Tag Archives: Colorado Rapids

The Rapids long and winding road

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Friday, June 1: 1-2 Loss

“We know who we want to be, we know what type of club we want to be and to be honest, we’re not going to stop until we reach it. We want to be great. We want to be a club that brings the trophy back here to Colorado. We want to be (a) perennial playoff team…” These are just some of the words spoken by the Colorado Rapids executive vice president and general manager, Pádraig Smith when he addressed the season ticket holders Saturday at the annual Meet the Team party.

With the Rapids recent switch from a seven game undefeated at home streak to a seven game losing streak, these are some hard words to swallow. In 2016 and 2017, Colorado went from being in the top of the league, second in the race to the Supporters’ Shield, to being second from last. (The Los Angeles Galaxy gave us a gift that year by taking the bottommost spot out of our hands.) The offseason saw a huge wave of roster changes, as well as coaching changes, that brought hope for the 2018 offseason.

Sadly, that hope has been short lived as the Rapids have not been able to put more than 2 wins and 2 draws together for their current eight points. This has been nothing short of a tough and trying season for even the most optimistic.

I am a self-proclaimed practicing eternal optimist. I truly believe that optimism is both imperative and integral to being a sports fan. (You don’t go to a game without some hope that your team is going to win, right?) Every game brings a new opportunity for my team to impress me or leave me heartbroken. I choose to believe that the former will happen when I stand with my scarf held high at the beginning of the game.

And it’s been hard. It’s been hard to keep my scarf and my head up with the recent lackluster performances that I have been seeing. It has been hard to keep from swearing on my Twitter feed about the calls the referees are and aren’t making. (Sorry Dayna!)

It’s been absolutely aggravating to watch players take a few too many touches and not shoot when they have the opportunity. It has been angering to watch referees let things slide for a half and then hand out cards like they’re candy for the second half.

It’s been exasperating to hear the coaches reasoning game in and game out sound identical and to not see changes. I have been more thankful for a broken computer than I probably should have been because it meant that I wasn’t going to be banging my head against a wall to come up with the words for yet another defeat.

It has honestly driven me to the point of tears, I have been so frustrated.

And then I took my eight-year-old niece to her first ever soccer game and I got to watch through her eyes instead of analyzing the steps and the missteps. I went back to the basics to explain that a point in a game wasn’t really a point, but it was called a goal instead. That goalies couldn’t use their hands once they left the big box around the goal, even if they were standing in the half circle at the top.

That no, the Rapids weren’t going to lose their goal because Edgar Castillo got a yellow card. I smiled with great pride when, after Jack Price slid through a guy from behind, my niece turned to me and asked, “Seeka? Is he going to get a yellow card for that?” (Spoiler alert: he did.)

She had fun. She learned the field, learned some lingo, and thankfully didn’t end up with a lesson in what not to yell at soccer games.

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
From the STH Meet the Team Party. The scarf is signed by the whole team. Image: Jess Houwen

The team that showed up Friday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps was a team that showed more promise than I had seen since our first game in the CONCACAF Champions League. It was good to have Johan Blomberg back in the middle and feel the game was moving differently. (Edgar Castillo, Sam Nicholson, and Dillon Serna all were bright spots in that game for me.)

There’s still a good amount of season yet to be played. I haven’t done the math to see whether or not we’re out of playoff contention, but if we are out – I’m still here. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience to turn around a large vessel like Smith, coach Anthony Hudson, and the rest of the coaching staff and front office are trying to do.

As they pointed out in the interviews before the season ticket holders, there is a lot going on behind the season that we don’t see. As frustrated as we, the fan base, are, it’s not hard to see that they’re doubly so, and they are actively working on it.

As we were leaving, my niece slipped her hand into mine and pulled close to me. “Seeka. Maybe I can bring my ball over to your house some time and we can go to the park to kick it around.” And with that, my hope was renewed.

Featured image of my niece from her first game ever: Jess Houwen

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

 

Second time’s the charm for Colorado Rapids

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, April 14: 2-0 Win

For the second time in 2018, the Colorado Rapids faced the reigning MLS champs, Toronto FC, at home. Toronto did not play with their normal starting lineup as Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Sebastian Giovinco were being rested for their first leg in the CONCACAF Champions League final on Tuesday against Chivas.

