Colorado Rapids earn some pride in Houston win, but not "popping champagne"

HOUSTON – It was one moment of quality that gave the Colorado Rapids their first win in the past nine games.

That Dominique Badji's match-winning goal against the Houston Dynamo came in injury time just solidifies what Rapids interim head coach Steve Cooke wants from his squad as the season winds down.

"More for me is being proud of the players because they've been putting in the work and they finally got a little bit of a reward for that work," Cooke, who got his first points in five games leading the Rapids, said after the game. "But that's what it takes to win. You've got to work. You've got to be strong. You've got to be tough. You've got to be determined and you have to have quality."

But Cooke is careful to not sing his team's praises too much.

"We're happy but we can't be popping champagne at this point because we've [only] got one win in the last nine games," Cooke said of his last place Rapids.

The win is the Rapids' first since beating the Dynamo 3-1 at home in July. So how were the Rapids able to contain a Dynamo team that entered Saturday's contest unbeaten at home and that has scored 33 goals at the confines of BBVA Compass Stadium?

"I think we contained them quite well," Cooke said. "We made sure there wasn't too much space behind us for players like [Romell] Quioto and [Alberth] Elis, and [Erick] Torres and [Mauro] Manotas to run into."

The win is the first road victory for the Rapids this season. Oddly enough, their last road win came against the Dynamo, which coincidentally featured a brace from Badji, Colorado's hero in the 92nd minute of Saturday's contest.

Saturday's win also came on the heels of a debilitating loss to the LA Galaxy on Sept. 2, and though the Rapids have been realistically out of playoff contention for the while, the win represented an important step in their season.

"I think at this point we're just playing for pride. A lot of the performance we've put forward we're not really proud of," Badji said.  "At this point, everybody is fighting for something bigger than just the win."

With seven games remaining, the Rapids players and coaches are all fighting for their jobs, Cooke said. They see getting their first road victory as a positive, and Cooke wants more of the same.

"Let's not go organizing parades. It's three points that's what it is," Cooke said. "And we have seven more games and we need that same effort in seven more games."