COMMERCE CITY, CO (May 13, 2017) – It was just what the doctor ordered for the Colorado Rapids. Pablo Mastroeni’s side won 3-0 at home against the San Jose Earthquakes. The offense found itself behind a brace from Shkelzen Gashi.
Rapids Manager Pablo Mastroeni shook things up signficantly this week. His side came out in a 4-4-2. Dominique Badji and Alan Gordon started up top. Shkelzen Gashi started at right midfield with Mohammed Saeid on the opposite side. Marlon Hairston made a rare start at right midfield.
Earthquakes Head Coach Dom Kinnear had his team in a 4-3-3. Florian Jungwirth anchored the backline. The midfield consisted of Jahmir Hyka, Anibal Godoy, and Darwin Ceren. Chris Wondolowski started at right wing with Marco Ureña up top.
Shkelzen Gashi Brace Leads Colorado Rapids To Breakthrough Win Against Quakes, 3-0
San Jose controlled much of the play in the first half. The Rapids sat deep and looked to counter. They nearly broke their goal drought in the 11th minute when Alan Gordon got a chance on a rebound from Quakes goalkeeper David Bingham. The No. 9 put the shot just wide. The Quakes would counter with several half chances by Hyka and and Ureña.
While the Rapids looked lackluster in the opening half hour, they sprang to life in the 29th minute. Dillon Powers got the ball moving quickly out wide to Saeid. The Swede found some space on the flank and delivered a low cross. It passed through the defense and Gashi got to it, blasting it into the top corner of the goal.
The Burgundy Boys got a shot of adrenaline from that goal. They started waves of attack. In the 35th minute, Gordon won a ball at midfield from Godoy. He tipped the ball to Badji. The two ran in on goal with only one defender back. Badji lined up his shot, and fired it into the back corner to make it 2-0.
The half ended 2-0 with Dillon Powers on a yellow card.
Colorado started the second half right where they left off. They continued to stay organized at the back with the midfield and forwards pressing the Quakes backline to create counter opportunities.
That strategy led to a third goal in the 56th minute. Badji pressured the backline and managed to win the ball from two defenders. He fell to the ground, but managed to pass the ball to Gashi in the middle of the field. With no defenders back, Gashi ran in on goal and chipped the ball to the Upper 90 past Bingham to make it 3-0.
Gashi! Gashi! Gashi!
The Quakes pushed for a goal in the late stages of the match, but had trouble putting them on goal. Godoy had a golden chance in the 62nd minute right in front of goal, but Howard made the point blank save. That would be the best chance of the day for the visitors. The match ended 3-0.
For the Quakes, this one has to hurt. They were coming in off back-to-back shutout wins. Their defense did not handle pressure at the back well. Kinnear will have to focus on that in training next week.
This was a massive win for the Colorado Rapids. The offense broke through big time. Gashi, Gordon, Saeid, and Badji all had their best games of the season. This is something the club can build on with a bunch of home games coming up.