COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Pardon José Gonçalves if he wants to take up a major national airline carrier and just “get away”.
The New England Revolution center back’s own-goal in the 67th minute was the difference as the Colorado Rapids came back to record a 2-1 win over New England at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday night, gifting Colorado their third win in four matches thanks in large part to a woeful evening from Gonçalves.
Juan Toja’s first goal in MLS since July 2008 had the visiting Revs on pace for their first win in Colorado in over a decade, but Nick LaBrocca’s dazzling second half equalizer and Gonçalves' sliding own-goal five minutes later extended the Rapids’ unbeaten streak to four games while handing New England their second straight defeat.
The Revolution stayed in sixth in the East with 24 points, while the Rapids inched into a tie for fifth in the West with the Galaxy at 30 points on the season.
Gonçalves in particular had a night to forget. On LaBrocca’s 62nd-minute goal, he was badly beaten on a cutback, while his accidental own-goal in the 67th completed Colorado’s comeback.
Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja switched to a 4-3-3 formation at the half, giving his once lifeless offense the spark it needed to collect the three points.
Colorado got off to the brighter side of the two teams. In the ninth minute, Hendry Thomas’ through ball set up rookie striker Deshorn Brown with a one-on-one chance with Revs ‘keeper Bobby Shuttleworth, but Brown pushed his open effort just wide of goal.
A few minutes later, though, and the Revolution got their lone strike of the night against the run of play. Toja’s free kick just outside the penalty box fooled Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin, who froze as Jerry Bengtson screened Irwin while Toja’s low blast went into the corner of the net for the early 1-0 lead.
The goal appeared the suck the momentum out of the home team, with the Rapids dominating possession but little in the way of chances to show for it. New England went into the half leading 1-0.
Out of the break, Rapids substitute Atiba Harris blasted an attempt on goal in the 53rd, but Edson Buddle’s point blank follow-up was shot into the side netting.
A few minutes later, however, and the Rapids finally found the back of the net. Just outside the penalty box, the veteran LaBrocca had a nifty cutback that forced Gonçalves off his feet, opening just enough space for the 28-year-old to drive a low left-footed strike into the corner of Shuttleworth’s goal.
Just five minutes later, and the Rapids went ahead with a little help from their old friend Gonçalves. Rookie Dillon Powers’ cross went just in front of goal, but unaware of Shuttleworth behind him, Gonçalves tried to clear the danger but inadvertently put the ball in the back of his own net, giving the Rapids the 2-1 lead in the 67th minute.
Despite taking the lead, Colorado maintained the pressure over the final 25 minutes of the contest. LaBrocca dinged the post in the 77th minute on another effort from distance, while Chris Klute's one-on-one effort in the 85th was well saved by Shuttleworth.
The Revolution continue on their three-game road trip with a date in Columbus on Saturday night at Crew Stadium (7:30 pm ET, watch it on MLS Live), while the Rapids also hit the road for a Saturday afternoon matinee against the Sounders at CenturyLink Field (4 pm ET, watch it on MLS Live).
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Nick LaBrocca||Although he's played a defensive role all season for Colorado, showed his full two-way game in this match.|
|2||Stephen McCarthy||Had to leave the game early due to injury, but while on the field cleaned up teammates' mistakes and kept Revs in the game|
|3||Deshorn Brown||Couldn't get on the board himself, but was a difficult presence for New England's defense all night, and was a good outlet for teammates|