The first half started off with a bang as Jack Price hit home for the first goal of his MLS career within the first 90 seconds of the game. Kip Colvey passed the ball to the middle and Drew Moor attempted to clear it out of the box. Unfortunately for Moor, his clearance attempt put the ball right on Jack Price’s foot.

After a Toronto throw in, Jordan Hamilton (TOR) saw a chance to tie the game get deflected by the goal post in the sixteenth minute. Coach Anthony Hudson made his first substitution by pulling a poorly performing Kip Colvey and replacing him with an eager to play, Dillon Serna.

The Rapids kept their momentum up during the second half and did not sit back as we have seen them do in past games. After being plagued with injury last season, Shkëlzen Gashi was finally healthy enough to come in during the sixty-eighth minute to replace Jack MacBean.

Minutes after he came in, Toronto gave up a penalty kick when Liam Fraser took down Badji in the box but got more of Badji than the ball. Gashi stepped up for the kick and put it away for the second goal of the game and his first of the 2018 season.

Unsurprisingly, Jack Price picked up his fourth yellow card in five games in the eighty-fifth minute.

In the final minutes of the game, where Colorado has a knack for giving away goals, Tim Howard made an incredible save with his shoulder to maintain the clean sheet. At the final whistle, the Rapids walked away with three points and maintained their undefeated-at-home record for this MLS season.

Now, most of you who follow me on Twitter and read my writing understand that I am neither a Dominique Badji fan nor a Shkëlzen Gashi fan. However, I was thoroughly impressed by how both played on Saturday as they seemed to control the ball better than past games and move it around well. Notably, Gashi used far fewer touches in this game than he did last season. While it was only his first game back, I am hoping that this is an indication of what is to come with him.

It seems that Coach Hudson’s earlier comment about seeing a better team within four or five games has proven itself true. In the interview after the game Saturday, coach Hudson said that “…what we are seeing is a team that is working together,” and that “we’re not a team of individuals and that we have good players that are playing to a certain style and system…[the players] are all stepping up and fulfilling their roles within that system as well.”

The Rapids will face Real Salt Lake on Saturday, April 21 at Rio Tinto Stadium in a game for the Rocky Mountain Cup.

2’ – GOAL: Jack Price (COL) – 1:0 Colorado Rapids

39’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Kip Colvey replaced by Dillon Serna

46’ – SUBSTITUTION: TOR (1/3) – Jason Hernandez replaced by Eriq Zavaleta

57’ – SUBSTITUTION: TOR (2/3) – Ben Spencer replaced by Ashtone Morgan

69’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Jack McBean replaced by Shkëlzen Gashi

75’ – SUBSTITUTION: TOR (3/3) – Drew Moor replaced by Julian Dunn (MLS debut)

78’ – GOAL: Shkëlzen Gashi (COL) – 2:0 Colorado Rapids

79’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Enzo Martinez replaced by Yannick Boli (MLS debut)

83’ – CARD: Dominique Badji (COL) – yellow

86’ – CARD: Jack Price (COL) – yellow

Featured image of Jack Price corner kick courtesy: Jess Houwen

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

A day of firsts for Rapids organization

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, March 31: 3-0 Win

The Colorado Rapids second home game of the season was marked with several firsts. It was their first victory of the season, it was the first hat trick ever for Dominique Badji and the first hat trick in seven years for the Rapids organization.

The first half was relatively uneventful, but the Philadelphia Union absolutely dominated the play. There were several missed opportunities for goals on both sides. The first real goal scoring opportunity for the Rapids came in the forty-third minute when Tommy Smith put a diving header square in the middle of the goal, but Philadelphia’s keeper, Andre Blake made the save. The deflection gave the ball to Enzo Martinez who took the shot, but that was saved by Matthew Real, who was making his MLS debut for the Union.

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Goal kick. Image courtesy: Jess Houwen

Something changed during halftime and the Rapids came out far more ready to fight than they had been in the first half. The Rapids made their first substitution by replacing Danny Wilson with Axel Sjöberg as Wilson had twisted his ankle during the first half.

Jack Price picked up the first card of the game at the beginning of the second half for making an unsafe slide tackle on the Union’s David Accam. This was Price’s second yellow card in as many games.

Badji also seemed to come awake during the second half with his first career hat trick.

