The weather in Colorado has been particularly finicky this year, especially when it comes to game nights for the Colorado Rapids. Tonight it was a 38-minute kick-off delay and despite a little rain and a wet pitch, the game went off without a hitch after that.
This was just the fifth meeting between New York City FC and the Rapids. Colorado has lost twice in New York and tied NYC twice here at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Before the game, Interim Head Coach Conor Casey talked about the importance of getting a strong start, and the Rapids were able to do just that. In the 6th minute, Jonathan Lewis flew up the wing with an NYC defender hot on his heels after a gorgeous ball from Cole Bassett. He took the ball all the way into the box and to the endline before crossing it back through the box. Sixteen-year-old Sebastian Anderson slid in the same time as another NYCFC defender and was able to tap it in. It looked like a possible own goal, but MLS gave it to Seb, making him the youngest Rapid to ever score a goal and the 10th youngest in league history (thanks Jake!).
After that goal, Colorado packed it in a little bit and struggled to get possession and get the ball moving up the pitch. In the 32nd minute, Anderson tackled Ronald Matarrita near the sideline and was immediately shown a red card. It was reviewed quickly and the call stood. The replay didn’t show much, but it seemed like an unnecessary tackle. The Rapids went down to 10 men with 56-plus minutes to go.
Shortly after, Tim Howard earned a yellow card for time-wasting ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In the 40th minute, Héber found himself all alone in the box. Kept onside by Lalas Abubakar, the Brazilian chested the ball and expertly volleyed it past Howard to put the visitors up 1-1.
While nothing obvious happened, Howard asked for a sub and back-up Clint Irwin warmed up and subbed in right before half-time. It was later reported that the goalkeeper has strained his calf.
Before leaving the game, Howard got his 1,750th career save and it was a nice one:
Nicolas Mezquida subbed in for Cole Bassett to start the second half.
The Rapids spent most of the second 45 minutes fighting off the NYCFC attack. Irwin already had four saves 20 minutes in, while Howard had two in the entire first half (Irwin finished the game with five saves). As I’ve said before about Zac MacMath, it’s good to have a starting caliber back-up goalkeeper.
Sam Nicholson came on for Lewis in the 68th minute as Colorado’s third and final substitute. Nicholson took the ball up on a counter from Mezquida about 10 minutes later and got it past NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson, but was called offside. Unfortunately, it was the correct call.
With just seven minutes left to go, Alexandru Mitrita stepped into the space he was given and blasted a shot past Tommy Smith and Irwin to put NYCFC up 2-1.
The referee missed a pretty big call as the game was winding down when Alexander Callens ran through Nicholson and took him down. It should’ve been a free kick just outside the 18-yard-box, which would’ve been a great opportunity for the Rapids to get the late equalizer. In the second minute of stoppage time, Nicholson finally got a call on the nine-yard line and earned a free kick just outside the 18. Mezquida took the kick, an NYCFC defender got a head on it, and it fell in front of Keegan Rosenberry’s left foot. Rosenberry took the shot and it barely missed wide. Mezquida also got a shot seconds before the final whistle, but it went over.
Unfortunately, Colorado wasn’t able to find that equalizer and after going on a seven-game unbeaten streak, the Rapids have lost two of their last three.