COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (March 24, 2018) – In stoppage time, a Diego Rubio goal gave Sporting KC a 2-2 draw against Colorado Rapids. Dominique Badji, Joe Mason, and Felipe Gutierrez scored the other goals.
Diego Rubio Goal at the Death Gets Sporting KC 2-2 Draw at Colorado Rapids
The Rapids came out energized by the crowd. Just five minutes in, Jack Price found Edgar Castillo on an island out wide. The wing back ran into the box, and set a low cross in front of goal that Dominique Badji sent into the top of the net off Tim Melia’s hand.
Then in the 8th minute, Tommy Smith sent a long ball up field. Joe Mason beat the off-sides trap and ran in on goal alone. He shielded the ball from Matt Besler well and rounded Melia to score. The half ended 2-0 with Sporting getting in some good positions, but unable to connect on crosses.
Kansas City bounced back in the second half. With the wind at their backs, service into the box was better. Felipe Gutiérrez got on the board in the 57th minute cleaning up a Yohan Croizet shot that deflected off the near post.
The visitors gradually took control of the match as they attacked to their left side at Marlon Hairston and Deklan Wynne. It led to a number of quality chances, forcing Tim Howard to make several goal line saves.
In the end, it was a substitute Diego Rubio goal that gave SKC a point. Khiry Shelton danced around in the box and found Rubio, who went between defenders to beat Howard at the far post from six yards out. Both sides traded chances in stoppage time, but the match ended in a 2-2 draw.
Three Things to Take Note of:
Rapids gap control: Both goals Colorado gave up in CONCACAF Champions League were due to collective defensive breakdowns after a Toronto FC player shot a gap. The Rapids did an excellent job in this game of tightly marking Sporting players. The outside center backs and wing backs were on the same page. Hudson’s men anticipated runs from the front three well. They prevented most fires instead of having to put them out.
Winds of Momentum: The wind was a major factor in this match, especially in the first half. The wind gusted all pregame and blew almost exclusively to the north in the first half (towards the Sporting goal). That had the Rapids with the winds at their back. On the other side, Sporting’s service was off thanks to the wind. It calmed down in the second half, making it easier for Sporting to play their game and serve balls into the box.
Chippy Play: This match was very physical and Head Referee Sorin Stoica let the lads play. It started with a first half yellow to Jack Price in the first half, that led to a huddle of players with some pushing and shoving. A second half tackle by Roger Espinoza on Enzo Martinez led to a similar response. Things got more physical (but not violent) after that as players tested the limits to win possession and stop counter attacks.