COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — If you happened to glance at the stat sheet following the Colorado Rapids’ 3-2 victory on Saturday night over the Montreal Impact, a Rapids victory might have been the last thought to cross one’s mind.
In the largely one-sided affair, visiting Montreal dominated possession 60-40, nearly doubled the Rapids’ attempts on goal by a 17-9 count, and played a man up for the final half hour of the contest. Add that to the fact that five regular Colorado starters missed duty with injury, and the numbers added up to a sure defeat for the home team.
So just how exactly did the Rapids manage to walk away with three points?
Full Highlights: COL 3, MTL 2
“It’s something that you learn that the year is long and sometimes it takes skill, sometimes it takes guts, sometimes it takes a little witchcraft, but we figured it out somehow tonight and got three,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, who scored on a first-half penalty, told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “I think that having a break between now and our next MLS game, we wanted to get max points so we could sit on it for a bit.”
The Rapids can chalk up the victory to perhaps the strangest goal of their season to date. In the 83rd minute, Martín Rivero’s free kick found the head of Scott Palguta at the far post. Palguta’s leaping cross-goal header was tipped by Montreal ‘keeper Greg Sutton, skipped twice along the top of the crossbar and onto the fortunate head of Jaime Castrillón, who headed home for one of the stranger game-winners in recent Rapids memory.
“One of the things we haven’t done this season is deal with adversity,” said midfielder Kamani Hill, whose 74th-minute introduction provided an immediate offensive boost. “So building on last week’s game and this week’s game is so important for the team in the long run in building character and confidence.”
Last Saturday, the Rapids collected a share of the points against Sporting Kansas City despite an early 2-0 deficit, and this Saturday, they walked away winners despite the ominous numbers and an early 1-0 hole as well.
“I think it’s a great message from the players to all of us; the players who played today I think they gave everything they had in the field,” Rapids coach Oscar Pareja said postgame. “They know because I felt it in the locker room after the game that it was not our best game and we all know we were not sharp with the ball and we didn’t have the possession we’re used to [having]. But … it is all the credit for those players who were on the pitch today.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.