The old rivalry with Sporting Kansas City fired up again on a smoky, hazy Saturday night in Commerce City. The Colorado Rapids came out with another rotated lineup as the Burgundy Boys dove into the second half of the season seeing players move in, from, and return these past weeks.
A first Rapids start for Mark-Anthony Kaye in midfield, along with Braian Galvan stepping in on the left side of the attack, began the night for Colorado in an important Western Conference matchup. Another subtle, but interesting, formation move was to slide Keegan Rosenberry from his normal right side to a center-back position next to Lalas Abubakar, giving Steven Beitashour the duties of running the flank in the first half.
The first 25 minutes saw Colorado try to chip away at SKC’s defending third looking to get Kaye, Cole Bassett, or Michael Barrios freed up on either side of attacking midfield. In the 28th minute, a dangerous linkup from Kaye to find Barrios almost paid off, however the shot inside the 6-yard area popped over the top.
SKC finally made a move offensively in the 37th min, latching onto a loose ball deep in midfield, but the shot by Remi Walter whistled by wide right of Yarbrough’s goal.
A flurry of increasingly dangerous moves for Colorado tried to grab the lead just before halftime. Barrios got past his SKC defender in the 40th minute and snuck a neat through ball to Kaye running into the box. Kaye’s ball to the near post was just pounced on by ‘keeper Tim Melia for no trouble. Colorado kept the ball in pressure and a non-cleared CK fell to the feet of Collen Warner from distance, but his rocket just missed over the top.
Captain Jack Price then almost broke the deadlock in stoppage time, after a nice feed from Kaye to the center of the area was hammered by Price, but Melia was up to the task again to deny the Rapids and hold his side level.
SKC kept their numbers back early in the second half; however, another long ball over the top bounced forward past Abubakar and Grayson Barber finally got a shot off but sailing it well over goal.
As the second half wore on, Rapids fans had to wonder where the spark would come from after good play but nothing to show on the scoreboard. A ball knocked back into box by Barrios was attempted to be covered by Bassett but was knocked away by SKC’s defense. Immediately after in the 66th minute, SKC’s Alan Pulido had a golden counter-attack miss just wide past Abubakar as Yarbrough could only watch hopefully.
The best chances of the night fell to Rapids second-half sub Jonathan Lewis at the back post as Bassett, making a nice run in possession down the right, picked out his teammate perfectly but the shot was narrowly deflected and skimmed across and out for a corner kick. That was subsequently delivered by Price perfectly to Rubio, whose blast was tipped over by Melia once again to preserve the goose eggs on the scoreboard.
A frustrating night for the Rapids ended with a lot of good possession play with the ball for most of the match, not much from SKC other than defending deep with numbers and an occasional counter-attack, and shared points in Colorado’s house.