Dominique Badji scored one minute after coming on to lead the Colorado Rapids (12-4-5, 41 points) to a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes (6-8-8, 24 points) and second place in the Western Conference standings, one point behind first-place Seattle with a game in hand. The win is Colorado’s sixth of the season as the visitor, tying a post-shootout era club record set in 2011. Badji’s goal in the 89th minute was his first since re-joining the club via trade in July. The Rapids allowed just two shots on target as William Yarbrough posted his MLS-leading ninth clean sheet of the season. The Rapids have won five of their last seven and are unbeaten in that time, while San Jose’s 10-game unbeaten run comes to an end.
- Dominique Badji scored one minute after entering the match in the 89th minute. The goal was Badji’s first of the season and his 25th in MLS with Colorado, passing D Marcelo Balboa for seventh-most in club history. It is the third goal by a substitute in the Rapids’ last five games, two of those game-winners.
- The win is Robin Fraser’s 40th as a head coach in MLS and his 25th in 46 regular season games since taking over Colorado two years ago.
- Nico Mezquida earned his second assist of the season on F Dominique Badji’s goal. Mezquida’s other assist also came against San Jose, on Cole Bassett’s equalizer on July 17.
- Lucas Esteves made his first start since joining the club on loan from Palmeiras in August.
- Drew Moor made his 398th career MLS appearance and his 197th for the club. The 17-year veteran played 84 minutes, his most since he went the full 90 against Dallas on Sept. 16, 2020.
- Jonathan Lewis made his 80th career MLS appearance and his 49th with Colorado when he entered the match in the 63rd minute and recorded his first assist of the year on the goal. The 24-year-old now has two goals and an assist in his last four games.
- Colorado improves to 6-3-2 (W-L-D) on the road this season, the third best record away from home in MLS.
- Badji’s goal marked the second time in the last four games that a substitute has scored the game-winner after entering the match.
Head Coach Robin Fraser
On the match
“I’m really proud of the performance again. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but this is a hard place to play. [San Jose is] a very engaged, physical team. Sometimes you have to grind when you play against this team. Certainly tonight was one of those nights. Real credit to the group for fighting as hard as they did and finding ways to obviously negate some of their attacks. Unbelievable save by Will [Yarbrough] at the end, but certainly the group going forward persevered. As I said, they’re a tough team to break down. The resilience of the group once again, and really the contributions by everyone— it’s really gratifying when you have that many players on the same page. We make changes and we don’t lose anything. We keep or pick the energy level up even more. Really proud of the team overall.”
On the challenges faced by the defenders after Lalas Abubakar’s sixth-minute injury substitution
“No question, they were extremely good. Again, everyone is disrupted if a player leaves early and Lalas [Abubakar] left extremely early. Now Drew [Moor] comes in. The dynamics are just slightly different. But, again, what a testament to the team mentality. Guys just adapted, adjusted. They have a lot of good players—San Jose has a lot of good players. The most important thing was to put ourselves in positions to deny some of their good attacking play. I thought for Lucas’ [Esteves] first start he was very good. I thought Braian [Galvan] has done extremely well as a wingback. Tonight he plays on the right side as a wingback and was excellent. And then the three in the middle, the way they worked together in conjunction with the wide guys, I thought we did a really good job of negating glaring opportunities for the most part. And then Jack [Price] and Collen’s [Warner] work was incredibly tireless. It’s the unselfish nature of the whole group, for sure, but when you look at Collen and Jack and the unselfish nature and the unselfish work that they do to help, really, everyone else out, it’s a big part of why this team is doing well. The unselfishness is just rampant everywhere.”
Forward Dominique Badji
On the match
“San Jose, the way they play isn’t always the prettiest and I think at times we fell to their style. We did what they wanted us to do. Ultimately, we had possession sometimes in the game, but overall it was sloppy. But games on the road are hard to come by and hard to win and so this is a big three points.”
On his goal
“I saw the ball initially come in. I thought J-Lew’s [Jonathan Lewis] pass was to me, but after looking at the game again, it wasn’t—it was to [Nico] Mezquida. It was a great pass because then he could have sprung me on. Mezquida took a great touch, played me a perfect ball and I just found myself in front of the goal and was able to slot it.”