First things first.
How did the Rapids not have this one in the bag by halftime?
It is rare in Major League Soccer to see such free-flowing football and dominance on the road. FC Dallas looked gassed. And defensively they looked devoid of ideas, forced into panic clearances, some of which they were happy to see go anywhere.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a decent Dallas side, and - on their early-season showing - will not have the struggles they had last year.
But for 45+1 of this contest there appeared to be just one outcome, a win for the visiting team. They controlled the tempo, moved the ball at will, shut down the Dallas space, and - quite frankly - had the Texas team rattled.
The goal from Diego Rubio was something sweet, and it had been coming. Lucas Esteves, who now has three assists in five appearances, pinged a cross-field ball to Michael Barrios. Barrios, up against his former club, one-timed it to Rubio. The Chilean striker teed it up and then calmly guided it beyond Maarten Paes in the Dallas goal. It was delightful.
The burgundy boys were bossing the game. Barrios, Rubio, Max, and Keegan Rosenberry all had opportunities either side of the opening goal to secure a cushion going into the interval. Indeed, Rosenberry had never had such a game. His seven shots were easily a career-high, and more than he’d managed in the previous 12 games combined.
A worldy of a goal gifted Dallas a lifeline in stoppage-time at the end of the first half, and the game slipped away from the Rapids when play resumed after the break, though they still continued to have chances and were able to dominate for long spells.
Skipper Jack Price said it best postgame, when he commented: “I am sort of scratching my head a little bit. A little bit lost for words because I thought we played really well tonight.
“Again, it is not disappointment because we had 65% of the ball and created really good opportunities in the game. Like I said, another day we could have had three or four.
“At the moment, we are probably just not as ruthless as we would like to be because that is three games in a row now where we should have picked up a lot more points than we have.”
The sentiment in those final few words were echoed by the boss, Robin Fraser.
“We talked last week about efficiency in the final third and taking care of our chances. It just feels like another situation in which we have pretty good control of the game, but we don’t come out with the result we want.”
Fraser then went on to talk about confidence within the camp, and how he does not want it impacted by results, because the performances have been promising, save for one crucial area.
“… if you look at how we are playing, we should feel confident. But at the end of the day, the reality is that you have to score goals to win games.”
And that’s it right there. Goals win games, but they also change games.
The Rapids were cruising first half, until Servania smacked an absolute banger from distance. It gave Dallas hope. For the golfers among you, it was like sinking a long putt on the 18th after a round of 107. You leave the green forgetting about the struggle which had gone before.
And that was Dallas on Saturday night. They finished the half on a high, and the previous 45-plus minutes were a fading nightmare. A way back into the game had been handed to them.
These Rapids fellas are an honest bunch. They recognize that finishing off teams is an issue, but teams go through these moments in a season.
I recall spells such as this during the 2020 campaign. The Rapids had 25 shots, seven on target, in a home game they dominated against Houston Dynamo and only scrambled a 1-1 draw thanks to a 96th minute equalizer from Lalas Abubakar. It was said then that ‘somebody was going to get a good hiding’. Next game, the Rapids went and won 5-0 at Real Salt Lake.
This was followed by a 4-1 loss at FC Dallas, in which the Rapids had 22 shots, five on target. That setback was swiftly forgotten with a win at LA Galaxy and another 5-0 victory, this time at home to San Jose Earthquakes.
In other words, teams go through patches where they seemingly dominate, feel they deserve more, and yet the results don’t reflect that. Good teams keep plugging away, doing what they’ve been doing, believing in themselves, their ability, and the process, knowing that these are little bumps along the way, and very soon the results will more accurately reflect the performances.
Onto Minnesota we go.
Notable numbers from Saturday:
Lalas Abubakar made his 100th MLS appearance. His MLS debut came on July 4th, 2017, for Columbus Crew SC at Minnesota United. Columbus won 1-0 through a Kekuta Manneh goal. The Loons that day included current Rapids midfielder Collen Warner, as well as former Rapids players Sam Cronin and Joseph Greenspan.
Auston Trusty chalked-up his 100th MLS start at the weekend. Danny Wilson started his 80th game in MLS, and for the Rapids.
And, as mentioned above, Keegan Rosenberry had a career-high seven shots in a single game. The most previously was four, which he took in a 2-0 home loss for Philadelphia Union against Orlando City, on April 13th, 2018, while playing alongside Auston Trusty.