On a night when the other Western conference results went their way, the Colorado Rapids held up their end of the bargain thanks to two banger goals in the 2-1 win. The mid-week edition of “must-win” Rapids matches got going in Commerce City after a storm blew through on the night, and the Earthquakes took that tone for a late Colorado kickoff.
San Jose had a golden opportunity in the 4th minute, forcing a turnover in the Rapids penalty area. However Ebobisse made a mess of the feed to him at the spot and shanked it out for a goal kick. The visitors looked more like they were playing for their playoff lives early on, though, as they pressed Colorado deep into their defensive third.
Colorado put a nice bit of possession together in the 21st minute to push San Jose deep into defending. Diego Rubio took advantage of space and got to a ball centered at the top of the box in stride. The Rapids leading scorer once again laced a low shot inside the left post past Marcinkowski for the 1-0 lead.
After that, the Rapids looked very determined to stay disciplined in their shape at the back if needed. However, the goal seemed to take some of the steam out of the Earthquakes as Colorado was able to keep the ball a bit better, draw some fouls, and move play into the middle and offensive third after half an hour.
However, at minute 37, San Jose found too much space at the top of Colorado’s box once again as Cowell stretched things out with the dribble. A blast by Montiero forced the full-out diving save by Yarbrough for the corner kick. That proved too much for the keeper on the ensuing ball to the near post as Nathan beat Danny Wilson to flick it down inside the near post and the equalizer.
A golden chance to go ahead once more for Gyasi Zardes came to him after a deft little chip to the near post by Barrios in the 43rd minute. The header, though, was popped over the bar from close range and out for a goal kick.
Just 9 minutes into the second half, HC Robin Fraser made his first move on the night bringing in Captain Jack Price to help bring the midfield together and put San Jose on the back foot more often. Rapids pressure started coming on the right flank from Michael Barrios and Keegan Rosenberry pushing up as 3 points were vital on the night.
A press by San Jose in the 69th minute almost proved disastrous for Colorado as they worked a nice run with possession down the right flank. The pass back to the top of the box for Cowell connected, but his open shot clanked off the Rapids crossbar and away from play.
Then in the 79th minute, thunder struck again on the night, but this time from the right foot of Rosenberry just inside the right side of the box. He took a touch to collect and look up, then connected cleanly with a signature Keegan rocket to the upper corner and the late 2-1 lead.
A nervous moment in the 85th minute came against the run of play for San Jose as Ebobisse got a foot to bring down a long, lofted ball into Colorado’s box. With Yarbrough rooted to his line, the Earthquake attacker let the Rapids off the hook by blasting his shot over the bar, and DSGP took a collective deep breath.
The clutch performance keeps Colorado moving up towards the Western Conference playoff line as they now try to keep the must-wins coming out on the road in LA this weekend.