Rapids remain without road points after Nikolić brace in Chicago

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The Colorado Rapids are still seeking their first road points of 2017 after being blown away in the Windy City on Wednesday in a 3-0 loss to Chicago Fire, following goals from Nemanja Nikolić (2) and David Accam.

It was the first of two back-to-back road games, with the Rapids next heading to Philadelphia Union on Saturday, and it proved to be a tough night in Illinois.

Pablo Mastroeni made no changes to the starting lineup from last weekend’s 3-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. In fact, the only change to the 18 would be defender Axel Sjöberg replacing midfielder Dillon Serna on the bench. The towering Swede is available once more following a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined since Week 2.

After controlling most of the possession in the early stages, the Fire would break through at the 15-minute mark. A perfectly placed cross by Brandon Vincent found Nikolić in the center of the box. The Hungary international would redirect his header past an outstretched Tim Howard for his league-leading ninth tally of 2017.

David Accam would almost double the home side’s lead just three minutes later after a textbook counterattack following a Rapids giveaway in the offensive zone. The Ghanaian cracked a first-time shot goalwards and, despite the effort taking a deflection, Howard was alert enough to block.

Despite a handful of half-chances created by both sides, the Rapids would head to the locker room trailing at the break for the third time this season.

Just when it seemed like the Rapids were beginning to find their groove, Accam would make it 2-0 for Chicago after a lovely buildup on the right side. The ball was played across the face of goal and the speedy winger made no mistake, rifling a one-time strike into the roof of the net.

Looking for an offensive spark, Mastroeni would make all three substitutions shortly after the Fire’s second tally, bringing in Joshua Gatt, Sam Hamilton and Kevin Doyle in replace of Mohammed Saeid, Dillon Powers and Dominique Badji, respectively. Tonight’s contest marked Hamilton’s first professional minutes for his hometown team.

Instead, the home team added a third from a counterattack that ended with Nikolić’s second of the match and 10th of the season. With the loss, the Rapids drop to 2-7-1 and remain in last place in the Western Conference.

The Rapids return to play this Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium (5:00 p.m. MT).

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