The Black-and-Red left Colorado last night with a result, it may not have been three points but it was certainly better than a fourth consecutive loss. A win would have allowed United to clinch the league’s first playoff berth this season, that may have to wait until next week when the host Columbus at home in RFK. The Rapids were trying to get back on track after losing a game that ended their two game win streak. While they didn’t lose their second consecutive game, they’re not at the top of the tables like D.C. They definitely did more than enough to walk away with the win. While United wasn’t as sharp, they did what they do best, get points out of games in which they don’t play close to their best.
The Rapids started the game like most teams do against D.C, they were flying around and applying pressure looking for sloppy passes and they got more than their fair share of those. It’s an issue that’s plagued United all year and it reared it’s ugly head early in this one. For all of the bad starts the Black-and-Red have had this season, they did a solid job of defending, but a poor job of sustaining possession for most of the first half. Colorado struck first on what was a very broken play, a poor clearance by Taylor Kemp ended up getting knocked high into the air inside the box. The ball found it’s way to Bobby Burling who put a shot on goal that found it’s way past Bill Hamid, of all the shots sent at Hamid on the night, Burling’s may have had the least amount of pace on it. But it was a good shot, there was a crowd of player in between him and the goalie, he could see the corner of the net and put the ball right into the slot.
Colorado dominated the possession in the half, as always, United seemed to settle down and get into the flow of the game after surrendering the goal. They started sustaining possession and showing why they’re such a threat on the counter attack. Alvaro Saborio didn’t get a ton of touches, but in the 50th minute he rifled a shot on target, but Burling was able to get his body in the way.
It was a physical game and there were plenty of fouls that resulted in set piece opportunities, that’s how D.C. was able to get the equalizer. Taylor Kemp was set to take the free kick, known for his left foot, all eyes were on him. Somehow Colorado let Fabian Espindola go undetected and Kemp played it to Fabi on the left flank, he wasted no time in lofting a soft ball to the back post. Steven Birnbaum was there to meet the pass with a fierce header that Rapids keeper Clint Irwin just couldn’t corral, the ball popped out of his grasp and into the top of the net. It was a much needed goal for United, which is trying to get back into first place in the East, they trail the Red Bulls.
The game wasn’t over after the equalizer, Colorado was able to find pockets of space in the United back line and took several high quality shots. This was definitely a night in which D.C. was glad that Hamid was in goal. There was one sequence in which he stopped a point blank shot in the mouth of the goal, due to the close space and the pace on the ball, there was a rebound. A Rapids attacker got a touch on the ball, but Hamid had recovered and attacked the ball and came up with it. He had five saves on the night and all were of the acrobatic variety.
While it wasn’t the most inspiring win from a team that was deemed “moody” by their coach prior to making the trip to Colorado, it was a result. Salvaging a point in a game that you struggled in still counts for something. The Black-and-Red must pick it up, but as Rolfe said prior to the trip out west, they’re looking for consistency from a lineup standpoint. Their best 11 haven’t been on the field for more than two consecutive games this season.