If you had to sum up the Colorado Rapids’ last two months in a five-minute sequence, the 32nd through 37th minutes of Friday night’s 5-1 loss at Real Salt Lake would serve as a good capsule.
A great Joao Plata goal – off a beautiful back heel from Ned Grabavoy -- got Real Salt Lake back on level terms in the 32nd minute after Jose Mari’s terrific 21st minute opener. Admittedly, there was not much Colorado could do there.
But a minute later, and Javier Morales sent a corner kick in that went into the goal (with what looked like help from a Rapids deflection) and RSL had the 2-1 lead. Then, four minutes later, Rapids goalie Joe Nasco bobbled a ball straight into his own net, a blunder that made it 3-1 Real Salt Lake in the blink of an eye.
A tough break, a defensive meltdown and a gift of a goal – the perfect but only way to sum up the Rapids’ nightmare of a summer.
“I think we played we probably our best 25 minutes of the season, coupled with probably our worst 25 minutes of the season,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said in summing up his thoughts on Friday night’s loss. “I think anytime you’re gifting goals the way we did tonight, it’s impossible to win.”
The numbers are striking. The Rapids have been outscored 29 to 9 over a now nine-game winless skid – a stunning 3.22 goals allowed per game. Over their last two road games, they’ve given up 11 goals. A franchise-worst seven-game losing streak was snapped last Saturday night with a 2-2 draw against Portland, only for the humiliation of Friday night to conclude the summer with their worst-ever loss to their bitter arch-rivals.
At this point, perhaps, the Rapids can only look forward for hope and better days.
“Having a hand in a lot of their goals can’t happen,” Mastroeni said. “These are experiences that you’d hope, having gone through what we’ve gone through the last two months, you’d rectify. That can only be done on the field.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.