The first goal came in the fifty-second minute when Smith headed the ball to Badji who then put it in at the back post. The second goal came in the sixtieth minute shortly after Marlon Hairston was stretchered off the field and replaced by Dillon Serna. The third goal happened when Johan Blomberg passed the ball up to Badji from behind the midline.

The game ended with a clean sheet for Tim Howard and three points for the Rapids.

Colorado will face FC Dallas on Saturday, April 7 in Frisco at the Toyota Stadium.

46’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Danny Wilson replaced by Axel Sjӧberg

48’ – CARD: Jack Price (COL) – yellow

53’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) – 1:0 Colorado Rapids

60’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Marlon Hairston replaced by Dillon Serna

61’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) – 2:0 Colorado Rapids

63’ – CARD: Johan Blomberg (COL) – yellow

64’ – SUBSTITUTION: PHI (1/3) – Fabian Herbers replaced by Ilsinho

69’ – CARD: Dillon Serna (COL) – yellow

75’ – SUBSTITUTION: PHI (2/3) – Matthew Real replaced by Cory Burke

79’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Bořek Dočkal replaced by Anthony Fontana

87’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) – 3:0 Colorado Rapids

Featured image courtesy: John A. Babiak  @Photog_John

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

Episode 4: A New Hope, for Rapids

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, March 24: 2-2 Draw

The boys are back in town! Last Saturday kicked off the Colorado Rapids season at home and it was electric in the stadium. With all of the changes that happened in the offseason, including those that happened between my last article and this game, there were a lot of excited fans.

The stadium was buzzing. There were new flags hanging in front of the Rapids supporters section, C38, that hadn’t been there last season. As commented on during the offseason, coach Anthony Hudson played the team in a new (to them) 3-5-2 format and saw Joe Mason get his MLS debut.

#jessguest
Image courtesy: John A. Babiak @Photog_JohnB

The game started well with a goal by Dominique Badji in the first 5 minutes. Marlon Hairston hit a beautiful cross to Edgar Castillo who put the ball directly on Badji’s foot for the goal. Not much later, Tommy Smith hit a pass up to a wide-open Joe Mason who took the ball in for the second goal of the game and the first goal of his MLS career.

Jack Price took the first booking of the night when he slid in late on Sporting KC’s Yohan Croizet and got more man than he got the ball. Enzo Martinez proved himself to be a nuisance for SKC as he was consistently pressuring their players and present whenever they had the ball on his side.

The Rapids failed to take advantage after dual fouls on the Rapids by Felipe Gutierrez and Roger Espinoza. This seemed to be a theme throughout the game – failing to convert opportunities into goals.

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
“Scarves Up” image courtesy: Jess Houwen

When the teams stepped back onto the field for the second half, the players’ energy seemed to have switched sides. The quiet Sporting KC fought with a vengeance and the fighting spirit of the Rapids seemed to have waned. Tim Howard, however, was still on fire. He made amazing save after amazing save and, in my mind, earned a Man of the Match nod. (The honor went to Edgar Castillo, who did have an amazing game.)

Unfortunately, his amazing saves couldn’t keep up with our lack of defense from our central defenders. In the fifty-sixth minute, Sporting KC converted a missed opportunity into a goal when Gutierrez put in a rebound from a header off of the near post by Khiry Shelton. Danny Wilson was just a hair too late to keep the ball from going in.

The referee missed a lot of calls on both sides of the ball that night including a cardable offense when SKC’s Espinoza came in from behind on Martinez and kicked his leg out from under him. The Rapids still looked like they were going to come away with three points until the ninety-first minute when Diego Rubio (who had been subbed on for Johnny Russell) equalized.

It feels really weird to say this since we have yet to see a win in the 2018 season, but the Rapids are playing far better than they did in 2017. It seems that with the new coach and the new players comes a new hope. We will see what the Rapids have for us in their next match against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 31.

