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Colorado Rapids Draw Sporting KC Scoreless After Darren Yapi Close Calls

Rapids come out of the gates but SKC survives. The officiating puzzled. Yarbrough shines.

John A. Babiak

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - In an alternate universe, Darren Yapi scored a hattrick to open his MLS account. The Colorado Rapids hosted Sporting KC on Saturday night for their home opener of the 2023 MLS season. It was a good performance, but a disappointing result on a freezing night at the Richard.

The Pids started well. Just like at Seattle, Yapi could have scored moments in. Cole Bassett fed a through ball to the striker who ran in on goal John Pulskamp came off his line and made a point blank save. He had another great chance minutes later, stretching out to send the ball wide of goal.

“John did a really good job anticipating the space. John came up big in the game when he needed to. That’s what you need your keeper to do,” Sporting head coach Peter Vermes told Burgundy Wave.

In the 13th, he appeared to score, pouncing on a loose ball that Sam Nicholson was unable to finish. He buried the ball and went to celebrate. Alan Chapman went to the monitor and ruled Yapi offside.

Before the half hour mark, Bassett sent another ball into the box. Yapi went for a diving header, colliding with the keeper. The ball bounced along the goal line, but was ruled to have stayed out. Both players were shaken up but stayed in the game.

Fans serenaded head referee Alan Chapman to “ref you suck.” He did not go to the monitor to review the goal line play.

Sporting grew into the final 10 minutes of the half, with several consecutive corners but could not finish as the game slowed down.

The second half slowed down to the visitors’ liking. Dániel Sallói had a few looks in transition but they were defended well by Colorado. Willy Agada couldn’t muster a good threat with his looks.

Just after the hour mark, William Yarbrough made a great save on a hard shot from Erik Thommy. He saved the rebound chance from Agada, which was ruled offside. At the other end, Bassett was denied 1-v-1 by Big Bear Pulskamp.

On 70 minutes, Yarbrough again made back-to-back saves off a direct free kick from Thommy, then a sprawling save on Sallói.

Bassett and Sallói fittingly missed chances in the final minutes as the game slowed, almost put on ice. The match ended 0-0 as Sporting ran out of energy and Colorado could not break down a more stout defense.

Yapi Hunts Better But Comes up Short

Robin Fraser will be disappointed with the drop off in the second half. That said, they did enough to score a goal, possibly win the game with the chances they created in the first 40.

“Me and Yaps, we have to score. We feel pretty good compared to last week. But we need to be ruthless. We got to do better in the attacking third cause the defense did their job,” said Cole Bassett postgame.

It’s great that Yapi keeps creating chances and his teammates are finding him. It’s frustrating he’s still waiting for that first goal after three starts. Yapi getting moved out to left wing with Kévin Cabral subbing on took away some of that threat. Cabral has yet to impress in his two sub starts.

Yarbrough Shows Quality

Colorado’s keeper did not have much to do in the first half. He ended up with 11 saves, several of them acrobatic. His two back-to-back plays were an illustration he can still be great. Last week’s four goal conceded were not a reflection of his quality. What a statement to make with Marko Ilić now available for selection.

“It gives confidence for the team that we are sold. We need to be solid, the whole team defensively. We have to be better in our box. We did well,” Andreas Maxsø said. He added on Yarbrough “Really big performance. Last weekend he played a good game to be honest. We need that. He was good again.

Let’s Talk About the Officiating

Rapids fans were not happy with the way the game was called. Lalas Abubakar was given a short leash with a yellow card in the opening minutes. No cards were given till the 58th, so perhaps things settled and corrected after that.

There was a penalty shout for Bassett as he tripped over Fontas. The Yapi goal was rightfully called offside. The goal line call is tough. The angle is a little flattering for the Rapids. With no goal line technology, it’s hard for VAR to overturn it either way. The call on the field was already going to stand. I have no strong disagreement with any of these calls from Chapman.

“Disappointing when you score a goal and it’s not allowed. I wasn’t standing on the endline so maybe I shouldn’t say that definitively. It sure looked that way” was the most tactful way Fraser could put it in the press conference.