COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – A sell-out crowd of over 18,000 failed to rouse the Colorado Rapids sufficiently as the MLS Cup champions played out a frustrating goalless draw with the visiting Houston Dynamo.
The Rapids had the bulk of possession and clear cut chances but couldn’t ever really get their game going. That was in large part thanks to Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall, who had a man of the match performance in nets for the struggling Dynamo. Hall produced six saves on the night, many of the spectacular variety.
The closest the Rapids came in the first half to scoring was in the tenth minute when Jamie Smith headed against the post after an inch-perfect cross from Brian Mullan, who was released just inside the Houston half by a neat ball from Omar Cummings. At the end of the half, Caleb Folan (above; photo courtesy of Garrett Ellwood / Colorado Rapids) - partnering Cummings upfront in the absence of the suspended Conor Casey - almost got the ball around Hall to a wide open Cummings, but nothing came of the play.
The Rapids had five shots while Houston failed to find any in the first 45 minutes.
The Rapids continued the pressure in the second half, but Houston were finally able to find chances of their own. In the 69th minute, Brad Davis played a chipped ball into the penalty area for Brian Ching, but the veteran striker couldn’t connect with only Matt Pickens to beat. Ching also had the ball in the net in the 53rd minute but was well offside.
The Rapids really stepped up the pressure in the final ten minutes but outstanding work from Hall preserved the Dynamo’s road point.
In the 80th minute, Rapids defender Drew Moor got a good header goalward after a Jamie Smith free kick, but Hall tipped over. Two minutes later, the goalkeeper saved very well from second half substitute Quincy Amarikwa. In the 85th, he again got down well to save from Folan.
Perhaps the best chance came in second-half stoppage, when Folan got on the end of a clever set-piece. The big man rose above a static Houston defense, but pushed his wide-open look just wide of the post.
Amarikwa, who was the impetus for much of Colorado’s late push, was red carded after the final whistle after exchanging words with referee Baldomero Toledo.
The Rapids (5-5-8, 23 points) remain in fifth place in the Western Conference, and have a quick turnaround with a game this Wednesday at Sporting Kansas City.
Houston (4-6-8, 20 points) pull into a tie for fourth in the Eastern Conference with Sporting. They next face Toronto at home Saturday July 9.
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe, Danny Cruz (Colin Clark 67), Geoff Cameron, Je-Vaughn Watson, Brad Davis, Will Bruin (Jason Garey 61), Brian Ching (Lovel Palmer 78).
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Boswell, Alex Dixon, Hunter Freeman, Tyler Deric.
Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Tyrone Marshall, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Brian Mullan (Wells Thompson 78), Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Jamie Smith, Omar Cummings (Quincy Amarikwa 78), Caleb Folan.
Substitutes Not Used: Andre Akpan, Sanna Nyassi, Scott Palguta, Anthony Wallace, Steward Ceus.
HOU -- Colin Clark (caution; Reckless Foul) 75
HOU -- Tally Hall (caution; Delaying a Restart) 91+
COL -- Quincy Amarikwa (caution; Dissent) 92+
COL -- Quincy Amarikwa (ejection; Abusive Language) 93+
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Corey Rockwell; George Gansner
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-86-degrees