5’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) – 1-0 Colorado

8’ – GOAL: Joe Mason (COL) – 2-0 Colorado

15’ – CARD: Jack Price (COL) – yellow

46’ – SUBSTITUTION: SKC (1/3) – Seth Sinovic replaced by Jimmy Medranda

57’ – GOAL: Felipe Gutierrez (SKC) – 2-1 Colorado

58’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Johan Blomberg replaced by Bismark Adjei-Boateng

61’ – SUBSTITUTION: SKC (2/3) – Yohan Croizet replaced by Gerso Fernandes

64’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Joe Mason replaced by Niki Jackson

65’ – CARD: Niki Jackson (COL) – yellow

79’ – CARD: Tim Howard (COL) – yellow

84’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Dominique Badji replaced by Jack McBean

88’ – SUBSTITUTION: SKC (3/3) – Johnny Russell replaced by Diego Rubio

91’ – GOAL: Diego Rubio (SKC) – 2-2 tie

93’ – CARD: Ilie Sánchez (SKC) – yellow

Featured image courtesy: Jess Houwen

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

The Colorado Rapids 2017-8 offseason

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Hello readers. I hope you haven’t missed me too much. It’s been a busy offseason for the Colorado Rapids and I’ve not been able to keep up. (Okay, the first resolution of 2018 is to be better at keeping up with everything during the offseason.)

We’ve kept some players that we should have let go and let go of some that we should have hung on to. Thankfully the new expansion team, Los Angeles FC, overlooked us in the 2018 Expansion Draft. We have a new head coach and a lot of opportunity heading into the 2018 season.

Anyone who knows me (or follows me on Twitter) knows that I am not a fan of Shkëlzen Gashi or Jared Watts. I was definitely not happy to see that these players were put on the Protected List ahead of the 2018 Expansion Draft. Moreso, I was frustrated to see that the people we traded Sam Cronin and Marc Burch for, Mohammad Saied and Joshua Watts, were not protected. (Now, I will say that I do understand that Mo requested to not renew for personal reasons unbeknownst to me.)

To his credit, Gashi does seem to be working especially hard this offseason so maybe my second resolution of 2018 should be to give him half a chance this season. I am thrilled that the likes of Marlon Hairston, Tim Howard, and Stefan Aigner will be returning to the roster for 2018. I am equally excited to see what Johan Blomberg, Kip Colvey, Jack Price, Edgar Castillo, Deklan Wynn, and our new draft picks, Alan Winn and Frantzdy Pierrot, will bring to the field.

We ended 2017 with an interim head coach, Steve Cooke, who has since signed on as head coach and technical director with the Oklahoma City Energy FC and I certainly wish him the best there. With his departure, the Rapids brought in former New Zealand Men’s National team coach, Anthony Hudson, to fill the position.

He has made it clear that he expects to be in the playoffs for the 2018 season, a resolution for the new season that I think we can all agree on. After meeting him at an event introducing Price and Castillo, I am optimistic as to what he has to offer our existing players, to see how he incorporates our incoming players, and to see how he changes our game beyond our formation.

We’ll get an early taste of how these changes will impact the Rapids as we take on Toronto FC in the first leg of our CONCACAF Champions League games this February.

Featured image courtesy: @ColoradoRapids

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Rapids Spoiler Alert

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Sunday, October 15: 1-0 Win

Do you know what part of the reason why Real Salt Lake isn’t in the playoffs is? Us. The Colorado Rapids. We spoiled their post season hopes with a 1-0 win. The last home game of the season was on a beautiful, sunny day at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The opposing team’s supporters section was more packed than I have seen it all year and was the loudest that I have heard it all year as well.

The half opened with a quick goal when Josh Gatt put in his second goal in his MLS career at the three minute mark. (A record, by the way, as the fastest goal that the Rapids scored this season.) He quickly ran to the corner flag in front of the away supporter’s section and rode it like a horse in celebration.

Stefan Aigner drew a free kick just two minutes later off of what was a dive. (Watching the footage a few times over showed that he wasn’t actually touched by the RSL player.) This would be Aigner’s theme of the night. Tim Howard seemed to be back in the form we’re used to seeing from him that night as he made save after save look effortless.

Marlon Hairston reminded me why he’s one of my favorites as he backed up Howard in the 23rd minute to stop an attempt on goal by Plata. Unfortunately, just after that Badji got carded after turning into RSL’s Tony Beltran with his hip. Beltran had to leave the game with an injury at this point.

Let’s talk about these refs for a second. They were awful. Right after the Rapids got their first corner kick of the game, Alan Gordon gets fouled. Albert Rusnák came in with his studs up and stomped on Gordon’s foot. Gordon hobbled back on to the field and continued playing for another ten minutes before he was finally subbed out.

