The Colorado Rapids went back to a 4-2-3-1 and it looked lot like Pablo ball - long balls over the top, Dominique Badji getting stranded and not having any help, and then tightening up the defense to just get out of the half without giving up a goal.
The first 35 minutes were not much to write home about. Houston dominated possession but didn’t really do anything with it. The Rapids had a couple chances but didn’t really do anything with them. Colorado’s best chance was in the 40th minute when Mohammed Saeid earned a free kick that was the equivalent of a 20-yard corner kick. It bounced around in the box, and then it was kicked out of bounds.
Houston had a couple decent chances, but only one shot on goal and it went directly to Tim Howard.
At the end of the first half, it was 0-0. Houston had nine shots and one on goal while the Rapids had seven shots but none on goal. Possession was 65-35% in Houston’s favor.
Within the first 35 seconds of the second half, Cubo Torres had a chance as the ball streaked through the box and Alberth Elis got a header that he popped over the goal.
Around the 53rd minute, Marlon Hairston had a great steal and passed the ball to Badji. Badji dribbled a bit and there was no one else in burgundy up there to support him. He took the shot, but it went straight to the goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
We saw VAR in action tonight in the 57th minute. Alex came in on Mo and basically slid his studs down Mo’s calf and stepped on his ankle. Alex was given a yellow card but VAR checked for a potential red. In the end, the yellow stood and they played on, but Alex was subbed out within the next five minutes.
I was wondering why Stefan Aigner didn’t start tonight (and I still wonder why). He did come in as the Rapids first sub in the 66th minute. He subbed in for Mo and took on the number 10 role, even though he was brought here to be a winger opposite Shkelzen Gashi (who also sat on the bench tonight).
It looked like Jared Watts cramped up in the 74th minute, so Nana Boateng subbed in for him. Obviously this made our midfield a little more attack-minded, since Boateng is always looking to move the ball forward.
Aigner took a great right-footed free kick and made a great run a couple minutes later, but was called offside. He had a great cross late in the game, too. Aigner needs to be in the starting XI so we can see what he’s capable of.
As the game started to wind down, it didn’t appear that anyone from the Rapids really wanted to shoot the ball. Anytime the Burgundy Boys got it in or around the 18-yard box, it seemed as though they’d rather pass it than take the shot themselves.
Dillon Serna subbed in with less than two minutes of regular time left and there were six minutes of stoppage time.
Just less than two minutes in, Houston got a shot that Howard dove and saved. A minute later, Marly had plenty of room to dribble up the middle of the field. He passed off to Aigner on the wing, who sent in an AMAZING pass that PERFECTLY led Dominique Badji to half-volley it past the ‘keeper.
THE RAPIDS WENT UP 1-0 WITH FOUR MINUTES OF STOPPAGE TIME LEFT.
And they won. They got their first road win and handed Houston their first home loss of the season. If Aigner isn’t starting from now on, then Steve Cooke learned nothing from this game.