The Big Picture
The Colorado Rapids earned a much-needed three points at home on Wednesday night after defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1. Striker Diego Rubio collected his 14th goal of the season in the first half to open the scoring and winger Keegan Rosenberry sealed the deal for Rapids in the 77th minute to secure the win and eliminate San Jose from the playoffs.
Rubio took a split-second chance in the 21st minute to open the scoring in the midweek matchup, following up on a deflected Jonathan Lewis cross into the eighteen. His one-touch shot at the top of the box saw his near-post strike slide just under the Quakes' JT Marcinkowski.
“It was a difficult game tonight for sure," said head coach Robin Fraser. "I didn’t think we were good with the ball early on and it pretty much became a slugfest. At the end of the day, I give our guys a lot of credit for continuing to fight and finding two very good goals, two well-struck goals. The reality is at the end of the day, we really didn’t play that well. We needed real points more than we needed stats tonight, so we’ll take it and move on.”
Rosenberry's strike emulated his first goal scored this season against the Red Bulls, with a right-footed shot from the top right of the box screaming its way into the back of the net. The goal came after being constantly challenged by San Jose's Cade Cowell on the wing throughout the game, but his steadfast composure and pressure in the attack put the nail in the Quakes' coffin.
"It wasn't perfect tonight but I thought we got through it, I thought the second half was better," the defender said postgame. "I think oversimplifying and just trying to think [about] what makes us a good team, let's get back to that. Let's keep it simple. I think that kind of gets us out of tough times most of the time."
The Rapids are in a tight spot in the Western Conference standings, just one point behind their next opponent, LA Galaxy.
"Obviously we've done well to win our two games at home, but we have to go on the road. LA is obviously a very good team and they're very good at home," said Fraser. So for us the message is the same, really. It's doing what you need to do to get your body ready, to be prepared, to go and battle for 95 plus minutes on the weekend, and nothing really changes for us. It's just so tight right now, and we have to win. LA has to win. There are a lot of teams that have to win at the moment. And it's going to take not only good play, but it's gonna take a really strong will to get through these games and get the results that we want because it's certainly not easy and we know that so the message remains the same. The only game that matters is LA."
The Burgundy Boys will travel to Carson, California over the weekend to take on LA Galaxy. The series finale between the Western Conference opponents kicks off at 8:30 p.m. MT from Dignity Health Sports Park.