Jared Watts Red Card Downs Rapids At The Death 2-1 To RSL In Rocky Mountain Cup

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COMMERCE CITY, CO - APRIL 15: Brooks Lennon #27 of Real Salt Lake celebrates scoring the winning goal against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on April 15, 2017 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

COMMERCE CITY, CO (April 15, 2017) – It was another tough loss for the Colorado Rapids. A good performance until the death saw them go from being up 1-0 to losing 2-1. Real Salt Lake had goals from Yura Movsisyan and Brooks Lennon after a Jared Watts red card. The Rapids continue to have problems putting in a 90 minute defensive performance.

Jared Watts Red Card Downs Rapids At The Death 2-1 To RSL In Rocky Mountain Cup

Rapids Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni made only two changes from last week. Dillon Powers started in the No. 10 role for a reportedly injured Shkelzen Gashi. Korten Ford made his ome debut at center back. Zac MacMath started for the suspended Tim Howard in goal.

Mike Petke made his road debut as Real Salt Lake’s manager. Yura Movsisyan started up top in a 4-3-3. Albert Rusnák started as the left midfielder. Nick Rimando was in goal in front of Chris Schuler and Chris Wingert.

First Half:

The Rapids were very aggressive in the first half. Kevin Doyle and Marlon Hairston made several great runs to get into space and create danger. They had issues finishing though. Doyle had a great chance in the 5th minute getting behind the defense, but Rimando was able to make the save, point blank.

Colorado was very active and engaged defensively. Jared Watts marked Movsisyan tightly all half. He only had a few chances on the ball, and each time help closed in to snuff out the chance.

Doyle drew first blood 29 minutes in. Boateng distributed the ball out wide to Hairston in space. The winger ran towards the touch line and sent a ball in front of goal. Doyle rose up, split the center backs, and headed the ball on goal. Rimando didn’t get enough of it, and it went into the net.

Later in the half, Boateng had to be subbed out after an apparent lower back injury. Mohammad Saied made his Rapids debut. The half ended 1-0.

Second Half:

The Rapids continued using their speed and deep runs in the second half. Hairston and Doyle remained dangerous from the run of play. Colorado had a flurry of chances around the 55th minute after Dominique Badji won a free kick just outside the box. Schuler and Wingert were up to the task in the air, clearly several good crosses and corners out of harm’s way.

Neither team offered much going forward in the later stages of the second half. Colorado used the wings to relieve pressure and get forward. RSL’s defense focused in on Doyle and didn’t let anyone else get out in space. The Rapids remained locked in on Movsisyan. Azira did well to contain Rusnák when he got possession.

Josh Gatt subbed in for Hairston in the 79th minute, making his debut in both MLS and with the club. The 25-year-old injected life into the crowd in the 81st minute when he made a run from midfield and nearly scored.

The match turned on its head in the 86th minute. An RSL corner led to a shot off the bar and a scramble in front. Watts denied a shot on the goal line, but was whistled for a hand ball. The center back was given a straight red card and RSL was awarded a PK. MacMath guessed right, but Movsisyan blew it by him to tie the game 1-1.

RSL used the man advantage to take the lead in the 88th minute. Brooks Lennon made a run across the box and fired a shot into the far corner past MacMath to take the lead. The match ended 2-1 to the visitors.

Final Thoughts:

This is another tough loss for Colorado. They were having an excellent and very Rapids performance through the first 80 minutes. The Jared Watts red card turned the match around. Some poor defensive marking led to the chance that led to the PK. It also led to the game winner. Watts will miss the next game, adding further holes to the Colorado defense that hasn’t been itself in 2017.

Petke and RSL have to be happy with the last two weeks. After a bad start, RSL has back to back wins against conference opponents. Velazco did a great job coming off the bench. Movsisyan scored on a PK which is good for his confidence. This team might be able to turn a bad start around into a good run.

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