Two teams with their October plans already settled battled to a 1-1 tie on Wednesday night, as the Colorado Rapids and Chivas USA shared the points in a game where the scoreboard did not do justice to the attacking soccer on display.
A beautiful Dedi Ben Dayan strike and a Nat Borchers own goal two minutes apart in the first half comprised the scoring on a night that saw many beautiful buildups but little in the way of good finishing.
The Rapids knocked on the door early, earning the first scoring chance of the game in the second minute. A quick counterattack found Ben Dayan open on the left wing, and he took the ball toward the end line before cutting a pass back to the top of the box where Kyle Beckerman was streaking forward unmarked. But Beckerman's shot was mishit and went safely past the left post.
Chivas came close to scoring in the 12th minute on a counterattack of their own, but Matt Taylor's shot from 25 yards went just wide of the net.
Chivas had another good scoring opportunity, this time off of a corner kick, come to naught in the 13th minute. Both Chivas' Ezra Hendrickson and Colorado's Mike Petke rose to head the ball but neither could connect with it and after the ball pinged around the box for a few seconds Rapids 'keeper Byron Foss was able to smother it.
The Rapids defense luckily averted yet another Chivas scoring chance in the 23rd minute. A long cross from midfield found Arturo Torres unmarked on the right wing and his cross to the back post found Francisco Palencia, but his header went right off Petke's leg and out for a corner.
Colorado made Chivas regret their many missed opportunities in the 33rd minute. After a quick free kick restart, Alain Nkong fed Ben Dayan a pass at the top of the penalty area. Ben Dayan took the ball deep into the box on the left before firing a shot from a tight angle that went over 'keeper Sergio Garcia and into the far side netting. It was the Israeli international's fourth tally, all in the last four games.
Chivas quickly tied the game in the 35th minute off of a quick counterattack. Matt Taylor's hard cross from the left side of the Colorado area caromed off of Borchers' thigh and wrong-footed Foss whose dive was too late to prevent the own goal as it looped over him.
The second half began with the Rapids controlling most of the possession, which they quickly turned into a good scoring chance in the 49th minute. Nkong made a slashing run through the midfield that culminated with a quick one-two with Peguero, that left Nkong with a free shot. However his effort skipped wide past the post.
Chivas missed a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 54th minute. Ramon Ramirez played a nice scooped pass over the Rapids defense to Juan Pablo Garcia. Foss came out to block the shot, and Garcia played a nice pass back to the onrushing Taylor. But amazingly Taylor missed the shot from three yards out, sending the ball over the bar.
The last 20 minutes of the game saw Chivas bunker with the Rapids controlling the majority of possession but having trouble cracking the determined Chivas defense. And with Chivas not connecting on any of their counter-attacking forays, neither side greatly troubled the other over the final stretches.
The tie leaves Colorado with 41 points, four behind the Los Angeles Galaxy and five behind FC Dallas, as they still chase those two teams for a higher playoff seed. For Chivas, it was a second consecutive positive result on the road, after winning the first road game in club history last weekend in Columbus.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Alain Nkong (Colorado Rapids)
Geoffrey Urland is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.