“When I talked to him in the offseason, we talked about ways he could help our group,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni told reporters postgame. “That was obviously case in point.”
It marked the debut goal in Burgundy for Gordon, who was brought on as a free agent signing by Colorado this past offseason. For the past three months, the 35-year-old has seen limited action, logging just 321 minutes total this season, having spent the early part of the campaign recovering from a preseason shoulder injury.
“It’s important,” Gordon said of the goal. “It’s always toughest to get your first and it’s been a tough first quarter of the season, especially for me getting on the score sheet. But this turns everything around. This opens the flood gates hopefully and hopefully gives us confidence going forward.”
After finding themselves down 1-0 at the hour mark after a Federico Higuain strike which deflected into their own net, Colorado scrapped to equalize with a Kevin Doyle tap-in 20 minutes later. Doyle immediately subbed off for Gordon, which set the stage for the winner.
“We’re a resilient bunch and that’s the theme of our squad,” Gordon explained. “We didn’t put our head down when we got scored against. We kept fighting and we got one. That’s the sign of good character and a good team.”
For Mastroeni, who’d been on the other side of past game-winners from Gordon as both a player and a head coach, it was comforting to see the tables turned.
“I remember seeing him as a player, seeing him coming on and thinking: ‘This is going to be a dogfight until the end,’” Mastroeni said. “I’m sure Columbus thought the same.”
Colorado improved to 4-8-1 on the season, with three of their four wins taken in the past five matches. Now only six points out of playoff contention, the feeling has changed from desperation to confidence within the Rapids locker room.
“I think we’ve always had a good locker room,” Gordon said. “But winning helps everything. When you’re winning, spirits are high and everybody’s flying. The vibe is good right now.”