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Fraser blows up, fat lady sings: Rapids’ season hitting rocky end

Haunted by miscues and amateur refereeing, Burgundy Boys take it on the chin and in the gut again.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Nashville SC Casey Gower-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville wanted a win; Colorado needed to win. Nashville’s wish came true, while Colorado’s dream of moving closer to winning an October playoff berth remains in limbo.

In their second game of three during a week-long road trip, the Colorado Rapids saw a very winnable game fade away in the second half of the tense and muggy mid-America match.

At the close of the first half, they were all knotted up with the Coyotes, 1-1, and Rapids fans waited with bated breath for the second half to commence.

Before you could spell Tennessee, the Burgundy Boys resorted to their Hara-Kari pattern of self-inflicting stabs to their match-day play, made mistakes that led to easy goals against, then had to watch, in point-blank frustration, as an amateur field judge made call-after-call that favored Nashville, and none of the most egregious on Colorado’s behalf.

“It’s difficult, and you just can’t make mistakes against good teams,” said Rapids head coach Robin Fraser. ”And oftentimes, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. We’re not helping ourselves, put it that way. We certainly don’t get any help from anyone else, but we’re certainly not helping ourselves.”

“Every single week this seems to happen to us. These mystifying calls seem to go against us. I don’t think referees realize how much these calls change games and fates of teams,” the terse head coach remarked during his abridged press conference. “I need someone to tell me what the referees are doing. Every single week it seems to happens to us. These mystifying calls seem to go against us. Lucas- a soft foul. Barrios- 100% penalty. I am not making excuses. I do not know if the referees know how much these call change the game the fate of the team. I am Public Enemy Number 1 for referees. So be it!” the skipper concluded.

MLS had drafted young ref Mark Allatin to manage the pitch. Allatin drifts between MLS and USL Championship games. Frankly speaking, he was an embarrassment in GEODIS Park. For that matter, so was the League in assigning the youngster to such an important late-season match.

Nashville came out fast and furious in the second, put up three goals, finished off Colorado, and went home with three points and six packs of their favorite rehydration beverages.

With the loss, the Rapids’ back third have given up 10 goals in the past two games, while the entire side is 1-10-3 on the road this year.

Fraser reflected on this road trip, ”Well, we said before this trip that we feel like we need 15 points to get into the playoffs, and we still have more than five games, so I certainly don’t feel as if it’s over and I know the team doesn’t feel as if it’s over.” The deflated Fraser added, “It’s obviously a really dark time for us at the moment, but if we pull ourselves together and play with the level of commitment and engagement that we did in the first half, well, that’s what I said to the team- how we played the first half is how we need to play every minute for the rest of the season.”

Needless to say, despite the thumping, the Rapids are still within reach of making the playoffs, as the parity-packed MLS Western Conference remains just that.

Colorado still sits just 7-points out of the final playoff spot with 32-points, while they, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Seattle all are chasing after Portland, which is currently clutching onto the number seven slot.

While Colorado was being picked apart, Los Angeles Galaxy tied Toronto, and Seattle lost to Orlando City. Portland earned three points by toppling top-rated Austin and then usurping the Galaxy in the standings.

With Nashville and Real Salt Lake winning their mid-week contests, they pulled away for the pack for now, while the latter five teams fight for the last playoff invitation.

Post-game, the always optimistic defender Steven Beitashour remarked, “We’ve still got six games left. Mathematically, we’re still in it. Three home games, we take care of business, that’s 9. We think 15 points gets us in the playoffs. That’s two wins on the road. You just have to keep fighting. It’s crunch time.” He continued, “So is it for sure out? No. Is it for sure in? No, but you just have to keep fighting. I think the way we played in the first half, and even for portions in the second half tonight, we played well. We did the right things. But if we can just be a little bit smarter and not give up those cheap chances, it changes things... A lot of their guys were saying that that wasn’t a penalty for them in the first half, but when the referee calls it, it’s tough to overturn. And then vice versa, the second half a lot of their guys are saying ‘oh, that’s more of a penalty than he gave us in the first half.” Beitashour elaborated, “You know, goals change games whether it’s for or against. And so, when you have something like that, if he doesn’t call for them, it’s one-to-nothing for us going into halftime, perfect. If he does call for them and calls it for us, it’s 3-2 in the second half, now it’s a little bit different.”

The Rapids’ lone goal came at the 35-minute mark when Diego Rubio passed the ball elegantly to the playing-up Beitashour. The fleet-footed veteran found Gyasi Zardes racing towards the mouth of the goal. The big man easily swatted the ball in for his 9th goal of the season.

For Nashville, red hot Hany Mukhtared registered his second hat trick for the Yellow and Black; while Jacob Shaffelburg added a cherry to the top of the sundae in the 61-minute to make it 4-1.

Colorado now heads back east to play last place, 7-4-17, D.C. United, this Sunday night in the nation’s capital.

It will be another must-win, mano-a-mano face-off for team Burgundy.