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Zardes strikes late, Colorado rallies to draw Orlando City at home

Rapids continue to tread water and stay in contention for a downstream play-off spot

MLS: Orlando City SC at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

During a week when Colorado Rapids F.O. boss, Padraig Smith, proclaimed that “We are not giving up on this season” during an interview with Last Word on Sports’ Managing Editor- Matt Pollard, his field players followed up to once again came back to earn a challenging point at home against a dogged Orlando City team.

Down 1-0 in the 64th minute of play, Rapids substitute Michael Barrios juked his mark on the right side of the 18 box and served up a lovely pass across the face of Orlando’s goal that found the arch of sliding Gyasi Zardes’ boot, who promptly punched the ball into the upper left corner of the net.

In the 21st minute, Orlando took advantage of a flat-footed Rapids back line and defense midfielder Collen Warner on the sideline nursing a knock to his leg; City scored off of a long throw-in that arrived after a pair of deflections to the left-footed Facundo Torres. The Uruguayan curled a blistering shot at the goal and right past the outstretched hand of Rapids’ keeper Will Yarbrough.

During the post-match press conference, defender Keegan Rosenberry commented, “teams aren’t picking us apart. It’s self-inflicted. It’s concentration. It’s easier said than done.”

Warner returned, and the Rapids played relentlessly until the intermission; however, they appeared disjointed for many minutes in the half.

They came out of their locker room energized and continued to press the Lions. It wasn’t until the 59th minute of play, when resting Diego Rubio; Barrios came up off of the bench did the Burgundy Boys hit full stride.

Five minutes later, Barrios and Zardes connected, and the tall forward scored to the delight of a lite Wednesday night crowd. The score was Zardes’ 90th career goal.

Rosenberry was pleased that Zardes scored. “We know if we prove him with those chances, he can score goals. Hopefully, something he can build on, and we can build on.” Warner added, “I was so stoked for him... He’s taken some time to adapt to what we play.” He continued, “We’re also changing our style to suit him more. Everyone is buzzing for Gyasi.”

The Rapids managed to get off 19 shots, of which seven were on target. The out possessed a swift Orlando side 51% to 49%.

The Rapids have another quick turnaround and will get ready in just two days before they host 7th place L.A. Galaxy Saturday evening. Los Angeles lost to the San Jose Earthquakes 3-2 during their Wednesday evening outing.