The center ref, Armando Villareal, never called it. His line judges could not seem to figure out what off side really meant either. The fourth referee stopped Mohammed Saied from taking a throw in during the 87th minute and had Mike DaFonte take the throw instead. Nana Boateng picked up a yellow card in the fourth minute of extra time for kicking the ball away out of frustration.

The Colorado Rapids ended their season at home with an at home record of 7-5-4. Their final game comes on October 22, 2017 against the Seattle Sounders in Seattle.

3’ – GOAL: Joshua Gatt (COL) – 1-0 Colorado

24’ – CARD: Dominique Badji (COL) – yellow

28’ – SUBSTITUTION: RSL (1/3) – Tony Beltran replaced by Demar Phillips

43’ – CARD: David Horst (RSL) – yellow

68’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Dominique Badji replaced by Mike DaFonte

72’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Alan Gordon replaced by Dillon Serna

78’ – SUBSTITUTION: RSL (2/3) – Danilo Acosta replaced by Sebastián Saucedo

83’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Marlon Hairston replaced by Bobby Burling

94’ – CARD: Nana Boateng (COL) – yellow

Featured image courtesy: Alex Lin

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Colorado Rapids v FC Dallas

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, October 7:1-1 Draw

With Tim Howard (USA) and Mekeil Williams (Trinidad & Tobago) called away for international duty and Michael Azira still out with a questionable ankle, the Colorado Rapids had a new lineup this past weekend against FC Dallas. They played their standard 4-2-3-1 formation with Alan Gordon starting up top for the first time since May. Nana Boateng started the game as a center midfielder, and I have to say that I really liked him there. He was decently physical, though he does still need to learn a little restraint.

 

From the first whistle, both teams played fairly lackluster which was surprising considering Dallas needed points to move into playoff contention. The Rapids struck first with Stefan Aigner getting his second goal of the season in the fifteenth minute. Nana Boateng drew the first card of the match when he slid in hard and late on Dallas’ number 37, Maximiliano Urruti. Atiba Harris got the first yellow for Dallas when it looked like he had a late tackle on Stefan Aigner. The card was overturned once it was evident that Aigner dove and Harris never touched him. Aigner lucked out here because he didn’t get carded for simulation. Several attempts and a minute of stoppage time later, the first half ended.

Jesse Gonzalez proved himself vital to FC Dallas’ defense during the second half by making some incredible saves. I couldn’t help but wonder if he’s going to be in the MLS much longer with his talent.

At the 53rd minute, Atiba Harris headed in the equalizer off of a corner kick and that would be the score for the rest of the game. Dallas uses their first sub, and Badji gets the second card of the game in the 67th minute. (It should be noted that this is the third game in a row that Badji has started an argument of some sort with the opposing team. With his contract being renewed for another two years, I wonder if this is something that will be addressed or not.)

Atiba Harris gets his true first yellow of the game when he elbowed the Rapids keeper, Zach MacMath, in the face while going up for a header. The contact was truly accidental as neither man saw the other coming because they were so focused on the ball. Once again, Nana Boateng shows just how much power he has when he kicked the ball from the halfway line into the 18 yard box. The tie would stand though, and move Dallas just above the line, while keeping Colorado ahead of L.A. Galaxy.

The Rapids face Real Salt Lake on Decision Day 2017 (Sunday, October 15, 2017) for their last home game of the season.

15’ – GOAL: Stefan Aigner (COL) – 1-0 Colorado

21’ – CARD: Nana Boateng (COL) – yellow

53’ – GOAL: Atiba Harris (FCD) 1-1

66’ – SUBSTITUTION: FCD (1/3) – Roland Lamah replaced by Tesho Akindele

67’ – CARD: Dominique Badji (COL) – yellow

69’ – CARD: Atiba Harris (FCD) – yellow

70’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Alan Gordon replaced by Mike DaFonte

82’ – SUBSTITUTION: FCD (2/3) – Maximiliano Urruti replaced by Cristian Colmán

83’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Stefan Aigner replaced by Shkelzen Gashi

88’ – SUBSTITUTION: FCD (3/3) – Mauro Diaz replaced by Victor Ulloa

Featured image courtesy: Colorado Rapids facebook

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Colorado Rapids – We Got Three!!!

