Two original MLS teams kicked off the league’s 25th season today, with our Colorado Rapids taking on D.C. United in the capital. It was a cold day in Washington, D.C., with a brisk wind that made the temperature feel like the low-to-mid-20s.
Overall, the Rapids played quickly and had crisp passing. They took advantage of the new rule that allows players to come into the 18-yard-box on goal kicks to play out of the back. D.C. pressured the Pids, but Sam Vines was able to get the ball up to Kei Kamara who was sitting on the left side. For the first 15 or so minutes, most of the play on both sides was fairly end-to-end up the wings, but the midfield started to get more involved as the game went on.
It was clear that both sides wanted to come out strong today, and things got a bit chippy here and there. When DC crashed the box, Colorado defenders held their ground. Lalas Abubakar almost showed too much aggression, getting called for multiple fouls and getting a warning from the referee early.
On the other side of the pitch, Bill Hamid held it down between the sticks, despite the Rapids’ best efforts. As we saw in preseason, the Burgundy Boys continue to be dangerous on set pieces, and nearly got a goal in the 15th minute off a corner kick. Drew Moor showed that he still has something left in the tank and had an excellent game today.
Fifteen minutes later, midfielder Felipe Martins put the ball in the back of the net for D.C., but was offside, so the goal was called back. After the Rapids’ restart, DCU got the ball back quickly and ran right back down the field. After a deflection in the box went right to a D.C. player for the shot, Clint Irwin came up with a big point-blank save.
Towards the end of the second half, the Rapids made a consistent push, sending in ball after ball and getting a couple of corner kicks, but after 45(ish) minutes, things were still 0-0 at Audi Field.
In the 58th minute, Andre Shinyashiki got the first yellow of the game for pulling on a DC player and after a quick restart, Julian Gressel took a shot that thankfully went off the crossbar. Two minutes later, D.C.’s Russell Canouse opened scoring off his side’s first corner kick of the game. It’s unclear if Clint Irwin misjudged the ball or just missed it, but he didn’t get the punch and then Canouse scored on a header from the far side of the box.
Less than 10 minutes later, Jack Price sent in a ball from about 30 yards out wide and Kei Kamara flew in to blast a header of his own in to level things up at one goal each.
Robin Fraser made three offensive subs today, and as Brian Crookham said on the broadcast, bringing in Diego Rubio, Nicolas Mezquida, and Jonathan Lewis doesn’t feel like you’re sacrificing anything on defense since those players can be found hustling up and down the field helping out where needed.
And it ended up paying off. With seconds left in stoppage time, there was a scrum in front of the net and Lewis, the third and final sub, was able to get a touch and score. The Rapids took all three points today with a final score of 2-1.
ABSOLUTE SCENES IN D.C.— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) February 29, 2020
JONATHAN LEWIS GIVES ALL THREE POINTS!!!!! pic.twitter.com/AvYgxuAIHU
What a great way to start the season!