Rapids gain 1-1 draw with NYC
RAPIDS 1, NYCFC 1
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.