The Rapids came to play from the opening whistle
From the first kick, Anthony Hudson had his side ready to play. Heck, just seconds into the match Jack Price (perhaps a little too overzealous) came in for a late challenge on Bastian Schweinsteiger. If nothing else, it sent a message to the fans (and the big German) that the home side wasn’t going to lay down for a fifth consecutive home defeat.
Just moments later, defender Tommy Smith picked off a pass around midfield and found Dominique Badji who made a lunging stab to get free of his defender and then buried a left-footed shot to give the Rapids the early lead. It was a goal that came from instinct and it’s a play Dom has practiced and perfected at the end of training sessions over the years.
Within the first fifteen minutes the Rapids found themselves with a 2-0 lead thanks to a corner kick combo between Jack Price and his mate Tommy Smith. Price played the first ball short to Johan Blomberg and then lofted a beautiful cross to the back post where Tommy was waiting unmarked. Smith made no mistake to bury his first MLS goal with a powerful header. It was a play straight off the training field. I’m surprised it took this long for one of these set piece plays to come off. It was a dream start…until it wasn’t.
Another 2-0 lead at home…
Up 2-0 after fifteen minutes against a Fire side that looked disinterested? The worst-case scenario for the Rapids at halftime should’ve been a 2-1 advantage. Instead, an own goal and piece of individual brilliance from Aleksandar Katai saw the visitors race right back into the match. It was 2-2 after 45 minutes. The Fire should’ve been forced to search for an equalizer at altitude in the second half but as the cards fell they had the chance to sit back and play for a draw, which they ultimately took home.
It’s happened in different ways against different teams throughout this 2018 season, but each outcome seems to be the same. When the Rapids have the advantage, they seem to take their foot off the gas – just a bit. It’s happened late in games, it’s happened at home and on the road. This is a team that’s making progress, whether the fans see it or not, but here’s hoping the next time they grab the lead we’re toasting to three points at the end of the night.
The goalkeepers made the biggest plays of the night
Tim Howard made two massive stops in the second half to keep the match tied. The second one against Diego Campos was vintage Tim, evoking memories of past World Cups. It’s a shame he’s not lacing them up one more time on the biggest stage in Russia this month.
Young Fire goalkeeper, Richard Sánchez, may have done his senior one better when he got his fingertips to Joe Mason’s surefire goal in the dying moments. You won’t see a better save in MLS this week or this month. It was the last big moment of the match and kept the Rapids from grabbing all three points in dramatic fashion.