Without Tim Howard, Colorado Rapids lose "emotional" game

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – In dramatic fashion, the Colorado Rapids saw their home undefeated streak not just evaporate, but transform into the team’s first home loss of 2017, falling 2-1 to rivals Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

“We did enough tonight to win the game, we just weren’t clinical enough tonight in front of goal and we conceded two terrible goals,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said postgame.

On the back of Kevin Doyle’s 29th minute goal, the Rapids carried a 1-0 lead into the game’s final moments. Then a handball from Jared Watts led to a Yura Movsisyan equalizer for RSL, which the Cobalt and Claret followed up with Brooks Lennon’s 88th minute game winner.

“It’s an emotional game. We left it for too late,” Mastroeni continued. “I think it’s everything. You can’t put a finger on it. Nothing happens in isolation. There’s 22 human beings with three referees that are throwing emotions into this little ball and it’s moving around the field. It’s crazy. It is a game of emotion and that’s why two goals were conceded in the last five minutes.”

With Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard suspended for three matches following an altercation with a fan last week in Kansas City, Zac MacMath was called on to make his second start for the Rapids this season. Prior to the goals from RSL, the 25-year-old found himself relatively untested. But Mastroeni maintained a positive outlook regarding MacMath’s performance.

“I thought it was pretty good,” said Mastroeni. “He didn’t have much to do, to be honest with you until the latter part of the game. His distribution was pretty good and he created some good attacking options for us. Again, it was a night of two silly decisions on our part and some poor defending in our area which sealed our fate.”

Despite the late announcement of Howard’s suspension on Friday, it didn’t throw a curveball in Salt Lake’s preparations for the rivalry match.

“No, it didn’t [change preparation],” explained Movsisyan. “...Honestly it didn’t change anything. Tim is a great goalkeeper but at the end of the day, he’s a goalkeeper so there’s not much he does on the field. For us, it was more about ourselves.”

With the loss, Colorado saw its winless streak extended to four-straight. Mastroeni gave a blunt assessment of the current state of affairs at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

“I feel like dog poop,” he said. “I feel terrible.”