Aleksander Katai helps Chicago Fire comeback on Colorado Rapids in 2-2 draw

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COMMERCE CITY, CO - JUNE 01: Tim Howard #1 of Colorado Rapids takes a moment to himself against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on June 1, 2018 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (June 13, 2018) – Colorado Rapids drew Chicago Fire at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday night. After a fast start for the Rapids that saw then go up 2-0 just 14 minutes in, Aleksander Katai created two goals. The struggling teams shared the spoils.

Aleksander Katai helps Chicago Fire comeback on Colorado Rapids in 2-2 draw

The first half was action packed from beginning to end. Just six minutes in, Dominique Badji got the scoring started. Tommy Smith found him with a well-timed pass to the top of the box. Badji’s shot didn’t have much on it in terms of pace, but he picked the bottom corner to beat goalkeeper Richard Sanchez.

Eight minutes later, the Rapids scored on a corner. Jack Price played it short and ultimately found the forehead of defender Tommy Smith who smashed it into the back of the net. It was his first goal since joining the club.

The Rapids took their foot off the gas up two goals to try and absorb pressure. In the 20th minute, Aleksander Katai made a run down the flank and cut inside. He sent a low cross in front of goal that went off Danny Wilson’s right foot and into the top of the net.

Katai would then tie it up in the 23rd minute with a peach of a goal. Brandt Bronico found him with a long ball just outside of the box. Katai cut inside on Smith and chipped goalkeeper Tim Howard, sending the ball off the crossbar and in. The half ended 2-2.

Johan Blomberg had two chances to open the second half but could not convert. The rest of the half, the Fire were in control. Katai and Bastian Schweinsteiger were in the middle of the attack, getting the ball in dangerous areas but could not convert.

The Rapids looked to counter but also had trouble creating a winning chance. The match turned on its head in the 84th minute when VAR determined that Johan Kappelhof had gotten a high boot to substitute to Joe Mason. On a yellow, the center back was given a straight red card.

Both teams had excellent chances in stoppage time, but neither could convert. The final score was 2-2.

Three takeaways:

Rapids staying compact: This match had long stretches of possession for the Fire. They elected to sit deep at times to absorb pressure and counter. This burned them after going up 2-0, though they had a few good chances on the counter. Getting the ball to the middle of the field and converting was the problem, a theme of this season.

Katai conversion: Katai was hands down the man of the match. He directly created both goals for Chicago and was the chance creator all night. Katai floated from touchline to touchline, making it harder for Colorado to contain him and manager marking assignments. His movement was very effective.

Struggling teams share the spoils: Both of these teams came into this match below the red line. The Fire have had to get creative to earn results. The Rapids finally ended a nine-game losing streak. Both teams did some good things, but they ended up sharing the spoils, a fair result.

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