COMMERCE CITY — That electric, mid-summer atmosphere at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park came out in full force Saturday. The Colorado Rapids’ forwards were determined to help the crowd reach a fever pitch.
The sold-out crowd of 17,795 helped propel the Rapids attack, and Diego Rubio and Gyasi Zardes did the rest as both scored in Colorado’s 2-0 victory over the LA Galaxy. Colorado ended its run of six games without a win dating back to May and kept its playoff hopes alive.
“We were certainly hoping for a game to put it all together,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said following the match. “With regard to consistency is to have a solid performance at the back and a good performance up front and to sustain it for 90 minutes. … Really proud of our group for the commitment, the engagement and execution.”
The Rapids (6-8-6, 24 points) nearly opened the scoring multiple times. Zardes did everything but score in the seventh minute as Lucas Esteves played a perfect ball to Zardes who was able to dribble around the goalkeeper and attempted a shot but it was cleared off the goal line by Nick DePuy who slid in to clear it away.
Still, Zardes spoke to the growing connection he’s developed since arriving in Colorado in late April.
“I’ve been trying to utilize every training session to get to know the guys that are up top with me,” Zardes said. “I know we’ve been switching out personnel, but, they’re starting to understand the runs I’m making. When I get the ball and play me, they’re running off of me and I’m connecting with them. Sometimes it takes time, and I think things are starting to click.”
The Rapids were able to transition a momentum swing to go their way. In the 19th minute, Galaxy had a corner kick and nearly scored but Rapids goalkeeper William Yarbrough made a one-hand save on defender Derrick Williams as he attempted a volley attempt. Ninety seconds later, Danny Wilson pinged a pass down the field to Jonathan Lewis, who found a cutting Rubio. The Chilean fired from outside the box and it went into the bottom left-hand corner.
It was Rubio’s ninth goal of the season, the most on the team.
The Rapids thought they added a second in the 28th minute, as Bryan Acosta hit a corner and Zardes headed it home for what fans thought was a 2-0 lead. However, referee Guido Gonzales Jr., went to the VAR monitor and determined that defender Keegan Roseberry was indirectly offside.
LA Galaxy would continue to create chances. Three minutes after Zardes’ goal was waived off, Wilson intervened brilliantly for the second time in the first half as he slid in to win the ball from Kevin Cabral who had a potential one-on-one chance until the Scotsman slid in.
Ralph Priso, the 19-year-old Canadian, made his first start as a Burgundy Boy and had a dream debut from the central midfield role. He was 11-of-13 passing on 23 touches and was 6-of-6 in ground duals won. He was substituted for veteran Collen Warner at halftime.
In the second half, neither team was able to break through with true chances until the Rapids capitalized on a mistake. In the 75th minute, Rapids head coach Robin Fraser was shown a yellow card for dissent and pumped the crowd up in doing so. Moments later, the Rapids pounced on a turnover off of a throw-in, as Lewis stole the ball and tried a no-look back-heel pass to Zardes who tucked it away in the far corner to make it 2-0. It was his third goal and his second in his last two games.
With his clean sheet, Yarbrough surpassed Tim Howard for the fourth-most shut outs in team history with 24.
“He’s a very, very good leader,” Fraser said. “He’s incredibly focused on his career and the amount of work he does for the ninety minutes every week is incredible. … He’s one of the most focused individuals I’ve been around. He demands not only of himself, but of others.”
The Rapids will hit the road for the next two games and will face the Seattle Sounders at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 23 at Lumen Field.