Alan Gordon’s go-ahead goal nine minutes from time gave the Colorado Rapids a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Montreal Impact on Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
After Video Review on a Jared Watts tackle on Chris Duvall, the referee concluded it was worthy of a red card and sent Watts packing for the night in the 12th minute.
The game returned to equal standing 20 minutes later when Daniel Lovitz was also shown a straight red for violent conduct on Mike da Fonte. The referee made no hesitation and the game continued for the remainder of the match with both teams down a man.
The scoring opened in the final moments of the first stanza when Stefan Aigner broke through for his first goal in burgundy. Mekeil Williams curled in a perfectly placed cross from the left flank and Aigner met it with his head, directing his attempt into the bottom corner of the goal.
Referee Jorge Gonzalez was called into action once more when Hairston made a reaching tackle on Montreal’s leading goal scorer, Ignacio Piatti in the box. After initially calling it a penalty kick, the play went to Video Review and the penalty was waived off when proved contact on the ball was made.
Montreal Impact leveled the game in the 62nd minute when Samuel Piette laid the ball off to Matteo Mancosu, who sent a rocket into the top corner past an outstretched Tim Howard.
“It has been a tough season for us and for [the fans]. They come out and cheer us on and tonight I was pleasantly surprised by how many people were here and how loud they were. It’s a testament to how we are as a club,” Howard said after the game.
The tie was nearly broken when Piatti passed the ball through to Anthony Jackson-Hamel who met Howard one-on-one, but with great positioning, the Rapids keeper deflected the shot wide.
Alan Gordon and Mohammed Saeid came on in the 71st and 79th minutes to liven up play, replacing Aigner and Michael Azira, respectively.
The Rapids finally broke the tie nine minutes from time when Badji found space on the left flank before sending a cross that met the boot of Gordon, who tallied his third game-winner of the season.
“It feels great to win,” Interim Head Coach Steve Cooke said postgame. “At the end of the season you got to feel good about that as well. This week alone, we played in different countries, different surfaces and climates. People also don’t know we had a pretty bad stomach virus going through the team. To see these guys go out there tonight is truly a testament to them, to go a man down in ten minutes and keep working and fighting I’m so pleased that we won tonight because they deserved that reward.”
The Rapids (8-18-5; 29 points) are home next weekend for the third and final meeting of the season against FC Dallas. Kickoff on Saturday, October 7 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. MT at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.