COMMERCE CITY, CO (July 1, 2017) – It was a bounce back game the Colorado Rapids needed. Behind a brace from Marlon Hairston, they defeated the Houston Dynamo 3-1 at home on Saturday night. Speed was the name of the game, as Kevin Doyle, Dominique Badji, and Dillon Serna led the attack.
Rapids Manager Pablo Mastroeni made some changes off two losses from last weekend. Bismark Boateng started in central midfield along with the healed Mohammed Saeid. Tim Howard wore the Captain’s Armband in goal with Mike da Fonte and Eric Miller at center back. Marlon Hairston and Dillon Serna started at wide midfield in a 4-4-2. Dominique Badji and Kevin Doyle were up top.
Dynamo Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera had to move some players players around with some key players away on national team duty. Erick ‘El Cubo’ Torres started up top with Mauro Manotas on his right in a 4-3-3. Juan Cabezas and Oscar Boniek Garcia led the midfield. Veterans Leonardo and DaMarcus Beasley led the defense with Joe Willis on goal.
Speed Kills: Marlon Hairston Brace Helps Rapids To 3-1 Win Over Dynamo
Colorado used their speed on the wings to create chances on the night. Hairston and Serna were clinical in timing their runs to get behind the backline. Badji and Doyle pressured the center backs and found place between then to get open.
Just minutes into the match. Cubo Torres and Da Fonte got into it off the ball. Torres appeared to come up with a back injury after a soft push by Da Fonte in the 4th minute. The center back was given a yellow card. The two would battle the rest of the match.
Their hard work finally paid off in the 21st minute. Badji got a pass from Saeid and drew two defenders towards him, freeing up Serna. He to the ball to Serna who sped up then delivered a ball to the late arriving Doyle. No Houston player picked him up and Doyle beat Willis with a good finish.
Serna, Hairston, and Doyle led the offense the rest of the way, getting several good looks. Willis denied Serna on a point blank shot on a break away in the 32nd minute to keep it scoreless.
Houston’s offense took a bit of time settling into the game. The center backs marked Torres well. Most of Houston’s chances came with Castillo caught up field. Howard made several excellent saves late in the half.
Cubo Torres only needs one good chance to score though, and he made the Rapids pay right at the end of the half. A.J. DeLaGarza sent a cross into the six yard box. Howard didn’t come off his line and Torres beat Da Fonte to the ball to score.
The half ended 1-1 with Da Fonte on a yellow card.
The Rapids retook the lead just minutes into the half. Doyle sent a long ball towards Badji who beat every defender to it. He took a touch around Willis, but was at a bad angle to shoot. He sent a hopeful shot across goal. Hairston ran onto it, slid, and tapped it into the back of the net. They were in front 2-1.
Colorado settled into a counter attack mode after that. Houston had much of the ball and tried to tie the game up. The defense did well keeping Torres in check and their set piece defending was clinical.
The home side would get one more chance on the counter in the 69th minute. Badji won the ball just outside the box, drawing two defenders to him. He pass the ball off to Doyle, who in turn drew the last two defenders. He passed the ball off to Hairston who slotted the ball past Willis and inside the post.
The Dynamo threw numbers forward, but ultimately ran out of gas. The match ended 3-1.
21′ Colorado – Kevin Doyle, assisted by Dillon Serna and Dominique Badji
45′ +5′ Houston – Erick Torres, assisted by A.J. DeLaGarza
48′ Colorado – Marlon Hairston, assisted by Dominique Badji and Kevin Doyle
69′ Colorado – Marlon Hairston, assisted by Kevin Doyle and Dominique Badji
Houston cannot be too disappointed given they were shorthanded in this match. Still, they had the game tied at half and limped to a loss in the final 45. They remain winless on the road. One could start questioning the offensive depth given Albert Ellis and Romell Quito were out.
Lordy, the Rapids needed this win. They got a result at home, and they did so with the offense clicking on all cylinders. Hairston will get the headlines with the brace, but you could name four or five players who had great offensive contributions. Da Fonte and Miller did not have good games last weekend. But other than the goal by Torres, they had a full performance. This is something to build on for Mastroeni’s side as they look to get healthy.