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Sunday, October 1: 2-1 Win

Y’all. We did it. We finally got three points this weekend against the Montreal Impact. I don’t think I’ve held my breath that much since the USA/Honduras World Cup Qualifier last month. I walked out of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with a huge smile on my face, taking deep breaths, and telling my dad how good it felt to have a win. The truth is, this was easily the weirdest soccer game I have ever witnessed.

The first half saw Stefan Aigner getting his first home start of the season as the 10 alongside Marlon Hairston’s 7 and Joshua Gatt’s 11 with Dominique Badji up top. At 9 minutes in, Jared Watts got the first red card of the game thanks to the VAR. It was the right call. He slid into Chris Duvall’s ankle, studs up, in attempt on the ball. It was a bad decision on Watts’ part.

At this point in the game, the Colorado Rapids formation had to change from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-1 to accommodate for the now missing 8. Duvall was subbed out and the game restarted with 10 Rapids players to Montreal’s 11. Montreal’s Daniel Lovitz got the second red card of the game thanks to a stupid decision. Rapids defender, Mike Da Fonte went up for a header against Lovitz and ended up on the ground. As he was getting up, Lovitz stepped through and kneed him in the ribs. From my understanding of FIFA rules, the ref probably considered this a use of excessive force which would be why he was sent off.

As if two red cards in the first half weren’t weird enough, the ref whistled play dead and restarted with a drop ball when he lost track of the ball in the 41st minute. The fourth official indicated that there would be four minutes of stoppage time and in the second minute of that stoppage time, Aigner found the back of the net for his first career MLS goal. From the review of the play, Aigner moved from an offside to an onside position with a little stutter step which put him right in line with Mekeil Williams’ pass.

At the 46th minute, the Rapids used their first sub of the game and replaced Mike Da Fonte with Nana Boateng. Kort Ford got his first yellow in the 47th minute, followed by VAR coming to the Rapids rescue in the 51st minute. Hairston takes down Ignacio Piatti in the box and the ref called a PK. The play went to VAR which showed that Hairston made contact with the ball and the PK is overturned.

That relief was short lived as Mateo Mancosu got the equalizer in the 61st minute. Axel Sjöberg missed his opportunity to stop the goal when he turned to the side and let Mancosu go right past him. The shot was unsaveable because it went into the top corner of the net, just over Tim Howard’s fingertips. At this point in the game, both teams were playing with ten men on the field, Montreal used all of their subs, and Colorado used 2 of their 3.

Michael Azira caught his ankle on the grass just wrong and it folded underneath of him. Mohammed Saeid came in as the Rapids third and final substitution. Two minutes later, Alan Gordon scored the game winner and got a yellow card for excessive celebration.

Shortly thereafter, Boateng saw an incredible attempt on Montreal’s goal, from the top of the Rapids’ box, go just wide by a couple of feet at most. The weirdness continued when Montreal went down to 9 men after Piatti twisted his knee and dropped to the ground with no players around him. After playing 89 minutes, Deian Bolder was shown off the field by the center referee because he forgot his shin guards. Mekeil Williams went down on the opposite side of the field with an ankle injury and had to leave in stoppage time.

Both teams ended the game with 9 players, but the Rapids came away with the win and 3 points. We finally moved ahead of LA Galaxy in the league standings thanks to a late goal by Kyle Beckerman to cause a draw between Real Salt Lake and L. A. The Rapids will face FC Dallas at DSG Park on Saturday, October 7th.

9’ – CARD: Jared Watts (COL) – red

13’ – SUBSTITUTION: MON (1/3) – Chris Duvall replaced by Hassoun Camara

32’ – CARD: Daniel Lovitz (MON) – red

45’+2 – GOAL: Stefan Aigner (COL) 1-0 Colorado

46’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Mike Da Fonte replaced by Bismark “Nana” Adjei-Boateng

47’ – CARD: Kortne Ford (COL) – yellow

62’ – GOAL: Mateo Mancosu (MON) 1-1

67’ – SUBSTITUTION: MON (2/3) – Dominic Oduro replaced by Anthony Jackson-Hamel

72’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Stefan Aigner replaced by Alan Gordon

