The Colorado Rapids continue to face the same problem that has plagued them all season: finishing. It was the same old song and dance on Saturday night when they lost the first game of the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry series against Real Salt Lake, 2-1. The loss ended the Rapids’ 19-game regular season home unbeaten streak.
“It’s a game of finishing chances and taking your chances,” head coach Pablo Mastroeni said of the team’s performance. “We did enough tonight to win the game, we just weren’t clinical enough in front of the goal.
The Rapids offense was energized and invigorated throughout most of the match. They created no less than five wonderful opportunities with brilliant passing and impressively accurate long balls. At one point in the first half, forward Kevin Doyle received a pass from goalkeeper Zac MacMath that traveled nearly the length of the entire field. Doyle had a one-on-one with the Real Salt Lake defender, but turned the ball over when he dropped the ball behind him thinking that Dominique Badji was in the area.
On another scoring chance for the Rapids only four minutes into the game, Doyle broke away from the defense after a phenomenal long pass from Michael Azira, but his shot from within the penalty area was saved by Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
The game would have been an easy win for the Rapids had they capitalized on their frequent scoring opportunities. Mastroeni has a simple solution.
“Put the ball in the back of the net,” he said.
The Rapids now have five goals in four games played this year. They haven’t won a game since their season-opener on March 4 against the New England Revolution. Their next opportunity to right the ship is next Saturday against Minnesota United FC.