COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- For about 45 seconds on Saturday afternoon, it appeared that the Colorado Rapids were going to get away with a victory despite a lengthy list of missed first half opportunities.
But less than a minute after Vicente Sanchez’s second penalty kick goal of the day put the Rapids up 2-1 in the 78th minute, Benny Feilhaber retorted with a goal of his own to even things back up, and Dom Dwyer’s last-gasp winner eventually gave Sporting Kansas City the 3-2 win on Saturday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Five second-half goals dictated the outcome on the scoreboard, but the Rapids’ inability to capitalize in a scoreless first half may have decided Saturday’s contest more than anything else.
“I’m more about what happened and how we can correct it moving forward,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said postgame of the Rapids’ missed opportunities in the first half. “I don’t like to [look back on those sorts of] things too much.”
At some point, the Rapids will score a goal that doesn’t come from the penalty spot. That, however, did not happen on Saturday, as both of Colorado’s goals came via penalty, giving them five penalty kick goals in their first three games of the season.
It might be a bit of a fluke, but the Rapids were unable to convert on several opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, which were thoroughly dominated by the home side. Nick LaBrocca mis-hit a ball perhaps a yard in front of the goal line after a terrific feed from Sanchez in the 22nd minute, Edson Buddle’s blast was well saved by Eric Kronberg just a minute later, and later on in the half Kronberg’s fingertips kept out Dillon Powers’ free kick and Drew Moor missed a wide-open header in a tantalizing opening 45 for the Rapids.
“I think we needed to convert better in the first half,” Sanchez said postgame. “We had a good first half with lots of chances, but we couldn’t get the advantage. We lacked a little bit on the finishing end.”
So while the offense came alive from the penalty spot in the second half, the golden missed chances of the first were the difference in handing Colorado at least a share of the points on Saturday.
“It’s a funny game sometimes,” Moor said postgame. “The [first half header] was in the sun pretty much the entire time, so I didn’t get a good look at it. A couple other half-chances for us that if we put away, it might be a different story.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.