75’ – SUBSTITUTION: MON (3/3) – Patrice Bernier replaced by Michael Salazar

79’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Michael Azira replaced by Mohammed Saeid

81’ – GOAL: Alan Gordon (COL) 2-1 Colorado

82’ – CARD: Alan Gordon (COL) – yellow

85’ – PLAYER OUT: Ignacio Piatti (MON) out for an injury

90’+3 – PLAYER OUT: Mekeil Williams (COL) out for an injury

Featured image of Stefan Aigner courtesy: @stevecookeworld@ColoradoRapids

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

A Tale of Two Goodbyes – Colorado Rapids

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Wednesday, September 27: 2-0 Loss

This week has not been an easy one for the Colorado Rapids. Wednesday night’s loss combined with wins around the league has put the Rapids mathematically out of playoff contention. The tie between LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo means we are still in last place of our division, behind by two points now. Again, we are faced with needing the Galaxy to lose while we win in order to not come in dead last in the West. To top this off, the Rapids lost a center forward when Kevin Doyle retired on Thursday.

A win in Frisco would have meant that the Rapids still had the chance to challenge for the playoffs, however, FC Dallas had no intent of letting us off that easy. Like Saturday night, the Rapids again played in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Dallas’ 4-3-3. This match up saw the return of Bobby Burling and Dillon Serna to the starting lineup, and Stefan Aigner’s first start with the Rapids.

The Rapids played half-hearted nearly the full game on Wednesday night as if they had already given up any hope of ending the season with a win or two. Maynor Figueroa (FCD) started the game off with a goal five minutes in after Eric Miller missed a clear opportunity to clear the ball out of the box. Not four minutes later, Miller was beat once again, this time by Roland Lamah (FCD) for the second and final goal of the game.

Bobby Burling drew the first yellow card of the game after channeling his inner hockey player and hip checking Lamah. Colorado got their first opportunity at putting the ball in the back of the net when Matt Hedges drew a card after getting tangled up with Dominique Badji. Two more yellow cards came for the Rapids before the end of the first half when Stefan Aigner mouthed off to the ref and Mohammed Saeid threw the ball at Javier Morales’ head.

The frustration was evident in the second half of the game as the Rapids missed multiple opportunities on goal and, as a result, could not put together a comeback. The Rapids saw a bit of pick up in speed and goal opportunities late in the game after substitutions were made. Marlon Hairston came in for Stefan Aigner and his first touch was an attempt on goal. After being warned about time wasting in the 38th minute, referee Ricardo Salazar finally issued a yellow card for time wasting to Jesse Gonzalez in the 83rd minute.

The Rapids need more central players.

At one point in Wednesday’s game, the entire midfield was left open while players were either at the top of the box or at the midfield line. Kevin Doyle was one solution to that problem and was known for closing down the middle during games. Sadly, he announced his retirement from soccer on Thursday following medical advice from his doctors due to concerns about the risk of permanent damage from further concussions. He had not been seen on the pitch since the second half of the September 2nd game against the Galaxy after getting his second concussion of the season.

Doyle first came to Colorado from Crystal Palace in 2015 and had been a fixture on the Republic of Ireland national team since 2006. He finishes his 16 year career with 63 international caps, and the appreciation of Rapids fans everywhere.

Colorado next faces Montreal Impact at home on Saturday, September 30. Let’s go ‘Pids!

5’ – GOAL: Maynor Figueroa (FCD) 1-0 Dallas

8’ – GOAL: Roland Lamah (FCD) 2-0 Dallas

11’ – CARD: Bobby Burling (COL) – yellow

21’ – CARD: Matt Hedges (FCD) – yellow

44’ – CARD: Stefan Aigner (COL) – yellow

45’ – CARD: Mohammed Saeid (COL) – yellow

54’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Marlon Hairston in for Stefan Aigner

63’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Alan Gordon in for Dominique Badji

69’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Shkelzen Gashi in for Mohammed Saeid

74’ – SUBSTITUTION: FCD (1/3) – Victor Ulloa in for Mauro Diaz

83’ – CARD:  Jesse Gonzalez (FCD) – yellow

86’ – SUBSTITUTION: FCD (2/3) – Ryan Hollingshead in for Roland Lamah

89’ – SUBSTITUTION: FCD (3/3) – Luis González in for Javier Morales

Featured image courtesy: @ColoradoRapids

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Catching up with the Colorado Rapids

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

This season has been a rough one for Colorado Rapids fans. The end of 2016 saw us lose at home against the Seattle Sounders in the race for the MLS Cup, a victory that has eluded us since 2010. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park had been affectionately nicknamed the “Mile High Fortress,” thanks to their 2016 regular season record at home. This season began full of hope and promise.

