COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The first half went mostly in favor of the Colorado Rapids, but it wasn’t until the second that the Fourth of July hosts finally made it count in a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls in front of a sold-out crowd at Dick’s Sporting Good’s Park on Thursday night.
Midfielder Nathan Sturgis opened the scoring in the 47th minute and substitute Deshorn Brown pillowed the lead 21 minutes later for a Rapids team (7-7-6, 26 points) that won back-to-back games for the first time since early May.
For the Red Bulls (8-7-5, 29 points), the loss was the third in their last four league matches. It also marked the second time they have been shutout in their last three games.
After a dull first half in which both teams struggled to create much from the run of play, Sturgis top-shelved a chance inches from the goal-line two minutes into the second half after the ball bounced off Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles. It started from a corner kick that was looped high into the thin Colorado air before a shot was unleashed at Robles, who could only parry it back into the crowd in front of him.
The goal seemed to inject the Rapids with plenty of confidence, as they began sending waves of attacks at a New York back line that struggled to keep up. Brown, who entered the game at halftime, then doubled Colorado's lead by netting on a sliding effort following a Chris Klute cross in the 68th minute.
The Red Bulls tried to respond by making a pair of offensive substitutions, but even that was not enough to help them create goal-scoring chances against a Rapids defense that was led by a standout performance from Shane O'Neill.
New York came closest to scoring in the first half when the game was still scoreless, but Thierry Henry sent a low shot wide of the target in the 22nd minute.
The Rapids face a short turnaround before their next game, as they face D.C. United on July 7. The Red Bulls, meanwhile, don't return to action until they host the Montreal Impact on July 13.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Chris Klute||Terrorized the Red Bulls' right flank with his speed and crosses, and set up the insurance goal by stripping Dax McCarty of the ball in his own half.|
|2||Deshorn Brown||Came off the bench at halftime and made an immediate impact, using his blazing speed to challenge New York's centerbacks before ultimately scoring the Rapids' second.|
|3||Shane O'Neill||A quiet but strong performance against the likes of Fabian Espindola and Thierry Henry. Recovered well to deny Henry of a sure chance on goal late in the first half.|