Colorado Rapids went down 1-0 at San Jose Earthquakes in their MLS season-opener on Sunday.
The difference between these evenly-matched sides was one lapse in concentration within 20 seconds of the start of the second half. Alberto Quintero crossed from the right and Chris Wondolowski was allowed space to guide home a header.
Rapids looked lively in a first half of few chances for either side. The goal changed the game and, although Zac MacMath made a couple of fine stops, San Jose keeper David Bingham was over-employed in the latter stages.
Back in August, Rapids had lost 1-0 and put in a tame performance. This was different.
Either way, there is plenty of time to recover from this disappointing outcome and the perfect opportunity to respond is next Saturday against LA Galaxy in the home opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. (TICKETS)
MacMath took on the role of No1 keeper and Sam Cronin was available after clarification over his suspension at the end of last season.
Rapids began brightly. The quality of their passing backed-up Mastroeni’s suggestion that his side would be different offensively this season.
They did not muster too much in the opening 45 minutes. Their best chance came on the quarter-hour when Cronin escaped down the right and, from the angle, drove at the legs of keeper Bingham. Kevin Doyle had a header saved and Powers drove a free kick beyond the far post. Apart from that, the Rapids were lively yet lacking incisiveness.
The same could be said of San Jose. They had more pressure with the pacy front-running of Quincy Amarikwa causing some problems. However, MacMath was not truly worried. On the occasion Amarikwa broke free, Watts put in a perfectly-timed tackle.
The Rapids keeper was beaten within seconds of the restart when Quintero crossed from the right and, like he has done so often in MLS, Wondolowski steered home a header.
Rapids had been caught cold but they responded quickly. Gashi crossed, Kevin Doyle nodded down and Powers just failed to scramble the ball past Bingham on the line.
Then midway through the half, the keeper made a sharp stop from Badji; he would be busy for the remainder of the game.
Gashi fizzed a drive over the bar from distance then Powers tapped a low pass for the onrushing Watts at the near post but, off-balance, he could only bundle the ball wide.
In fairness, MacMath had work to do as well. Wondolowski flicked on a header from a Shea Salinas cross and the keeper clutched the ball on the line. Then he thrust out a hand to repel a shot from Tommy Thompson.
However, Rapids would end the game pushing back San Jose in the search for an equalizer. Bingham, however, would hold them off. He tipped over from Miller’s drive and, in stoppage time, saved from Badji.
Same result as August but a very different Rapids’ performance.
San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 Colorado Rapids
March 6, 2016 - Avaya Stadium, San Jose, CA.
SJ - Chris Wondolowski (Alberto Quintero) 46’
COL - Micheal Azira (caution, foul) 43’
SJ - Anibal Godoy (caution, foul) 72’
SJ - Alberto Quintero (caution, persistent infringement) 75’
COL - Dillon Powers (caution, foul) 86’
Quakes: David Bingham; Marvell Wynne, Victor Bernardez, Clarence Goodson, Shaun Francis (Kip Colvey, 46’); Alberto Quintero (Tommy Thompson, 76’), Simon Dawkins, Anibal Godoy, Shea Salinas (Matheus Silva, 89’); Quincy Amarikwa, Chris Wondolowski.
Subs not used: Bryan Meredith, Adam Jahn, Innocent, Mark Sherrod.
Rapids: Zac MacMath; Marlon Hairston (Marco Pappa, 79’), Jared Watts, Axel Sjöberg, Eric Miller; Micheal Azira, Sam Cronin; Dominique Badji, Dillon Powers, Shkëlzen Gashi (Luis Solignac, 67’); Kevin Doyle.
Subs not used: Chris Froschauer, Mekeil Williams, Conor Doyle, Bobby Burling, Dillon Serna.
Referee: Ted Unkel