COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids didn’t quite get the full monkey off of their collective backs, but they at least started the process of lightening the load.
In the Rapids’ 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers on Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Colorado collected its first point since July 25th and snapped a franchise-worst seven-game losing streak.
Despite conceding a 76th-minute equalizer to miss out on full points, the mood in the Rapids’ locker room postgame was still one of mild relief after ending the brutal losing skid, which saw Colorado get outscored by a combined 22-6 scoreline over the course of the streak.
“We came up for air [with] this game with a point,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni told reporters postgame on Saturday. “Now, it’s what we do with it going into a difficult place to play [at Real Salt Lake on Friday night]. I love it. I wouldn’t want to go somewhere easy. We’re like a cornered animal. We want to fight. That’s where our mindset is at.”
After coming out mostly on the front foot, the Rapids conceded a goal just before the half, but they went up on a controversial penalty call in the 48th minute and took the lead on Deshorn Brown’s 66th-minute header, giving the Rapids their first lead since August 20th.
Asked postgame if he was more relieved to end the losing streak or disappointed to give up a late goal to miss out on the victory, Mastroeni chose to point out the positives – essentially by force.
“There’s been so much to be upset about over the last seven games that it’d be suicidal for me to sit here and point out the negatives in getting a result,” Mastroeni said. “Coming back from a goal after what we’ve been through and then going up and then fighting to the end and creating opportunities. It’s going to take that same type of attitude and grit to go [to Real Salt Lake] and get a result.”
Players also took the half-glass-full stance from the draw. Defender Shane O’Neill, making his first appearance since July 12th after missing two months with a knee injury, echoed his head coach by highlighting Saturday’s positives after a summer of agony.
“It’s something to build off of,” O’Neill told reporters postgame. “Obviously, if we could’ve held out that would’ve been huge. At the end of the day, we hadn’t gotten a point [since July 25th]. So, it’s good.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.