After starting the season with an MLS record worst two points from 11 games, the Colorado Rapids are suddenly among the hottest teams in MLS.
Colorado improved to 3-0-1 in their last four games with a 3-1 home win over FC Cincinnati Saturday night, with substitute Diego Rubio providing a goal and an assist soon after Cincinnati tied the game in the second half.
The game picked up steam in the second half, with Colorado surviving a Tim Howard goalmouth bobble in the 58th minute, only to see FC Cincinnati tie the game in the 72nd minute when substitute Kekuta Manneh ran onto a Roland Lamah pass behind the Colorado defense.
But less than a minute later, Rubio set up fellow substitute Nicolás Mezquida for a low finish off Spencer Richey's hand to restore the Colorado lead. Mezquida's game-winner was his second in the last three games, both as a substitute, after he had produced one game-winning goal in his first 112 MLS games.
Howard made a key stop on Alvas Powell in the 80th minute, and Rubio soon made sure of the points himself when he headed in a Jack Price corner kick, with a deflection from the unlucky Powell.
Thanks to their recent form, Colorado (3-9-3) passed Cincinnati (3-10-2) at the bottom of the combined MLS standings, with the expansion club now stuck at 1-9-1 in their last 11 games.
- 43' – COL – Andre Shinyashiki | WATCH
- 72' – CIN – Kekuta Manneh
- 73' – COL – Nicolás Mezquida | WATCH
- 82' – COL – Diego Rubio | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Colorado and Cincinnati are the bottom two teams in the MLS standings, and they fired their respective coaches less than two weeks apart earlier this year. So far, Colorado certainly has made more demonstrable progress, going young in spots – 17-year-old Cole Bassett started and assisted the opening goal and 20-year-old Sam Vines came off the bench in the first half – and still winning under interim head coach Conor Casey. Cincinnati have scored multiple goals only three times in 15 games this year and have gone 11 games without a shutout, so Yoann Damet's work is just beginning.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Nicolás Mezquida's response to Cincinnati's tying goal - coming less than one minute later - was the backbreaker for a weary, frustrated Cincinnati team.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: The Rapids left wing position. Andre Shinyashiki was one of the most dangerous players on the field in his 68 minutes, setting up an open Kei Kamara look and scoring the opening goal. His replacement, Diego Rubio? He only set up the go-ahead goal and provided an insurance tally late in the game.
- COL: Sat., June 8 vs Minnesota United (7:00 PM MT)