COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Last week, the Colorado Rapids played in sweltering heat in Houston and got a point despite taking a lead. On Sunday night, back at home in a driving rain and swirling win, the story was the same.
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The Rapids went ahead in the opening 15 minutes through Omar Cummings, but surrendered the lead 20 minutes later when Juan Pablo Angel blasted home an equalizer on a corner kick.
In both cases, the Rapids controlled most of the game, but failed to finish when the pivotal moments came.
“We had not just good territorial advantage, but also some nice opportunities,” coach Gary Smith said after the match. “Some nice link play to open up the back four, which was pleasing. There was just some frustration for our guys in front of goal. That is the word of the night—frustrating.”
The Rapids created a number of opportunities in the second half as the Red Bulls hung back further trying to protect the point. Mehdi Ballouchy struck a fearsome shot against the woodwork in the 68th minute, Colin Clark fired just wide in the 76th minute and Conor Casey glanced a header narrowly wide two minutes later. Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson also came close to clinching a winner.
But chasing a late winner wouldn't have been necessary if a first-half goal from Ballouchy had been allowed. The midfielder scored what looked like a good goal but the play was called all the way back to the halfway line for a foul against the Rapids.
“My one disappointment was, ‘Why was the second goal disallowed?’” Smith said. “[It’s a] fair challenge, a coming together of the bodies, the ball popped loose and we broke away and scored. If it was a foul, just bring it back. Why let us go ahead and score?”
Symptomatic of the night, the disallowed goal was then followed by Angel’s goal. The veteran striker found himself in just the amount of space he needed to blast home from close range after Drew Moor failed to clear with a header from a corner.
“The set piece gets them back in the game again and that changes the course of events,” Smith said.
Larentowicz said the weather conditions didn’t help much, especially at the beginning of the second half when the heavens opened and it got very cold. But he was making no excuses for the team not clinching the victory.
“It’s happened to us before,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “We felt that we pretty much dominated the game. It’s unfortunate that we lost on the restart. To have that much possession and not score more is very disappointing.”
Scott Palguta, who got the start in the heart of the defense with Julien Baudet still injured, echoed the frustration felt by the Rapids who nevertheless extended their unbeaten league run to six games.
“When we are at home, that’s not a point gained, it’s two points lost,” Palguta said. “We were obviously very dominant and hopefully we can keep that going and maybe next week make it into a win somehow.”