COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Unable to break down a pesky D.C. United squad in the final third, the Colorado Rapids were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Sunday night.
Despite generating the overwhelming majority of the chances and dominating possession, Colorado were unable to capitalize against their struggling visitors, with the home side missing a slew of chances to collect their third straight win. Rapids rookie Deshorn Brown was active and created several chances for the home side, but United ‘keeper Joe Willis was up to the task, recording several big stops to give United only their third road point of the season.
The point keeps Colorado a point back of fifth-placed L.A. in the West, while D.C. avoided a loss for just the sixth time – and collected their 10th point – in 19 matches so far this season.
Setting the tone for a game played almost entirely in DC’s end, the Rapids started on the offensive, with Drew Moor’s ninth minute shot inside the box barely rising over Willis’ crossbar. Three minutes later, and Willis made a reflex save on Brown to keep the game scoreless, while Brown missed an open opportunity just two minutes later.
The Rapids dominated the opening 45, doing everything besides scoring. Center back German Mera’s 33rd minute header off a free kick crashed off the post, and Moor’s follow up sailed over the crossbar, but the Rapids couldn’t find the back of the net.
But before the half was over, the visitors nearly went up a goal on the counter on their lone opportunity of note in the match. United defender Ethan White got on the other end of a floating cross, and White’s volley had Rapids ‘keeper Clint Irwin beat, only for Moor to spectacularly clear the ball away from an onrushing Chris Pontius with a last-ditch header, keeping the game level into the half.
On the other side of the break, the Rapids nearly scored through Brown again. Sprinting down the right wing in the 52nd minute, the rookie blasted a shot just outside the box only for Willis to finger-tip the ball away.
Brown’s speed allowed him to blow by two United defenders in the 75th minute, but Willis, a product of the nearby University of Denver, was again on hand to make a split-second save.
The Rapids threw all bodies forward in the final minutes to try and secure three points. In the 87th minute, substitute Nick LaBrocca’s blast inside the penalty area appeared to be goal-bound, but Willis parried away the shot to maintain the clean sheet. LaBrocca also had a shot just outside the penalty box in the 89th, but Willis again had the answer with a diving save.
A minute later, and substitute Jaime Castrillon’s shot inside the box barely sailed past the post as the Rapids were forced to settle for a frustrating draw.
The Rapids stay at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to finish up their three-game homestand on July 17 against New England, while D.C. head home to host Chivas USA on Friday.
COL - Hendry Thomas (caution) 2'
COL - Shane O'Neill (caution) 39'
DCU - Casey Townsend (caution) 86'
Colorado Rapids lineup: Clint Irwin, Shane O'Neill (Brian Mullan 54', Drew Moor, German Mera, Chris Klute, Hendry Thomas, Nathan Sturgis, Dillon Powers, Atiba Harris (Nick LaBrocca 60'), Edson Buddle (Jaime Castrillon 82'), Deshorn Brown
Substitutes not used: Matt Pickens, Kevin Harbottle, Anthony Wallace, Tony Cascio
D.C. United: Joe Willis, Daniel Woolard, James Riley, Taylor Kemp, Sainey Nyassi, Perry Kitchen, John Thorrington, Kyle Porter (Alain Rochat 46), Carlos Ruiz (Casey Townsend 83'), Chris Pontius (Lionard Pajoy 73')
Substitutes not used: Andrew Dykstra, Conor Shanosky, Chris Korb
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Joe Willis||The D.C. 'keeper was on his game all night, totaling seven impressive and timely sides to hand his side a point|
|2||Deshorn Brown||A handful as ever, sparking nearly all of Colorado's most threatening moves. Will be disappointed in his finishing, though|
|3||Ethan White||Once more showed off his athletic frame and good feet. Defended soundly throughout the 90 minutes and nearly set up a goal, if not for Moor's clearing header|