COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Part One of the Colorado Rapids' season has made a pretzel out of their fans’ stomachs at times
And at first, Thursday night looked no different.
It was another familiar sight, as the Rapids went into halftime scoreless despite having a number of chances, including on one that saw midfielder Nathan Sturgis drill a point-blank shot into the gut of New York Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles in the 37th minute.
OPTA Chalkboard: Deshorn Brown provides immediate spark off bench for Rapids
“I made good contact,” Sturgis said. “Unfortunately, I can’t just hit it right at the goalie.”
But then, for the second-consecutive game against one of the Eastern Conference’s best, everything suddenly bounced the Rapids’ way. And thanks to goals from Sturgis and Deshorn Brown, along with a brick-wall defense, the Rapids ousted the Red Bulls 2-0 in front of a frenzied Fourth of July crowd at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
“We’ve started doing things like were supposed to,” said Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja before he made his way out to watch the post-game fireworks. “Our defense was better. And we are finally putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Sturgis did just that for the Rapids on his second chance of the game on Thursday night. In the 47th minute, shots from teammates hit Red Bulls defenders and Sturgis himself before the ball finally settled right in front of the midfielder, who was five yards away from goal.
“The ball just kept finding me,” said a smiling Sturgis, who stroked the ball into the top corner to give the Rapids the 1-0 lead. “I think the ball just kind of does that when things are going well for your team.”
Brown added an insurance strike 21 minutes later to ensure that Colorado would win consecutive games for the first time since May, and Pareja said he believes the team’s momentum can further continue, especially since the Rapids' next two games are at home.
“This league is very tough and we are all tight together,” he said. “But we have two at home and we are starting to do things right. If we continue doing that we can keep getting the results we want.”