If you could imagine the worst possible outcomes from a game, you still probably wouldn’t have come up with the results of Tuesday’s US Open Cup round of 16 matchup between FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids.
Sure, Colorado lost 3-1, and is out of the tournament once again, having never in club history won the Lamar Hunt trophy. But that ain’t the half of it, sister.
For starters, Dallas’ video production crew was incapable of getting a functioning stream up until the very end of the first half. Fans at home could only listen in to Conor MacGahey’s radio call until the issues were fixed, and although MacGahey calls a great game, it was hard to enjoy while enduring the frustration of trying to refresh the page over and over again.
When the feed finally started working, Rapids fans were treated to a rash tackle from behind from Bismark Adjei-Boateng, followed by a Mauro Diaz penalty kick.
But wait, it got worse.
Colorado saw no fewer than three regular starters limp off the pitch. Axel Sjoberg seemed to re-injure his hamstring in the 20th minute. Dillon Powers went off with some kind of groin injury in the 34th minute. And late in the game, Shkelzen Gashi went to the bench limping gingerly, looking to have hurt perhaps his left foot, possibly another re-injury as well.
And to top that off, they lost Kortne Ford near the game’s conclusion to a second yellow card. The Rapids finished the night with only 9 men on the field.
Both teams played a fairly open and aggressively attacking match, but in the end it was Dallas that had sharper passing in the final third, and were frequently challenging Zac MacMath from close range. Were it not for at least three excellent saves from MacMath, the match might have ended with 5 or 6 Dallas goals. On the other end, Chris Seitz wasn’t nearly as taxed on the night. I’d recount official stats to you, but the MLS site erroneously says that Zac MacMath had zero saves on the night, which, uh, wow, no.
Right at the beginning of the half, the Rapids leapt back into the match as Caleb Calvert tapped a short pass to Micheal Azira, who uncorked a laser along the ground and right into the back of the net for his first ever goal in MLS competition.
The match didn’t stay tied for long. Just 9 minutes later in the 57th minute, Dallas had a throw-in deep in the Rapids end. Dallas’ 18-year-old homegrown Reggie Cannon received the ball and dribbled past Mekeil Williams on the right side, putting a screaming cross across the ground and to the far post, where Ryan Hollingshead tapped it home. Dallas 2, Rapids 1.
The Rapids had a few more bursts on the goal, but nothing threatening resulted. Gashi came up limping after a solid shot somewhere between the 75th and the 80th minute, and made his way to the bench. Playing down a man, Colorado staved off several attacks in which Dallas had multiple players in the box with good looks at goal. MacMath came up with saves in the 82nd and 86th to keep the game alive, but Ford’s foul just outside the box at the 89th and subsequent sending off was the death rattle of the team’s hopes. From 26 yards out, dead-ball specialist Javier Morales put one through a spot in the wall that was cleverly vacated moments earlier by Miguel Barrios. Zac MacMath clearly didn’t see the ball until too late, and it bounced off his hand and into the goal, sealing Colorado’s fate at 3-1.
The Rapids showed a lot of fight in this match, but succumbed due to injury and some shaky defending, as Ford’s fouls and Williams’ errors (I counted no fewer than four) doomed the squad. The disappointment of exiting the US Open is significant. But if this match results in extended absences for Sjoberg, Powers, and Gashi, it’ll be remember as more of a calamity and catastrophe than a disappointment.