Two goals from Shkëlzen Gashi and one from Dominique Badji catapulted the Colorado Rapids to their biggest win over San Jose Earthquakes since 2002, and also gifted them their second success of the season.
This was a Rapids side that had lost five in a row, and were without a win since the opening day of the season, but that did not show as they dominated from the first whistle.
Pablo Mastroeni broke from tradition and sent his troops out in a 4-4-2 formation, with Alan Gordon and Badji up top. Also, Marlon Hairston played at right back, a position not unfamiliar but one which he has not played since the start of 2015.
Despite the upheaval, and despite the results coming into the contest, the Rapids were rarely troubled by a Quakes side seeking to make it three wins in a row.
San Jose’s best effort fell to the feet of Anibal Godoy on 61 minutes, but Tim Howard made himself big to deny the Panama international from 10 yards out. By that stage, though, the visitors were 3-0 down, thanks to a Gashi brace and a third of the season for Badji.
After Gordon missed an open goal from close range, but the Rapids were in no mood to feel sorry for themselves and kept on the front foot.
Gordon won a freekick midway inside the San Jose half on 29 minutes. A ball from Dillon Powers was neatly taken down by Mohammed Saeid, who delivered a cross with his second touch, which was converted by Gashi.
The former San Jose man Gordon was provider for the second, linking up well with Badji 10 minutes before the interval, allowing the Senegal striker to stride clear and beat David Bingham from the edge of the box.
Gashi made it 3-0 on 56 minutes after an improvised pass from Badji. The Rapids number 14 was on the ground, and yet still managed to scoop the ball into the path of the Albanian, who made no mistake.
Next for the Rapids are two road games, starting with a midweek trip to Chicago Fire on Wednesday (6:30 p.m. MT). Live coverage on Altitude TV, Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 and La Invasora 87.7FM.
Colorado Rapids 3-0 San Jose Earthquakes
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
COL: Shkëlzen Gashi (Mohammed Saeid, Dillon Powers) 29’
COL: Dominique Badji (Alan Gordon) 35’
COL: Shkëlzen Gashi (Dominique Badji, Alan Gordon) 56’
COL: Dillon Powers (caution) 42’
COL: Eric Miller (caution) 55’
Colorado Rapids: Tim Howard; Marlon Hairston, Bobby Burling, Jared Watts, Eric Miller; Shkëlzen Gashi, Micheal Azira, Dillon Powers, Mohammed Saeid (Dillon Serna 82’); Alan Gordon (Kevin Doyle 63’), Dominique Badji (Caleb Calvert 76’). Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Mike Da Fonte, Joshua Gatt, Sam Hamilton.
San Jose Earthquakes: David Bingham; Cordell Cato, Florian Jungwirth, Victor Bernardez, Kofi Sarkodie; Darwin Ceren, Anibal Godoy (Fatai Alashe 63’), Jahmir Hyka (Simon Dawkins 72’), Danny Hoesen; Marco Ureña (Tommy Thompson 63’), Chris Wondolowski. Subs not used: Andrew Tarbell; Shaun Francis, Nick Lima, Jackson Yueill.
Rapids: 2-6-1 (7 points)
Quakes: 4-4-3 (15 points)