Rapids draw vs. ex­pan­sion Loons

Min­nesota gets first MLS point in Colorado

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Daniel Boni­face Dan Boni­face: 303-954-1104, dboni­face@den­ver­post.com or @daniel­boni­face

COM­MERCE CITY» Four goals. A penalty kick. A straight red card. The 14,013 fans at Dick’s Sport­ing Goods Park were treated to just about ev­ery­thing Satur­day night in a wild 2-2 draw with Min­nesota United FC.

Ev­ery­thing but a Rapids win. Colorado (11-1) played up a man for the fi­nal 20 min­utes, but could not find a late win­ner, and the ex­pan­sion Min­nesota club (0-2-1) earned the first point in its MLS his­tory.

“We were play­ing against a team that was ral­ly­ing around some­thing big­ger than three points,” Rapids coach Pablo Mas­troeni said.

The Rapids got an early goal from Do­minique Badji, and after con­ced­ing twice to open the sec­ond half, got an equal­izer from Mar­lon Hairston to ex­tend their home un­beaten streak to 19 con­sec­u­tive league games.

Colorado’s best chance to grab a late win­ner came in the 86th minute when Dil­lon Serna sent a free kick from the top of the penalty area just over the bar.

After tak­ing a 1-0 lead into the locker room at half­time, the Rapids found them­selves down 2-1 in the 58th minute after Chris­tian Ramirez gave the Loons the first lead of their MLS his­tory. He beat Rapids de­fender Jared Watts to the near post to head a Jerome Thies­son cross past Tim Howard.

The lead didn’t last long. A minute later, Rapids full­back Marc Burch served in a per­fect cross to the far post to find Hairston, who headed home the equal­izer.

Hairston’s night was over 11 min­utes later when Loons de­fender Justin Davis got his cleats into Hairston’s leg. Davis was shown a straight red card and Hairston was subbed off for Alan Gordon.

After dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion in the first half, Colorado gave Min­nesota a sec­ond life three min­utes into the sec­ond half when de­fender Mekeil Wil­liams, start­ing in place of an in­jured Eric Miller (ham­string), fouled Collen Warner in the penalty area. Min­nesota’s Kevin Molino con­verted the penalty kick for his sec­ond goal of the sea­son to tie the match 1-1.

Min­nesota coach Adrian Heath made two changes on his back line a week after con­ced­ing six goals to At­lanta, sit­ting his cap­tain Vadim Demi­dov and full­back Jer­maine Taylor in fa­vor of Brent Kall­man and Davis, re­spec­tively.

How­ever, 17 min­utes in his new back line let him down again, as a poor give­away in the back led to the Rapids’ first goal.

Badji came streak­ing into the cen­ter, col­lect­ing a poor back­pass and slot­ting it home past Loons’ goal­keeper Bobby Shut­tle­worth for his sec­ond goal of the sea­son.

“We were just prac­tic­ing all week to high press. Ev­ery time the ball goes back, we press,” Badji said. “And we just did the right thing, and the ball fell to my feet and I just scored it.”

Colorado Rapids for­ward Do­minique Badji and Min­nesota United de­fender Brent Kall­man go after the ball dur­ing the first half Satur­day night. Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

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