Rapids come back to snap losing streak

Andre Akpan with his first start and first goal

Andre Akpan scored his first MLS goal against Chicago_DL

Photo Credit: 
Garrett Ellwood / Colorado Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Andre Akpan’s first ever MLS league goal proved enough for the Colorado Rapids to break their three-game losing streak but it was only sufficient to give the defending MLS Cup champions a 1-1 draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park against the visiting Chicago Fire on Saturday night.

Chicago took a 1-0 lead just before halftime when Marco Pappa converted a Dominic Oduro cross to score his third goal of the season.

Akpan, in his second year in the league, equalized four minutes after the break with a fierce shot from a tough angle after he latched onto a perfect through ball from strike partner Omar Cummings.

WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

The Rapids enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the opening 45 minutes but they could not create many chances. Their best looks came on long range efforts by Jeff Larentowicz and Cummings around the half hour mark.

At the same time as the Rapids enjoyed such superiority of possession, Chicago looked consistently dangerous on the counter with Pappa joining the forward line of Gaston Puerari and Diego Chaves in pressing forward effectively.

Two minutes before halftime, Puerari launched Oduro down the right flank and the Ghanaian beat left backAnthony Wallace before crossing hard into the penalty box. Pappa made the near post run and slid to beat Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens after the ball eluded diving defender Tyrone Marshall.

The Rapids response came minutes after the restart as a wide-open Akpan collected a through ball from Cummings down the right side of the penalty area. The Harvard graduate lined up a shot and rifled it through the hands of Fire goalkeeper Jon Conwayand into the far left corner. The goal was Colorado’s first in the last 319 minutes.

MORE: COLORADO, CHICAGO PLAYERS AND COACHES POST-GAME COMMENTS

The home team nearly claimed the winner when center back Drew Moor missed an open header right at the end of regulation from a Jamie Smith corner.

Akpan, who was making his first ever start in a league match, started up top with Cummings because of Caleb Folan’s absence through a quad strain. The club's other strikers, Quincy Amarikwa and Conor Casey, were also out due to injury.

The Fire, who were missing captain Logan Pause and starting defender Cory Gibbs to injury, gave Corben Boneand Daniel Paladini their first starts of the season. Central defender Josip Mikulic was forced to leave the match with a first-half injury and was replaced by Dasan Robinson.

The Rapids next face three straight road games in a 10-day period starting in Houston on Wednesday, May 4. They also face New England and D.C. United away. Chicago Fire return to Toyota Park to host the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, May 7.

Scoring Summary:  

CHI -- Marco Pappa 3 (Dominic Oduro 2) 43 

COL -- Andre Akpan 1 (Omar Cummings 1) 50 

Chicago Fire -- Jon Conway, Jalil AnibabaYamith Cuesta, Josip Mikulic (Dasan Robinson 37), Gonzalo Segares, Dan Paladini, Corben Bone (Orr Barouch 74), Dominic Oduro, Marco Pappa, Gaston Puerari (Patrick Nyarko 89), Diego Chaves.

Substitutes Not Used: Baggio Husidic, Pari Pantazopoulos, Bratislav RisticSean Johnson.

Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace, Sanna Nyassi(Ross LaBauex 89), Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Jamie Smith, Andre Akpan, Omar Cummings.

Substitutes Not Used: Danny Earls, Mike Holody, Josh Janniere, Joseph NaneScott PalgutaSteward Ceus.

Misconduct Summary: 

COL -- Tyrone Marshall (caution; Reckless Foul) 26 

COL -- Drew Moor (caution; Reckless Foul) 49+ 

CHI -- Gonzalo Segares (caution; Reckless Foul) 49 

CHI -- Dan Paladini (caution; Reckless Foul) 56  

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez 

Referee's Assistants: Anthony Vasoli, Darren Clark 

Fourth Official: Jose Carlos Rivero 

Attendance: 11,789 

Time of Game: 1:52 

Weather: Partly Cloudy and 46 degrees