Goals from veteran strikers Kevin Doyle and Alan Gordon inside the last 10 minutes gave the Colorado Rapids their first come-from-behind victory of the season and a third consecutive win at home, as they dropped Columbus Crew SC 2-1.
Gordon’s first tally as a Rapid four minutes from time proved to be the difference as Pablo Mastroeni's men earned their fourth victory of the season. Six minutes earlier, Doyle would cancel out Federico Higuain’s deflected strike shortly after the hour mark.
With Bobby Burling suspended and Tim Howard away on international duty, Mastroeni was forced to make two changes to last week’s starting lineup. Mike da Fonte would come in at center back, while Zac MacMath would get his fourth start of the season in goal.
Coming off a convincing 3-0 midweek victory over the Seattle Sounders FC, Columbus would once again get off to a fast start. The young Rapids backline was tested early but stood firm, with MacMath making a pair of fine saves. The home side would slowly switch momentum and create three great opportunities from Dominique Badji and Shkëlzen Gashi. Crew SC’s goalkeeper Zach Steffen denied Colorado’s attempts to keep the game scoreless at the half.
An unlucky deflection gave the visitors the lead 16 minutes into the second half. Higuain was given space just outside the box and unleashed a strike that skimmed off Micheal Azira and completely wrong-footed a helpless MacMath. Azira would later clear a Justin Meram freekick off the line, with McMath beaten.
Desperate for the equalizer, Mastroeni would make a pair of changes shortly after going down, bringing in Joshua Gatt and Caleb Calvert. The substitutions would seem to pay off as Doyle would net the equalizer after a great lead-up from the right side.
Minutes later, Gordon would check into the match and eventually score the game-winning header at the far post, off a perfectly placed cross by Gatt. Columbus pushed numbers forward, with additional minutes added onto the stoppage time, making for a nervy finale, but Colorado’s defense would hold tight as the home side snatched all three points.
The Rapids (4-8-1; 13 points) head into the FIFA window currently sitting in 11th place in the Western Conference. Mastroeni and company though, have a pair of games in hand on most teams. Next up for the Rapids is the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against Oklahoma City Energy FC on Tuesday, June 13 (7:00 p.m. MT).
Colorado Rapids 2-1 Columbus Crew SC
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, CO
Saturday, June 3, 2017
CLB: Federico Higuain (Justin Meram) 61'
COL: Kevin Doyle (Marlon Hairston, Mohammed Saeid) 80'
COL: Alan Gordon (Joshua Gatt) 86'
COL: Kevin Doyle (caution) 48’
COL: Kortne Ford (caution) 73’
COL: Micheal Azira (caution) 79’
Colorado Rapids: Zac MacMath; Marlon Hairston, Mike da Fonte, Kortne Ford, Eric Miller; Mohammed Saeid, Micheal Azira, Dillon Powers (Joshua Gatt 67’), Shkëlzen Gashi; Dominique Badji (Caleb Calvert 73’), Kevin Doyle (Alan Gordon 82’). Subs not used: John Berner, Sam Hamilton, Dillon Serna.
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Josh Williams, Alex Crognale (Niko Hansen 89’), Nicolai Naess (Jonathan Mensah 83’); Harrison Afful, Wil Trapp, Waylon Francis, Mohammed Abu (Artur 75’); Federico Higuain; Justin Meram, Ola Kamara. Subs not used: Brad Stuver, Jukka Raitala, Ethan Finlay, Kekuta Manneh.
Colorado Rapids: 4-8-1 (13 points)
Columbus Crew SC: 7-8-1 (22 points)