COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Colorado Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja doesn’t like to speak about moral victories. But on Saturday night, when the Rapids fought back from a 2-0 deficit after 15 minutes to earn a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City, he couldn’t help but be happy with his team’s resolve.
“I have to be honest as well and I say that of all the points that we have gotten so far, I think this one has a big, big meaning for the team because it shows a lot of character, a lot of personality, a lot of passion and desire,” Pareja said following Saturday’s draw, the first of the season for the 5-6-1 Rapids.
“They didn’t give up during the game, even though in the first 15 minutes I thought we were in a big hole, a big hole, and we were trying to answer them. And they came into the locker room and they found answers. I’ve got to give the credit to them.”
After Teal Bunbury took advantage of sloppy Rapids defending in the match’s opening 15 minutes – Pareja called his back line’s early performance “unacceptable” after the game – Colorado began to dominate possession and eventually turned that advantage into two second-half goals and an unlikely share of the points. Celebratory music blared out of the Rapids locker room following the tie and, postgame, a relieved look took hold of a squad that had looked doomed to their third defeat in four matches.
“Every battle, every tackle, we tried to win everything,” said defender Kosuke Kimura, whose close-range shot in the 60th-minute capped the comeback. “Who knows what’s going to happen? You’ve got to keep going. It was good.”
Still, the Rapids also realized that they can’t drop valuable points at home. With four of their next five games in the friendly confines of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Colorado will be looking for better results.
“We need to make sure we get those points,” Kimura said of Saturday’s upcoming home tilt against Montreal (9 pm ET, MLS Live). “We can’t drop anymore of those points at home. Like last year, we tied too many games. We can’t tie those games at home.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.