Adjei-Boateng had a powerful header, and it went right at Kann. The ref blew the whistle and that was it.
Coming in to this game, Williams and Azira were both at risk of yellow card accumulation. Azira had a couple plays that were risky, but he did hit Miguel Almiron in the neck. It looked like he was going to make contact with his chest, but got it a little high. The ref called a foul, but after a Disciplinary Committee review, I would bet Azira will be out next weekend.