COMMERCE CITY — The Colorado Rapids were mere seconds away from three points.
Houston Dynamo’s Sebastian Ferreira made sure the last attacking moment counted. With both teams fighting for their figurative playoff lives, it was a tense first half. It was an even more-tense finale.
With 94 minutes and 57 seconds gone on the clock with a five-minute stoppage time period, Ferreira hit a stunning strike to beat Rapids goalkeeper William Yarbrough and rescue a point for the Dynamo in a 1-1 tie Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
The Rapids fought admirably down a man for the final 10 minutes, but Ferreira’s goal put a major dent in Colorado’s playoff hopes. Three points would have catapulted Colorado up in to seventh. Instead, they remain in 11th with three straight road games, and eight games remaining.
Colorado nearly opened the scoring eight minutes in on a free kick, as Lalas Abubakar’s header off a good service from Bryan Acosta went just wide.
Two minutes later, Yarbrough was forced into action as he made a kick save on Mexican national team star Hector Herrera to keep it level.
There were 17 fouls between the teams in a feisty half, with neither team willing to give up momentum. Though Colorado had 63% of the ball, it was unable to make anything of it.
Houston had a second strong look on a dangerous free kick from Memo Rodriguez, but Yarbrough dove to his left and saved.
Colorado had a few half-chances, as Jonathan Lewis was a menace down the left flank, while Felipe Gutiérrez had a shot with the last kick of the half, but Houston goalkeeper Steve Clark saved it.
In the second half, the Rapids came out the aggressor with two corner kicks in the opening five minutes.
In the 49th minute after an initial corner kick was cleared away, Gutiérrez sent in a line-drive pass, and Abubakar, who stayed up for the recycled play, got on the end of the cross at the back post and tapped it home to make it 1-0.
With the goal, Abubakar doubled his career-high with a fourth goal in 2022. It also moved the centerback into a tie for third-place for goals, along with Jonathan Lewis.
After Colorado took the lead, Houston attempted to respond, and nearly found the equalizer in the 65h minute, as midfielder Adelberto Carrasquilla attempted a pile-driver from 30 yards out, but it fizzed just over the crossbar.
In the 80th minute protecting the lead, Bryan Acosta received a second yellow card for a tactical foul on Evergreen native Griffin Dorsey. As a result, Colorado was reduced to 10 men. Acosta, who already served his second one-game suspension of the season last Wednesday against Vancouver, will miss the next game.
In an effort to preserve the lead, head coach Robin Fraser brought on a trio of substitutes: Max Alves, Sam Nicholson and Drew Moor.
In the dying embers, Nicholson nearly got to a long pass down the right flank, but it went out for a corner kick. Houston switched the field of play, and the ball eventually wound up at the feet of Herrera, who hit a pass to Ferreira. The ball took a generous bounce off the turf and the one-time shot went in to break Rapids fans’ hearts.
It was the second time this season in which Colorado conceded a late equalizer against the Dynamo, as the team also gave up a stoppage-time goal in March in Texas.
Colorado (8-10-8, 32 points) will have travel east for the next three games, with matches against Philadelphia, playoff-hunters Nashville and D.C. United. The game against red-hot Philadelphia, which beat D.C. United 6-0 earlier in the evening, will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Subaru Park.