Rapids catch break, salvage point

Colorado Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo was eventually pleased his team got a point Saturday night in a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas. He just wasn't happy how his club got there.

Clavijo saw his team allow two goals in the opening 25 goals, as Greg Vanney scored on a direct free kick and Roberto Mina hit a long-range bomb that fooled Colorado 'keeper Joe Cannon.

"We were not prepared from the beginning. We gave (Mina) too much space. Our game plan was to come out and pressure and our two forwards and midfielders did it but nobody else did and we left a gap," Clavijo said.

"They didn't create anything, we just gave it to them. They took three shots in the first half and two were goals and one disallowed. As a team we need to do better, as a team we need to prepare better."

Still, Clavijo saw his team pull back level to a 2-2 tie by halftime.

"We fought back. What I told the team was that these results last year were better. If we were a little bit lucky we would have won the game. This seems like a loss. We should have done better but, again, we gave up two early goals, very easy goals," he said.

"Then we put together an incredible effort to come back. At the end we wanted to win the game. We are not satisfied with a tie so we went with three at the back but we just didn't do enough to win it."

Jovan Kirovski, who scored from the penalty spot to cut the lead in half, felt that a draw was a bit of a disappointment but was happy with getting a point. The penalty kick conversion was Kirovski's third goal of the season.

"It was disappointing to get a draw at home but we fought back from being down two-nil off of two incredible goals," Kirovski said. "It's great to be on the score sheet and great to get a draw at least."

Part of the second-half charge included opening day starters Clint Mathis and Dedi Ben-Dayan, who both returned to action coming off the substitutes' bench after missing last week's match through injury.

Mathis, who suffered a knee injury in the 5-2 season-opening defeat to Houston Dynamo, came on in the 59th minute and featured well, playing in the hole just behind the forwards. He did not seem fazed by the injury which appeared to look worse than it actually was.

"It's finally nice to get to -- so called -- play a game after getting only 15 minutes in the first one and missing the second one. It was nice to get out there in front of the home crowd," said Mathis. "I thought I had one t(goal) here off of that (long) shot. I'm looking forward to the next game in two weeks against Houston."

The Rapids have a bye week this upcoming weekend, but face Houston Dynamo on April 29. Kirovski is happy with the bye week and sees it as rest period for those players nursing injuries.

"I think it is important that we have two weeks to prepare to get back guys who have been injured. We have Clint and Dedi who might come back into the starting lineup," Kirovski said. "Hopefully we can get the 11 that we had in the preseason back in the frame again. The other guys came in and did great but it's tough when you are mixing and matching."

Tom Buck is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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