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Game Recap: Colorado Rapids 3, Sporting Kansas City 2

A late goal from Tommy Smith lifts the Rapids over Sporting Kansas City.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Sporting Kansas City Peter G. Aiken

The Colorado Rapids don’t like to make it easy on themselves, but they sure know how to react to adversity. The Rapids got off on the wrong foot once again tonight, finding themselves in a similar situation as last week in Toronto and going down a goal early after Sporting Kansas City’s Gerso Fernandes snuck in between Keegan Rosenberry and Lalas Abubakar right in front of the Rapids goal for the easy slide past Clint Irwin and the 3rd minute lead.

The Burgundy Boys began finding more of the possession as Jonathan Lewis and Sam Nicholson pushed higher up the flanks to try and get onto balls from the fullbacks, but in the 14th minute, SKC doubled their lead. Krisztian Nemeth popped inside the 6-yard-box in front of Tommy Smith for a headed ball, but the shot ended up going off the Colorado defender for an own-goal, putting the Rapids down 2-0 for the second straight match.

However, Colorado picked up some much-needed help in minute 22 as SKC defender Matt Besler was shown his second yellow card of the night and earned a trip to the locker room early on. The Rapids took the opportunity to play a lot more possession inside SKC’s third with Nicholson causing problems and drawing numerous yellow cards on SKC. However, none of the Rapids efforts made SKC keeper Tim Melia sweat too much until the 42nd minute.

A Rapids corner kick forced by a deflected Kellyn Acosta shot found Kei Kamara in front of goal. He turned it above his head, then hammered a bicycle kick home to cut the lead in half and show the “heart-shaped hands” to his old fans.

“I’m a box guy,” said Kamara on his positioning on the night. “If they put the ball in the box, I have to be in the box. No matter what I’m doing on the outside, I’m always trying to make sure I sprint and get myself back in the box. It would be a shame if they ‘re crossing balls and they were like, ‘hey, you want a cross but where were you?’”

“We go into half and we’ve cut our deficit in half,” said Rapids Head Coach Robin Fraser, knowing how important that score would be. “The goal really helped bolster the confidence and belief. The mood in the locker room was very positive and they felt like there was something there for them.”

Andre Shinyashiki was brought on to start the second half in place of a busy Lewis to keep pressure on SKC from the wings. Following suit from the first half, Colorado kept possession in the attacking third but had trouble generating much for chances. In the 62nd minute, Diego Rubio had a nice dribble to the endline and dropped a pass back to an onrushing Shinyashiki, but his blast was deflected out for a corner kick.

In the 76the minute, Colorado sent a dangerous ball into the 6-yard-box box to the feet of Smith. His stumbled touch found Rubio close by, who roofed his shot powerfully past Melia to draw even at 2-2. Just like that, the Rapids were back in business.

Kamara led a golden chance for the Rapids to take the lead just two minutes later after his break down the left side. He slipped a pass to Nicholson opposite side, to go 1v1 with Melia, but the SKC keeper stuffed the dangerous shot to keep the score tied up.

Smith would gain another bit of redemption in the 85th minute, as Price sent a perfectly placed corner kick to the head of the Colorado defender in the middle of the box. He firmly sent it under the crossbar as the Rapids forced their way into the lead keeping their playoff hopes alive for the time being with the 3-2 win on the road.