Colorado Rapids Tie Houston Dynamo 1-1, Miss Out On Supporter’s Shield

COMMERCE CITY, CO. - OCTOBER 01: Tim Howard (1) of Colorado Rapids looks up at the crowd during the second half. The Colorado Rapids hosted the Portland Timbers in a Major League Soccer match on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo By Patrick Traylor/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

COMMERCE CITY, CO (October 23, 2016) – The Colorado Rapids tied the Houston Dyanmo 1-1 this past Sunday on MLS Decision Day 2016. Shkelzen Gashi scored in the second half to time the game. Both Jermaine Jones and Marlon Hairston returned from injury in the match. The team however could not get the go ahead goal, giving FC Dallas the Supporter’s Shield.

Colorado Rapids Tie Houston Dynamo 1-1, Miss Out On Supporter’s Shield

Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni started Dominique Badji and Kevin Doyle up top in the No. 9 and No. 10 role, respectively. Dillon Powers slotted in for Michael Azira as a holding midfielder. Jared Watts started again at center back next to Axel Sjoberg. Eric Miller started at full back. Jermaine Jones was available for the match as well. Tim Howard started in goal and Sam Cronin wore the Captain’s Armband.

Dynamo manager Wade Barrett started Mauro Manotas at center forward. Alex and Andrew Wenger highlighted the midfield. Jalil Anibaba and DaMarcus Beasley highlighted the back line. Joe Willis started in goal for Houston.

First Half

The Rapids came out on the front foot in the opening frame. They out-possessed the Dynamo and out shot them 8-2 in the first half. Watts got a great opportunity in the 4th minute, getting a header off a corner from Shkelzen Gashi.

Doyle and Badji continued to be a force together up top, with Doyle collecting and distributing the ball. Badji made several excellent runs, getting open and getting shots off, including in the 8th minute when he almost set up Sebastian Le Toux for a shot far post.

The Houston Dynamo would get the first goal against the run of play. The visitors had a counter going in the 20th minute. Eric Alexander got the ball at the touchline and sent in a cross that took Howard by surprise. The goalkeeper was able to deflect it, but it fell right to Wenger, who fired it into the open net.

Colorado turned up the pressure down a goal, needing to win to keep their Supporter’s Shield hopes alive. Doyle and Badji continued to get good chances, but could not score. Badji had a run in on goal in the 28th minute, forcing Willis to make an outstretched arm save. Doyle nearly scored in the 39th minute of a header.

Willis was very active on defensive corners, coming off his line to parry and collect balls. The half ended 1-0 with no bookings.

Second Half:

Badji continued to be aggressive in the second half, forcing Houston defenders to scramble and rush to cover him. He had another good scoring chance in the 53rd minute that missed the post by a matter of feet.

Just minutes later, chaos ensued as Watts was shoved down in the box, but no penalty was given.

Mastroeni went to his bench earlier that usual in this match, and it paid off. Marlon Hairston subbed in in the 61st minute. Six minutes later, Hairston would get the attach going, running down the flank and sending a cross into the middle of the box. Gashi beat two defenders to the ball and slotted it bottom corner past Willis to tie the match. Jermaine Jones subbed in for the Rapids shortly after the goal.

Jones and Hairston injected life into the Rapids attack, as the team continued to throw numbers forward and get chances on the run and from corners. Houston parked the bus, but got several chances on counters with only a few Rapids players back. Substitute Christian Maidana nearly scored on a volley off a 2-1 on the 81st minute.

Colorado attacked in waves, but could not finish. Badji nearly scored at the death, as he deflected a cross that Hairston knocked down right in front of goal. Willis made the save, just feet from from the goal line.

Neither team could find the finishing touch and the match ended 1-1.

Closing Thoughts:

It has to be disappointing for the Rapids to not win at home to give themselves a chance at winning the Shield. That said, Gashi got on the score sheet. Badji and Doyle were dangerous all game long. Jones and Hairston both came back from injury and were effective.

This team looks to be in good shape for the Western Conference Semifinals, especially with home field advantage against a wild card team.