Kevin Doyle Returns: Rapids Win To Eliminate Quakes From Playoffs

COMMERCE CITY, CO. - OCTOBER 01: Sebastien Le Toux (7), at right, of Colorado Rapids celebrates his goal along with teammates 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 13, 2016)Kevin Doyle returned to the Colorado Rapids Starting XI. The striker tallied a brace leading Colorado to a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. Two penalties were called in the match, but the Rapids outlasted the Quakes. Colorado control their destiny in the Western Conference. The Quakes are now out of the 2016 MLS Cup Playofs.

Kevin Doyle Returns: Rapids Win To Eliminate Quakes From Playoffs

Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni was able to put Kevin Doyle back in the Starting XI. He slotted him in at the No. 10 role. Dominique Badji once again started up top. Sebastian Le Toux and Shkelzen Gashi both started in the midfield. With Sam Cronin unavailable, Dillon Powers started in a holding role. Goalkeeper Tim Howard wore the Captain’s Armband.

Quakes manager Dom Kinnear started his typical lineup with San Jose’s playoff hopes on the line. Chris Wondolowski started up top with Simon Dawkins. The Panamaniacs Alberto Quintero and Anibal Godoy started in midfield. Tommy Thompson got a rare start at right mid. David Bingham of course started in goal.

First Half:

The visitors got out on the front foot. San Jose was very active in the opening 15 minutes, getting numbers forward and getting shot attempts. Colorado settled into the game later. Both teams traded spells of control, but neither could muster quality chances. Both defenses were excellent in critical situations. The Rapids were particularly good, blocking three of San Jose’s four first half shots.

Colorado got more in rhythm as the half went on. Doyle and Badji got more used to each other in their roles, and it paid off in the 38th minute. Badji won the ball in the final third and got it out wide to Marc Burch. Burch ran forward and fired a cross into the box.

Doyle made a run into the box and headed the ball top far corner. Burch’s cross split the defender and keeper perfectly to find the striker.

The Rapids got one more chance before half time. Badji got loose in the box, rounded Bingham and fired a shot to the middle of the goal, but Victor Bernardez was able to save it off the line. The replay showed he was able to keep it out.

The half ended 1-0 with no players carded.

Second Half:

Just minutes into the second stanza, the Rapids had a scare. Wondolowski took a free kick that Howard was unable to handle. Second half sub Henok Goitom pounced on it, but fired it wide.

In the 56th minute, Eric Miller was called for a foul inside the box on Quintero. Wondolowski stepped up and slotted it past Howard to tie the game 1-1.

The Quakes appeared to be on the front foot after tying it up. Colorado looked shell shocked, unable to get the ball up field quickly with numbers.

Colorado earned a penalty of their own in the 72nd minute. Powers was fouled in the box on a corner. Doyle stepped up to take the PK and beat Bingham to take the lead back, 2-1.

The Rapids turned up the pressure after that, creating several good chances. Doyle and Badji took turns making runs into the box. Doyle in particular was playing with his hair on fire.

San Jose tried to press for an equalizer, but Colorado played stout defensively and didn’t let them get any dangerous shots off. The match ended 2-1.

Closing Thoughts:

The Quakes just ran out of gas, this season and this year. They have a lot of good workmanlike players, but they relied too much on emergency defending. Wondolowski is too much of their offense, with depth scoring limited.

Colorado got a much needed gut-check win, coming back from giving up a lead. Kevin Doyle played like a designated player tonight. He and Badji got better together as the game went along. They were very dangerous together on the counter. The ball movement was still a bit stuttered at time, but it got the job done. That’s so Rapids 2016.

Most importantly, the Rapids are still in position to win the Supporters’ Shield. If they win out the season, no matter what FC Dallas does, Colorado will win their first ever Shield.

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