The Colorado Rapids welcomed the San Jose Earthquakes to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the first time in 2021 Saturday night. With Kellyn Acosta, Sam Vines, and Jonathan Lewis all away on USMNT duty for the Gold Cup, the Rapids again deployed the “next man up” plan in trying to continue their run of success at home – the latest being midfielder Nicolas Benezet making his first start of 2021 after a good performance last match against Minnesota United FC, and Jack Price returned as captain the starting lineup.
The Rapids got on the front foot early in a match that started physical in the tackles. Nicolas Mezquida clipped a shot inches wide of the far post after a nice rundown and feed from Michael Barrios in the 6th minute.
In the 11th minute though, San Jose’s La Chofis (Javier Eduardo Lopez) dribbled into the 18-yard box and in front of a host of Rapids defenders, managed to get his shot through a sliding Lalas Abubakar and a diving William Yarbrough for the goal to the right post and the lead.
That didn’t deter the Rapids; however, as they pushed the numbers advantage in San Jose’s field and kept the pressure on with Auston Trusty running the left flank and some nice ball movement with both Benezet and Mezquida as well.
Cole Bassett dug a ball out of his feet from Andre Shinyashiki at the top of the box in the 40th minute resulting in a shot towards goal, however the attempt went wide. Just after in the 44th minute, Shinyashiki then latched onto a ball in the box but his shot to the far post drifted wide and the Rapids trailed 0-1 at halftime.
The second half went out much more wide-open for both sides. After a couple of penetrating runs early into San Jose’s territory, the Rapids struck. In the 52nd minute, Benezet picked out Cole Bassett across from him at the top of the box, the pass was chested down nicely, where Bassett positioned himself for a blast to the far post and the equalizer.
San Jose seemed to get frustrated both on and off the pitch as the half wore on. Their team translator was shown two yellow cards and sent off from the sideline for some interesting language to officials.
The Rapids kept pushing numbers, but fullbacks Keegan Rosenberry and Auston Trusty were less involved as the half wore on out of caution. A nice over-the-top ball to Galvan down the right side provided some excitement in the 82nd minute, but his low cross for Barrios in front of goal was just deflected away.
In the end, San Jose didn’t trouble Colorado much at all other than the early shot and a last-gasp freekick from Chris Wondolowski at the final whistle. But, despite the nice possession and movement of the ball, the Rapids had to settle for the solitary point at home. In a nice endnote, Colorado rookie Yaya Toure made his Rapids debut subbing on for Barrios in the 87th minute.