And then came 2017.

The 2017 season has been rife with disappointment, losses, and upheavals in staffing and on the field. A team that finished second in the MLS West division to FC Dallas, and the Supporter’s Shield, in the 2016 season was now dealing with life on the bottom of the board. We just couldn’t put together cohesive play to result in more than a handful of wins and the frustration was visible in player interactions on the field.

The offseason saw us sign the likes of Alan Gordon from LA Galaxy, Bismark Adjei-Boateng from the Manchester City system, and not do anything else. Midway through the season we saw the devastating departure of team captain Sam Cronin and Marc Burch to the new expansion team, Minnesota United. In return, Mohammed Saeid and Joshua Gatt donned the burgundy jersey. The departure that seemed to hit the hardest, however, was that of longtime coach and former player, Pablo Mastroeni. The drop in morale was tangible in that first home game since his firing.

There has not been much turnaround for the team under the wing of interim coach Steve Cooke, but Saturday night’s game provided the opportunity for the Rapids to move ahead of LA Galaxy, and out of last place. The Rapids started a 4-2-3-1 against Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place with Jared Watts and Michael Azira playing as a defensive 6 and an attacking 8, respectively, and Dominique Badji at the top as a target player.

The first half saw an early goal go in off of a header from Freddy Montero to put Vancouver ahead 1-nil after Axel Sjöberg was late to the play. Jared Watts (COL) drew the first yellow card of the game in the 14th minute due to a tackle from behind on Yordy Reyna after the ball was gone. Tim Howard then denied Cristian Techera a goal with a sliding save. Tim Parker (VAN) saw an attempt go wide and then turn into a yellow card thanks to his hand ball in the 34th minute.

We finally saw some flashes of Colorado’s defensive capabilities when they denied four consecutive attempts from Vancouver. Dominique Badji scored the equalizer in the 44th minute, megging the keeper, David Ousted. This was his third goal in as many games, bringing him to 9 for the season.

The second half began with a completely incidental collision between Badji and Andrew Jacobsen (VAN), though both got up with a bit of a hobble. Montero had a chance for his second goal, but he went just wide with his attempt. It was a lucky break for Colorado as Howard was down with no chance to make the save. Yordy Reyna beat Howard in the 53rd minute to score the go ahead goal for the Whitecaps.

Tempers soon flared a bit between Marlon Hairston and Tony Tchani, but because of camera angles – we weren’t able to see what happened. However, neither cards nor fouls were issued for the interaction. Michael Azira received the fourth yellow card in the game for pulling down Yordy Reyna. There was no argument from Azira because it was, as announcer Marcelo Balboa called it, “a professional foul”. Despite multiple attempts at the end of the second half, the Rapids were not able to put anything away to bring the score even.

The Rapids face FC Dallas on Wednesday, September 27th in their next round of play. Should the Galaxy lose to the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, we will have yet another chance to pull out of last place before the end of the season.

4’ – GOAL: Freddy Montero (VAN) 1-0 Whitecaps

14’ – CARD: Jared Watts (COL) – yellow

34’ – CARD: Tim Parker (VAN) – yellow

43’ – CARD: Mekeil Williams (COL) – yellow

44’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) 1-1

53’ – GOAL: Yordy Reyna (VAN) 2-1 Whitecaps

59’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Stefan Aigner in for Marlon Hairston

64’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Alan Gordon in for Josh Gatt

69’ – SUBSTITUTION: VAN (1/3) – Bernie Ibini in for Cristian Techera

75’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Bismark Adjei-Boateng in for Jared Watts

76’ – SUBSTITUTION: VAN (2/3) – Alphonso Davies in for Brek Shea

82’ – SUBSTITUTION: VAN (3/3) – Erik Hurtado in for Fredy Montero

86’ – CARD: Michael Azira (COL) – yellow

Featured image courtesy: Colorado Rapids facebook

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale