An 89th-minute goal killed the Colorado Rapids Thursday night, giving Comunicaciones F.C. the first leg of this Concacaf Champions League matchup.
It was another big game in which the Burgundy Boys that they failed to score. Not only did the crew fail to net one, but they also didn’t register a single shot on goal. The field was not all that titled to the home Guatemalan side, but the Rapids didn’t do much with their chances in the final third, emphasizing a need for a striker.
Bryan Acosta and Max debuted as subs in the match; the latter generated possibly the best chance of the game in the 86th minute.
Moments later, a foul near the midline by Acosta set up a free-kick.
Jose Contreras took it and gave it to Karel Espino, who sped into a right-footed shot from outside the box into the top left corner.
OOOOHHHH MY @CremasOficial takes the lead in the 89th minute! pic.twitter.com/vYVYIasLpe— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 18, 2022
The Rapids snapped a streak of 11 straight MLS wins vs. Guatemalan clubs.
“The conditions were were tough for both teams; that field was not in great condition, that hampered our ability to play a bit,” Robin Fraser said postgame. “It was a pretty scrappy game. I don’t think either team was particularly clean and how they played. And at the end of the day, it’s disappointing but it’s not the end of the world. We still have 90 minutes to go and they have to come to our place. And we’ll see how it goes next week.”
Unlike the mid-80s, which was the temperature in central America, the second leg will be in the teens and maybe some snow. Will it help the Rapids? It doesn’t matter if they can’t score.
“There weren’t too many chances either way when the field is as poor and as bumpy and long as it is,” Fraser said. “It’s tough to to be as precise in the final third as you’d like to be. Most of the chances tonight came from balls being whipped in in the air. I think the field has to do with it. And for us, it’s our first competitive game, and it’s not the same as your ninth or 10th competitive game of the year. But no excuses. We didn’t execute the way we wanted to and certainly that’s our resolve going back next week.”
For the no-excuse-but-seemingly-full-of-excuses Rapids, they’ll have to find a way to win 1-0 to force P.K.s, or by two goals as away goals is the tiebreaker for this competition. Meaning if Comunicaciones nets just one on Wednesday, the Rapids will need to knock in three to get the win outright. It's a big challenge for a club that has failed to score in every big game they’ve played in over the last 16 months.
“We knew from the start coming here you know different field, different weather but I think we train and we were ready to come here,” Diego Rubio said. “They came, they scored it is what it is, now we need to go to Denver, and we need to win the game. There’s no other option. I think discussing whether the condition is an excuse, I for myself, I don’t want to do it, and I think we need to do much better.”