Match Recap: Colorado Rapids 1-1 Houston Dynamo
For a third successive game, the Colorado Rapids emerged with a draw, this time at home to Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night but they will again feel short-changed, writes Richard Fleming.
Lalas Abubakar latched onto a great ball over the top from Sam Vines in the sixth minute of stoppage time to final beat Dynamo ’keeper Marko Maric. It was a first goal in burgundy for Abubakar - and his first in MLS since May 19, 2018. It was a first assist in MLS for Vines.
This cancelled out a strike from Christian Ramirez just 20 seconds into the second half. Abubakar lost his man, allowing the former LAFC and Minnesota forward to ghost in at the far post and volley a side-footed shot beyond William Yarbrough.
Head coach, Robin Fraser, said afterwards: "I thought after the first 15 minutes we played pretty well and then we had a poor 15 seconds to start the second half, and after that again, I thought our tempo picked up and we were quite solid.
"We get up, we score late and come out with a tie, but a little bit of a disappointing tie which sounds crazy for a team that scores at the last second to tie it, but we’re definitely a little bit disappointed in feeling that we did enough to win the game and obviously didn’t.”
Apart from a rather tame effort in the first half, Yarbrough had little to do. Maric was by far the busier of the two ‘keepers, beaten by Kei Kamara but saved by the post, before brilliantly denying the Rapids’ number 23 after good work by Vines.
The moment of the first half came when Younes Namli turned Adam Lundkvist inside out with a turn that left the Houston defender seemingly unaware of his surroundings, before the Danish winger floated inside and drilled a shot wide from 20 yards which fizzed narrowly wide.
Having soaked up early pressure, the Rapids wrestled control, and went in at the break again wondering how they had been unable to turn their dominance into goals.
Robin Fraser made a switch at halftime, bringing on Jack Price for Collen Warner but the second period did not start well, as Ramirez punished some soft defending.
To their credit, the Rapids responded immediately. Jonathan Lewis went close following a cross from the right. Kellyn Acosta felt he should have been awarded a penalty after a mazy run into the penalty area, but his pleas were waved away by referee Fotis Bazakos. Auston Trusty, making his first start for the Rapids and only his second appearance, somehow got under a header from point-blank range and put the effort over with the goal at his mercy.
The Rapids controlled the tempo, dictated the pace, attacked almost at will but - and this line is beginning to wear a little thin - they simply lacked the finishing touch. That is until Abubakar controlled a Vines pass like a seasoned striker, his first touch teased Maric from his line, allowing the Ghanaian to guide the ball beyond the onrushing Croatian for the leveler.
A point was retrieved late on, but on reflection this will again feel like two more points dropped, as was the case in San Jose and home to Sporting Kansas City.
Vines, Keegan Rosenberry, and Abubakar all sang from a similar hymn sheet postgame, lamenting the wasted opportunities and stressing they ought to have got more from the night's work.
Abubakar said: "I thought we created a lot of chances, we did what the coaches asked us to do and it was just unfortunate that we came out with a tie. In general, we should do better. Home games like this we should be able to win games.
"Obviously, we are very disappointed to come out not winning the game, but we can only look forward and keep working harder and keep improving. We have Salt Lake on Saturday. We have to focus on them and go get something out of that game.”
That is now seven games without a win for the Rapids (0-3-4), who head to Utah at the weekend to face a Real Salt Lake side which defeated LAFC 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Colorado Rapids: William Yarbrough; Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Auston Trusty, Sam Vines; Younes Namli, Collen Warner (Jack Price HT), Diego Rubio (Cole Bassett 75’), Kellyn Acosta (Nicolas Mezquida 84’), Jonathan Lewis (Nicolas Benezet 75’); Kei Kamara.
Subs not used: Clint Irwin, Braian Galvan, Jeremy Kelly, Danny Wilson, Andre Shinyashiki.
Houston Dynamo: Marko Maric; José Bizama, Kiki Struna, Victor Cabrera (Alejandro Fuenmayor 74’), Adam Lundkvist; Memo Rodriguez, Wilfried Zahibo (Boniek Garcia HT), Darwen Cerén; Niko Hansen (Ariel Lassiter 58’), Christian Ramirez (Mauro Manotas 57’), Tomás Martinez (Darwin Quintero 58’).
Subs not used: Cody Cropper, Sam Junqua, Zarek Valentin, Nico Lemoine.