Rapids gain 1-1 draw with NYC


The Denver Post - - KICKOFF - By John Meyer

CITY» Play­ing COM­MERCE their first home game in a month and com­ing off their first road vic­tory of the sea­son that ended a four-game los­ing streak a week ago, the Rapids were hop­ing to win back-to-back games for the first time since June.

They didn’t quite pull it off, but they did squeeze out a 1-1 tie with one of the best teams in MLS on a dra­matic goal in the 88th minute by Do­minique Badji. His shot from the left side on a coun­ter­at­tack beat New York City FC goal­keeper Sean John­son, who got a fin­ger on the ball but not enough to push the shot wide. It was Badji’s eighth goal of the sea­son, tops on the team.

Badji, who scored the game-win­ning goal at Hous­ton in stop­page time Sept. 9, won a ball at mid­field and made a 50-yard run to pro­duce the equal­izer.

“To­wards the end of the game, we just have to be ag­gres­sive — there’s noth­ing re­ally to lose at that point,” Badji said. “When I had the ball I knew I was just go­ing to go to goal no mat­ter what. The first half, we were play­ing a lot in our half, a lot more than we want to. Sec­ond half, if we want to score goals, we have to play in that half, and I think we were a lot more ag­gres­sive in tak­ing chances.”

For much of the game, the vis­i­tors frus­trated the Rapids with a pre­cise short­pass­ing game. Primed for an MLS Cup run with an as­sort­ment of world-class play­ers and the sec­ond-best record in the league, NYCFC took a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute when mid­fielder Thomas Mcna­mara took a crack at a goal from long range. Left free 25 yards from the goal with no one in front of him after ma­neu­ver­ing around Rapids mid­fielder Jared Watts, Mcna­mara fired a mis­sile that found the net­ting as Rapids goal­keeper Tim Howard dived in vain to in­ter­vene.

“They’ve got a lot of re­ally good guys at find­ing space in lit­tle pock­ets,” said Rapids right back Eric Miller. “I think he found it a lit­tle deeper, beat a guy and then just hit a world-class shot.”

The Rapids did cre­ate other chances. Badji, who was play­ing as a lone striker, got free on the left wing and whipped a shot that forced a save out of John­son in the 14th minute.

Mid­fielder Mar­lon Hairston took a chance on a long-range ef­fort in the 40th minute that forced an­other save.

Howard came up big in the 54th minute, mak­ing a pair of short-range bang­bang saves in rapid-fire suc­ces­sion by de­fender Ben Sweat and for­ward Rod­ney Wal­lace that kept the Rapids in the game. Howard fin­ished with four saves on the evening.

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