For the first time in five games, the Colorado Rapids lost. On Wednesday the Los Angeles Galaxy came to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the first time since their 2016 Western Conference Playoffs loss and handed a lethargic-looking Rapids squad a 3-1 defeat. What’s worse, Colorado lost two important players to injury during the match.
What doomed the Rapids was their lack of finishing chances. In terms of creation, the first half was arguably their best half all season. They put pressure on the Galaxy’s back line and had 11 total shots, two of which came in near one-on-one situations with no one but Galaxy goalkeeper Clement Diop to beat. Unfortunately for the Rapids, Josh Gatt kicked his opportunity wide left of the frame, and Dominique Badji, who used his head to control the ball impressively just outside the penalty area, rocketed his shot high into the South Stands.
After Jack McBean scored his first of what would be two goals on the night, Denver native and by far the best player on the field for the Rapids all night, Dillon Serna made sure that Colorado didn’t end the half empty handed. Without taking a touch, he sprung left for a slow rolling ball that was tipped by Badji and rocketed a curling shot to the left of the diving Diop. It was Serna’s first goal of 2017.
But it wasn’t enough for the Rapids. A flat, lethargic Colorado team emerged in the second half, and McBean’s second, followed by a penalty goal for Romain Alessandrini after Kortne Ford got called for a foul in the area, secured their fate.
After the game, Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni lamented the missed opportunities in front of the Galaxy net.
“We came out bright and really threatened their back line quite a bit,” Mastroeni said. “In the early stages of the game we created a couple opportunities, and if you don’t finish those, I think the game has a cruel way of making you regret those opportunities missed.”
Mastroeni continued to speak on why he thought the Rapids came out flat in the second half.
“The game against Portland was a really emotional game,” Mastroeni said. “It looked like we weren’t on the front foot a lot defensively. I think what was really successful for us in the early stages, and throughout the game, was threatening their back line, especially toward Gatt’s side, who I think had a very good performance. I feel like we gifted them three goals.”
After the promising first half, the second half was a Rapids fan’s worst nightmare. Not only did they concede the two goals, but they lost arguably their most important player over the past few weeks. Mohammed Saeid went down with an injury midway through the half and needed help off the field. Asked after the game what the update on his injury was, Pablo relayed the bad news.
“It doesn’t look good, but I think we’ll have an MRI tonight or early tomorrow morning. But it doesn’t look good,” he said.
He later added that Kevin Doyle may have broken his hand during the second half as well.
It was an unlucky half for the Rapids, but had they converted the opportunities that they so rarely have, they easily could have walked out with a victory. Instead, they contemplate the loss of the game and the loss of a player.
On a positive note, Nana Adjei-Boateng and Shkelzen Gashi participated in drills in practice this past week, and both look like they’re nearing return from injury. The Rapids’ next match is daunting. They travel to Atlanta on Saturday for a matchup against the impressive expansion Atlanta United FC.