COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – A nearby landfill wafted in the smell of fertilizer and garbage into Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night.
The easy analogy wasn’t lost on Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens, whose team dominated yet couldn’t get the desired result against Chivas USA as another ill-timed defensive blunder led to a 1-1 draw.
“Same [smell], different toilet,” the veteran netminder quipped. “It’s a little frustrating right now, but we just have to keep clawing.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Colorado 1, Chivas USA 1
With Colorado leading 1-0 through most of the game and outshooting Chivas 19-5, the Rapids appeared set to grab a much-needed three points against their fellow Western Conference strugglers.
But in the 83rd minute, Rojiblancos substitute Tristan Bowen’s cross went through Pickens’ outstretched arms and straight into the path of striker Juan Pablo Ángel, who pounced on the missed clearance for the late equalizer, stealing away points from the Rapids once again.
“It’s like a movie,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja told reporters postgame. “I thought the game was leaning towards us and we had chances and options, and defensively, we played very well. And we came out with one point. That’s the way it is, but it’s disappointing.”
Late defensive lapses have consistently plagued the Rapids in a 2-9-1 slump over their last 12 matches. On July 4, a missed clearance by the backline gifted the Vancouver Whitecaps their lone goal in a 1-0 win in a match Colorado dominated throughout.
Three days later, a missed assignment on a corner kick was the difference as the Rapids fell to the Seattle Sounders, 2-1. And on July 14, two second-half goals from FC Dallas handed Colorado yet another crushing 2-1 setback thanks to more defensive miscues.
Saturday night was simply the latest version of the Rapids’ interpretation of the movie Groundhog Day, leading to yet another disappointed and baffled locker room postgame.
“It’s a bad goal to give away,” defender Drew Moor said of Chivas’ goal. “Pickens was trying to do the right thing, grab it, punch it and it just happened to go right to Ángel. The goal just seems to be the way things are going for us right now.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.