Three second half goals capped off an epic comeback at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Tuesday night, as the Colorado Rapids downed Oklahoma City Energy FC 3-2 to book their spot in the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Trailing 2-0 at the break, goals from Dominique Badji, Eric Miller, and Dennis Castillo turned the tie around. Miller and Castillo had never previously scored for the Rapids. Miller's last goal in any competitive game came for Portland Timbers U23s in a 2-0 win over their Seattle Sounders FC counterparts in the PDL four years ago. He also scored a year earlier for the Timbers in the Open Cup, in a 3-1 loss to PSA Elite.
His goal on Tuesday, his first as a pro, was far more significant, as it dragged the scores level. Castillo - nine days after bagging his first professional goal, while on loan at Charlotte Independence - then popped up for the winner in the 89th minute, with extra-time looming large.
Comeback complete. Cup upset avoided.
With four games in the next 12 days, Pablo Mastroeni made a number of tactical changes to the starting lineup, while also going back to the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Castillo and Ricardo Perez returned from their loan stints and made their first appearances of the season for the club. Dillon Serna made his first start of 2017 at the left back position. Jared Watts, inserted in the midfield alongside Sam Hamilton, also returned to the lineup after a nagging calf injury kept him sidelined the last few weeks. Joshua Gatt, Dillon Powers and Alan Gordon rounded out the Rapids attack.
The Rapids found themselves in a delicate situation, going down 2-0 after the first 45 minutes. Forward Daniel Gonzalez would give the USL side the lead in the 38th minute with a cheeky finish past Zac MacMath after beating Castillo on the left side of the box.
To add salt to the wound, the Energy would double their lead in first half stoppage time as Philip Rasmussen connected well with a Daniel Jackson cross, to ping a first-time shot past MacMath.
In a tale of two halves, the Colorado Rapids would waste no time after the interval, quickly cutting the visitors’ lead down to one as Badji got on the end of a one-time cross by Castillo. Badji, who replaced an injured Bobby Burling just before the end of the first half, tallied his team-high fourth goal across all competitions.
Minutes after the hour mark, the Rapids would get their equalizer as Eric Miller volleyed home the corner kick that was initially headed back across goal by Gordon to make the score 2-2.
Just when it looked like the U.S. Open Cup clash would head into extra-time, the Rapids found the game-winner through an unlikely hero. Another corner kick from Powers was met by Castillo, who redirected his header towards the top corner of the goal, sending the home side into the next round.
The Rapids will await the winner between FC Dallas and Tulsa Roughnecks FC (USL) in the Round of 16 of the tournament. In the meantime, the club will host Portland Timbers (TICKETS) this weekend, before LA Galaxy visit Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on June 21 (TICKETS).
Colorado Rapids 3-2 OKC Energy FC
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, CO
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
OKC: Daniel Gonzalez (Daniel Jackson) 38'
OKC: Philip Rasmussen (Daniel Jackson) 45’+1’
COL: Dominique Badji (Dennis Castillo) 49’
COL: Eric Miller (Alan Gordon) 66’
COL: Dennis Castillo (Dillon Powers) 89’
COL: Dennis Castillo (caution) 68’
OKC: Jose Barril (caution) 78’
COL: Dillon Powers (caution) 83’
OKC: Anthony Wallace (caution) 90’+1’
Colorado Rapids: Zac MacMath; Dennis Castillo, Bobby Burling (Dominique Badji 45’+1’), Eric Miller, Dillon Serna; Jared Watts (Marlon Hairston 61’), Sam Hamilton; Ricardo Perez, Dillon Powers, Joshua Gatt; Alan Gordon (Kevin Doyle 67’).
Subs not used: John Berner, Mike da Fonte, Mohammed Saeid.
OKC Energy FC: C.J. Cochran; Richard Dixon, Mickey Daley, Anthony Wallace, Kyle Hyland; Coady Andrews, Daniel Gonzalez (Alex Dixon 66’), Chad Bond, Philip Rasmussen; Jose Barril (Juan Pablo Guzman 78’), Daniel Jackson (Andy Craven 72’).
Subs not used: Jacob Lissek, Michael Harris, Miguel Gonzalez, Luis Martinez.