The Colorado Rapids were minutes away from their first win of the MLS regular season on Sunday night, but an inch-perfect free kick from Sporting Kansas City winger Johnny Russell in the 88th minute earned the visitors a 1-1 result at DICK'S Sporting Goods Park.
Colorado forward Diego Rubio opened the scoring against his former club in the 54th minute, capitalizing on a heavy touch from SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia in the penalty area. Melia received a back pass and attempted to turn, but an onrushing Rubio came from his blindside to poke the ball away and score his first goal for the Rapids.
The home side couldn’t close out Kansas City though, as Axel Sjöberg conceded a free kick in a dangerous position two minutes from second-half stoppage time. Russell fired up and over the wall to beat Tim Howard, who could merely watch as the ball settled into the upper-right corner of the net.
- THE BIG PICTURE: This was an even, physical encounter from the off, and by the end of it both sides were awarded three yellow cards, which included Johan Blomberg seeing red for the Rapids immediately prior to Russell's game-tying goal. SKC were just three days removed from advancing to the Concacaf Champions League semifinals, yet managed to overcome a defensive lapse to grind out a point on the road.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Russell's unstoppable free kick, set up by Sjöberg's foul. The trouble compounded for Colorado when Blomberg was sent off for punting the ball in protest of the call. Then Sporting KC's Scottish winger would not be denied, deftly placing the ball well out of Howard's reach.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: SKC head coach Peter Vermes brought Russell on to replace Kelyn Rowe in the 61st minute and, despite Russell's midweek start, he injected life into the Kansas City attack with his direct play down the right side and cutting inside. The set piece magic to salvage a draw cemented his top performance.
- 54' – COL – Diego Rubio | WATCH
- 88' – SKC – Johnny Russell
- COL: March 23 at FC Dallas (3:30 PM MT | UniMás, Twitter, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)
- SKC: March 30 vs Montreal Impact (1 PM MT | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, on DAZN in Canada)