The weather delay came at the right time
When Joao Plata doubled Real Salt Lake’s lead in the 17th minute, the Rapids were staring at an uphill climb. Luckily, in the 24th minute, the weather in Utah caused the match to be put on pause and the break came at a crucial point. It provided a chance for the Rapids to catch their breath and hit the reset button.
One major change that head coach Anthony Hudson elected to make during the delay was to swap Enzo Martinez for Yannick Boli when play resumed. This gave the Rapids an additional body in midfield and allowed Jack Price a bit more freedom to roam and connect play. It worked wonders and when the players returned after a delay that lasted just over an hour, the Rapids looked to be the more confident and fresh side. They seemed ready to claw their way back in to the game and just eight minutes after play started back up, Johan Blomberg was fouled in the box and Jack McBean calmly converted the penalty. It was a whole new game with over an hour to play.
I have no idea what was said or done in that locker room during that delay but kudos to Hudson, his staff, and the players for using the time to regroup and not sulk on the two-goal deficit.
Serna the super sub
As the clock ticked toward 90 minutes on Saturday night, it looked as if the best chances for the Rapids to find an equalizer had past. And there were a few good ones that went begging - McBean one-on-one with the keeper, Tommy’s Smith’s flick off a free kick that hit the crossbar and Sam Nicholson being dragged down by Justin Glad as he raced in on goal. It felt as if a comeback would stop short of a much-needed result.
Fast forward to the 88th minute and Edgar Castillo did what Edgar Castillo does. His fearless, winding run from the left win beat two defenders. He got free and snapped a shot on goal. RSL ‘keeper Nick Rimando was in position to make the stop but wasn’t able to control the rebound. Dillon Serna pounced on the loose ball and slotted it past Rimando on the near post. It was enough to secure an important point on the road and means the Rocky Mountain Cup is still in the balance when RSL visits Colorado in late August.
Fans love Dillon Serna because he’s a local product. But they also love him because he has a knack for making things happen, a nose for goal. It was great to see him take advantage of his opportunity late in an emotional comeback against a rival.