The Colorado Rapids find themselves reliant on Thursday night’s game between Isidro Metapán and Real España after they crashed to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Group B winners Santos Laguna on Wednesday in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The Rapids needed a win to secure the runners-up spot in Group B, but well taken second-half goals by veteran Aarón Galindo and young Jesús Escoboza within the space of 12 minutes consolidated the Mexican side’s position at the top of the group. The Rapids now need a draw from Thursday night’s game to qualify for the quarterfinals of the competition.
Both Santos Laguna goals came from well-taken first-time shots. Galindo picked up a cross from José Antonio Olvera after a giveaway by the Rapids defense in the 55th minute, powering a full-volley past Steward Ceus from the edge of the penalty area. A great ball from Luis García in between the Rapids’ central defenders was met with an equally impressive volley by Escoboza to make it 2-0 in the 67th.
The Rapids weren’t able to finish with anything like the quality the home side showed. Caleb Folan went the closest in the first half when he found himself bearing in on goal in the 30th minute after a turnover in midfield. The ball seemed to get caught under his feet and he was only able to blast the ball well wide.
That was pretty much it for the Rapids until the late stages when Santos Laguna were already two goals to the good.
Much of that attacking threat came from second-half substitute Sanna Nyassi, who created some havoc out on the left flank. The Gambian crossed for Folan in the 80th minute, but the big striker could not get any purchase on the ball.
Omar Cummings also created some chances after he came on close to the hour mark. In the 85th minute, the Jamaican tried to lift the ball over Santos Laguna goalkeeper Miguel Becerra but the latter did well to deflect the ball. Two minutes later, Cummings carved out a good opening but shot tamely into Bercerra’s gloves.
Wells Thompson, who tucked into a more central role in the second half, also found himself with a few chances but could not convert amid solid defending and goalkeeping from the Santos Laguna side.
The Rapids started in unusual formation with Kosuke Kimura playing at right midfield instead of at his normal right back. Santos Laguna were missing seven starters from the weekend.
Colorado return home Thursday in time for another flight up to Vancouver on Friday for their last regular-season MLS game. They need a win in Canada to consolidate their second wild card position and secure a home play-in game next week.