COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The first half went mostly in favor of the Colorado Rapids, but it wasn’t until the second that the Fourth of July hosts finally made it count in a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls in front of a sold-out crowd at Dick’s Sporting Good’s Park on Thursday night.
Midfielder Nathan Sturgis opened the scoring in the 47th minute and substitute Deshorn Brown pillowed the lead 21 minutes later for a Rapids team (7-7-6, 26 points) that won back-to-back games for the first time since early May.
For the Red Bulls (8-7-5, 29 points), the loss was the third in their last four league matches. It also marked the second time they have been shutout in their last three games.
After a dull first half in which both teams struggled to create much from the run of play, Sturgis top-shelved a chance inches from the goal-line two minutes into the second half after the ball bounced off Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles. It started from a corner kick that was looped high into the thin Colorado air before a shot was unleashed at Robles, who could only parry it back into the crowd in front of him.
The goal seemed to inject the Rapids with plenty of confidence, as they began sending waves of attacks at a New York back line that struggled to keep up. Brown, who entered the game at halftime, then made the Red Bulls pay with a sliding effort following a Chris Klute cross in the 68th minute.
The Red Bulls’ Thierry Henry missed head-on chances in the 22nd and 44th minute, shooting each just right of the net. He was their best scoring chances on the night. Now, they’ll have more than a week to fix their recent struggles as they face the Montreal Impact on July 13th.
The Rapids continue play Sunday, July 7, when they take on D.C. United and try to get their first three-game winning streak of the season.
COL - Nathan Sturgis 4 (unassisted) 57'
COL - Deshorn Brown 5 (Chris Klute 5) 68'
Colorado Rapids lineup: Clint Irwin, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, German Mera, Chris Klute, Hendry Thomas, Nathan Sturgis, Dillon Powers, Atiba Harris (Tony Cascio 71'), Nick LaBrocca (Deshorn Brown 46), Edson Buddle (Jaime Castrillon 77')
Substitutes not used: Matt Pickens, Kevin Harbottle, Anthony Wallace, Marvell Wynne
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles, Connor Lade (Kosuke Kimura 53'), Markus Holdgersson, Jamison Olave, Brandon Barklage, Eric Alexander, Dax McCarty, Jonathan Steele (Lloyd Sam 76), Tim Cahill, Fabian Espindola (Péguy Luyindula 78'), Thierry Henry
Substitutes not used: Ryan Meara, Matt Miazga, Andre Akpan, Michael Bustamante
Referee: Armando Villarreal
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Chris Klute||Terrorized the Red Bulls' right flank with his speed and crosses, and set up the insurance goal by stripping Dax McCarty of the ball in his own half.|
|2||Deshorn Brown||Came off the bench at halftime and made an immediate impact, using his blazing speed to challenge New York's centerbacks before ultimately scoring the Rapids' second.|
|3||Shane O'Neill||A quiet but strong performance against the likes of Fabian Espindola and Thierry Henry. Recovered well to deny Henry of a sure chance on goal late in the first half.|