The Colorado Rapids went with the 4-4-2 diamond formation that seemed to work last weekend against Real Salt Lake, but with Giles Barnes and Sam Nicholson starting up top, it’s very obvious that the Rapids are running out of options for strikers.
It seemed as though DC United spent a lot of time in the Rapids’ half of pitch in the first half of the game, but the stats showed it was almost an even split. That being said, the Rapids came out with a high press and did a good job of pressing DCU to the outside, which allowed very few real opportunities for the DC side. The first real scare came in the 23rd minute when they were able to get a cross in the box, but Tim Howard was there to grab the ball as it popped up.
Colorado was getting some good crosses in, but the DC defense intercepted and cleared out most balls until the 25th minute when Edgar Castillo went down in the box. Based on the replay, it looked like a bit of a dive, but the referee was sure about it and gave the ‘Pids the penalty without video review. Kellyn Acosta lined up, hit the post, and DC got the rebound.
DC had a very dangerous opportunity just before 30 minutes when Luciano Acosta crossed the ball through the box, past Tim Howard, and it rolled dangerously near the line. Tommy Smith was facing the goal and tried to flick it out but ended up somewhat whiffing which was probably for the better anyway.
In the 33rd minute, DC won a ball in the midfield and made a couple of quick passes. Danny Wilson watched as they passed the ball around him. Tommy Smith reached out but didn’t slide against Wayne Rooney, who took a shot that went between Howard’s legs and into the back of the net. Awful defending all around resulted in Rooney’s first MLS goal.
In the second half, DC continued to look like the more dangerous team and had several chances. Howard did have a nice save against Rooney in the 57th minute on a mistouch from a breakaway, and the Rapids defense had some clutch clearances.
In the 63rd minute, Jack McBean subbed in for Giles Barnes and Dillon Serna subbed in for Johan Blomberg and in the 75th minute, Niki Jackson subbed in for Kortne Ford who seemed to limp a bit as he came off.
Kellyn Acosta had a couple shots that went wide and then in the 82nd minute, McBean passed a sweet ball in and Acosta floated it over DC keeper David Ousted and defender Steve Birnbaum to tie it up 1-1. (It was the Rapids only shot on goal for the night.)
It was looking like the Burgundy Boys were going to go home with a point until DCU snuck in a cross that was redirected by Niki Jackson and squeezed in past Howard near-post.
Jackson and Jack Price both picked up yellows in stoppage time and the Rapids head back to Colorado with a loss.