Stefan Aigner got his first start in Colorado tonight and also scored his first goal to help his team go home with the W. After a red card for each side took the game down to 10 men vs. 10 men, the Colorado Rapids recovered from a rough first half to take advantage of a tired Montreal team late in the game.
The Rapids only had a couple chances in the first half, and one came early. In the 9th minute Dominique Badji got the ball and dribbled up the field. Laurent Ciman slide too soon, Badji went around him and crossed the ball into the box. Josh Gatt missed it.
Shortly after, Jared Watts tackled Chris Duvall while going for the ball. The head ref called a foul, but VAR kicked in and the result was a straight red, taking the Rapids down to 10 men just nine minutes into the game. From the replay, he came flying in studs up and it looked like he got part of the ball, but also part of Duvall’s foot.
In the 32nd minute, Montreal’s Daniel Lovitz got a red card for kneeing Mike da Fonte in the ribs when da Fonte was on the ground. His ejection evened the playing field to 10v10.
The Impact was definitely pressuring the Rapids more than the Rapids were pressuring the Impact, and it resulted in fewer passes and low possession from the Burgundy Boys. When they did have the ball, their passing was terrible. While Montreal was making shorter passes across the field, the Rapids tried long balls to no one and passing it through defenders (which did not work).
In the 4th minute of stoppage time, Marlon Hairston dribbled the ball down and passed it back to Mekeil Williams. Williams crossed it in to Aigner, who got his head on it and the ball kissed the inside of the post and went past Evan Bush, putting the Rapids up 1-0 just before the half. It was Aigner’s first goal as a Colorado Rapid.
There was one sub to start the second half, with Nana Boateng coming in for Mike da Fonte. Things started out much more exciting, with a couple good chances early for the Rapids. Josh Gatt got in a shot from a tough angle in the 59th minute but Bush managed to save it.
Earlier in the half, a penalty in the box was called on Hairston, but VAR went in our favor as the call was (rightfully) reversed.
In the 62nd minute, a strike in the upper right corner of the goal by Matteo Mancosu put the Impact on the board and tied the game 1-1.
Though the passing accuracy and possession numbers didn’t increase much, the Rapids put forth a much better effort in the second 45 minutes.
In the 67th minute, Montreal had a dangerous chance when Anthony Jackson-Hamel took off down the field with the defense behind him. Howard came out just enough to cut down the angle and made a quick-reflex save, pushing the ball to towards the right sideline.
Aigner’s Colorado debut ended in the 72nd minute, when Alan Gordon came on. The Gordo/Gatt match-up wasn’t really working, as Gatt is super fast and put in two great passes, but Gordo just couldn’t get up the speed to get to them. But a Gordo goal was in the cards tonight. In the 81st minute, Badji came up the left side of the field and put in a perfectly-timed pass. Ciman missed the ball again and #16 ran in to boot it into the back of the net.
The second half also had a minimum of four minutes of stoppage time, but Williams went down with an injury about two minutes in. He hobbled to the sideline and stayed out for the rest of the game.
The ref added on a bit more time to account for the injury, and gave the Impact one last chance on a corner. The ball rolled out of bounds and the ref called it. The Rapids won it 2-1!