Match Report: Minnesota United 2-1 Colorado Rapids
A Lalas Abubakar own goal in the 89th minute condemned the Colorado Rapids to a 2-1 loss at Minnesota United on Wednesday night, and a second successive road defeat, writes Richard Fleming.
Just at it appeared the Rapids were heading home with a point in their pocket, a back-tracking Abubakar found himself in the path of an Ethan Finlay cross and could only watch on in horror as the ball ricocheted off his head and past the despairing William Yarbrough.
And so, for the second game in a row, the Rapids suffered a loss away from home, though unlike last weekend, they deserved more out of this one.
Head coach Robin Fraser said: "I felt like the result was disappointing. Some of the play was so good and we felt like we could’ve gotten more out of this game for sure.
"One of the big things is to look at how we were not sharp three, four days ago and then to look at our performance tonight. You really feel like the players are acclimatizing again and are getting their legs under them.
"I thought tonight, we did some really good things, and in the end, obviously we’re disappointed to have nothing to show for it.”
Jonathan Lewis started in place of the injured Collen Warner, and he had the best of the early chances for a Rapids side which controlled the opening 20 minutes.
Minnesota worked their way back into the game, despite losing midfield anchor Osvaldo Alonso to injury inside the opening half an hour. They took the lead after Cole Bassett gave up possession in the final third, allowing the busy Emanuel Reynoso to pick out the unmarked Robin Lod, who struck sweetly first time to beat Yarbrough from the edge of the box on the stroke of halftime.
With the second half came a second wind for the visitors. Unlike in the previous game, when the lack of playing time took its toll on the legs, the Rapids remained full of running and dragged their way back into the contest on 69 minutes.
Younes Namli’s first time ball across the area was well shielded by Diego Rubio, who held off Bakaye Dibassy before teeing up Andre Shinyashiki to poke home from six yards out.
Kevin Molino struck the upright for the Loons with a delightful first-time short, and Abubakar deflected the follow-up shot from Lod over the bar.
Sadly, it was a deflection under the bar which decided the outcome of this game, and why the gutsy Ghanaian stood a deflated figure come the final whistle. Even after going behind for a second time, both Nicolas Mezquida and Nicolas Benezet had chances in swift succession in the five minutes of stoppage time before referee Tori Penso called a halt.
Shinyashiki commented: "The scoreline hurts and it’s still zero points both games, but we’re showing improvement. I think that’s important, as well. I think it’s something that we have to build on.
"We knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming back from this month and a half without playing, but we can’t have any more excuses.
"We have to start winning games if we want to make the playoffs and I think that’s our goal, so definitely improvement from Saturday, but still zero points so we need to find a way to get those three points.”
The Rapids are home this Sunday for their final regular season game at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park, to face Seattle Sounders FC. Coverage on Altitude and AltitudeNOW starts at 6.30pm.
Minnesota United: Dayne St. Clair; Romain Métanire, Michael Boxall, Brent Kallman, Bakaye Dibassy; Osvaldo Alonso (Jacori Hayes 28’, Marlon Hairston 82’), Jan Gregus; Robin Lod, Emanuel Reynoso (Ethan Finlay 62’), Kevin Molino; Aaron Schoenfeld (Raheem Edwards 82’).
Subs not used: Adrián Zendejas, Fred Emmings, José Aja, James Musa, Thomás Chacón.
Colorado Rapids: William Yarbrough; Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Danny Wilson, Sam Vines; Younes Namli (Jeremy Kelly 88’), Jack Price, Cole Bassett; Jonathan Lewis (Nicolas Benezet 58’), Diego Rubio, Andre Shinyashiki (Nicolas Mezquida 79’).
Subs not used: Clint Irwin, Drew Moor, Auston Trusty, Steven Beitashour, Matt Hundley.