CCL Recap: Rapids stay alive with big 3-1 win at Metapán

Quincy Amarikwa

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The Colorado Rapids pulled off an unlikely 3-1 victory in El Salvador on Wednesday night against Isidro Metapán to keep their CONCACAF Champions league hopes very much alive.

With practically a reserve side, the Rapids bolted into second place in Group B after an upset 3-1 victory at Estadio Jorge Calero Suárez. With the victory, Colorado leapfrogged Metapán into second place in the Group B table with seven points.

The Rapids took the lead in the 31st minute from the most unlikely of sources, Eddie Ababio. The young defender took a quick pass from Ross LaBauex on the counterattack and dribbled 35 yards before lobbing Metapán goalkeeper Miguel Montes to score the first goal of the game against the run of play. The match marked Ababio’s professional debut.

Metapán, unbeaten in their previous four CCL games at home, had mustered most of the pressure in the first half and looked persistently dangerous on the counterattack, especially through Andrés Flores down the flanks.

That pressure paid off five minutes after Ababio’s shock goal when former New York Red Bulls defender Alfredo Pacheco scored from an indirect free kick just inside the penalty area. Allan Kardeck almost took the home side into the break 2-1 up when his strike rattled off the underside of the crossbar in stoppage time.

The momentum changed again early in the second half when Quincy Amarikwa scored in what was the major turning point of the match. The young forward, an energetic presence all night, picked up a high ball on the edge of the penalty area and blasted a well-struck volley towards goal. Montes should have done better, but suddenly the ball was in the back of the net and the Rapids were up 2-1.

The Salvadorans continued to press forward but, as time went on, they lost some of the spark they had displayed in the first half. Flores in particular looked nothing like the dangerous presence he had been in the opening 45 minutes.

As Metapán became increasingly frustrated, they had just about all the remaining wind taken out of their sails in the 77th minute when Omar Cummings, a second-half substitute, latched onto a long ball from Mike Holody. The Jamaican striker found himself alone on Montes and calmly volleyed the ball past Montes.

The Rapids next face a huge trip to Mexico to face group leaders Santos Laguna on Oct. 19. With a victory or a draw, Colorado can advance to the CCL quarterfinals.