Recap: Smith rallies SKC to hand Rapids fifth-straight draw

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - The Colorado Rapids settled for their fifth consecutive draw on Saturday night, wasting the first goal of the season from Conor Casey en route to a to a 1-1 deadlock against Sporting Kansas City at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Ryan Smith scored his first goal of the year in the 75th minute to cancel out Casey’s goal in the 13th minute and help Sporting (1-6-2) snap a five-game losing streak.

Colorado (4-3-6), meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last seven games, but have not won since May 4.

Casey, enjoying only his second start in almost two months as he recovers from a hamstring injury, latched onto a poor back pass from Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin in the early going, edged his way around goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen and slid the ball left-footed towards the goal.

Sporting defender Matt Besler could not deflect the ball away and helped it in.

Collin made another poor pass across goal in the 63rd minute which eventually led to a wide-open opportunity for Jeff Larentowicz. The Rapids midfielder, however, skied the ball over the bar from inside the box with just Nielsen to beat.

The miss proved costly not long after, as Smith found ample room on the left of the Rapids penalty area and finished well into the top right corner past goalkeeper Matt Pickens.

Andre Akpan, who came on as a second half substitute, nearly found the final touch on a couple of occasions late but was unable to convert, while Sporting striker Teal Bunbury skied a chance over the bar from close range during stoppage time.

There was some light on the horizon for the Rapids’ injury situation, as Caleb Folan came off the bench with about 20 minutes to go for a run up top with Casey. Folan had been out injured with a groin problem since May 7.

But the curse struck again with the unfortunate Joseph Nane injuring his right shoulder in the 54th minute after coming on as a second half substitute for Sanna Nyassi. Marvell Wynne was also absent from the game for the final minutes as the Rapids played one man short.

The Rapids return to action against Philadelphia on June 4 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, while Sporting play at Toronto FC in the final road game before opening the new Livestrong Sporting Park on June 9 against Chicago.

Scoring Summary:
COL -- Conor Casey 1 (unassisted) 13
KC -- Ryan Smith 1 (Teal Bunbury 2) 75

Sporting KC -- Jimmy Nielsen, Michael Harrington, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic (Ryan Smith 46), Chance Myers, Omar Bravo (Birahim Diop 85), Davy Arnaud, Craig Rocastle, Graham Zusi, C.J. Sapong (Teal Bunbury 54).
Substitutes Not Used: Julio Cesar, Luke Sassano, Milos Stojcev, Eric Kronberg.

Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Ross LaBauex (Caleb Folan 73), Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Sanna Nyassi (Joseph Nane 46) (Andre Akpan 57), Wells Thompson, Conor Casey.
Substitutes Not Used: Quincy Amarikwa, Scott Palguta, Anthony Wallace, Steward Ceus.

Misconduct Summary:
KC -- Michael Harrington (caution; Tactical Foul) 41
COL -- Ross LaBauex (caution; Tactical Foul) 45
COL -- Pablo Mastroeni (caution; Reckless Foul) 82
KC -- Omar Bravo (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 84

Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry; Ian Anderson
4th Official: Mark Declouet
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Cloudy-and-61-degrees
Attendance: 16,439