The Colorado Rapids came into Saturday's match vs. FC Dallas with nothing to lose or gain – they had already been eliminated from the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs contention 10 days earlier. Meanwhile FC Dallas virtually needed a win to stay in the playoffs and couldn't waste their opportunity in Colorado. But it was the Rapids, not FC Dallas, that came out strong and nabbed an early lead, forcing Dallas to eventually settle for a 1-1 draw.
Defender Axel Sjoberg nearly got the Rapids on the board after just five minutes, knocking a shot off the post, but the home side's first goal wouldn't take much longer to arrive. In just the 15th minute, Joshua Gatt had a nice flick-on into the path of Stefan Aigner, who popped the ball up on his first touch but finished with a lovely volleyed strike.
The second half, however, saw a momentum shift in favor of FC Dallas. Goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez made a massive save in the 51st minute that preserved the score – and then Atiba Harris went to the other end and equalized for Dallas.
The result marginally improved Dallas' chances to make the playoffs and they moved above the playoff line with two matches left in the regular season.
- WAS ONE POINT ENOUGH?: Although FC Dallas weren't at risk of being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs without a win in Colorado, one point doesn't do much to get them out of a very crowded table in the Western Conference and their playoff hopes look a little dimmer. Dallas moved up to 43 points, good enough for sixth place, which is the last spot above the playoff line. But Real Salt Lake and the San Jose Earthquakes are one point away with the same number of matches left in the season, two. Any of those three teams can make it in with a strong finish to the season – and if Dallas isn't the team that does it, they will rue a missed opportunity in Colorado.
- GOOD HANDS, GONZALEZ: Whether the point ends up being enough, it's certainly better than zero points, which is what FC Dallas would probably have if not for Jesse Gonzalez. The young goalkeeper made a stunner of a save early in the second half, keeping FC Dallas from conceding what could've easily been a goal. Moments later, the ball was at the other end via an equalizer from Atiba Harris. The favorite for MLS Save of the Week is here.
- CAN THE RAPIDS FINISH STRONG? The Rapids' season is done for, but they are surely keen to show that parting ways with Pablo Mastroeni in August was a good move. They've struggled since then – just as they struggled before – but the Rapids are now unbeaten in their last two. If the players and interim coach Steve Cooke can keep it up through their final two matches of the season, that might calm some of the anxiety Colorado fans may be feeling as they look ahead to an uncertain offseason.
- COL: Sunday, Oct. 15 – vs. Real Salt Lake (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE)
- DAL: Sunday, Oct. 15 – at Seattle Sounders FC (7:30 pm ET | FS1)