Colorado Rapids 2 defeated Earthquakes II in a 2-1 victory on Friday night at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium. Man of the Match Dantouma “Yaya” Toure earned himself a brace after converting a penalty kick and a header for his fourth and fifth goal of the season.
“The boys never quit,” said Brian Haynes, Rapids 2 assistant coach. “Even when the game was tied, they kept playing. When the goal came, they kept playing. As far as I am concerned, the kind of effort and the kind of intensity we played with the entire game, I was very proud of the guys."
Rapids 2 kicked off their Friday night match with revenge on their mind after falling to Earthquakes II in a 7-1 loss during the teams first meeting in May. The game, which was delayed over an hour due to lightning in the area, saw Colorado put up two valiant efforts in the first 10 minutes of the match thanks to the savvy attacking play of Yosuke Hanya, Anthony Markanich and Dantouma “Yaya” Toure.
The match shifted in Colorado’s favor in the 24th minute as Maclovio Swett suffered a tackle in the box, earning the home side a penalty kick opportunity. Toure stood over the ball at the spot and converted the penalty for Colorado’s first of the night.
With Colorado up by one, San Jose’s attack began to feel a surmounting pressure to find the back of the net. In the 38th minute, the pressure came to a head as Abraham Rodriguez came off his line to go one on one with an Earthquakes forward. Rodriguez was called for the foul, earning the away side a penalty kick opportunity, which they converted to even the score heading into the half.
With the teams level at the halftime whistle, Colorado continued its push to find the go ahead goal. In the 59th minute of the match the Rapids found their golden opportunity when Omar Gomez made a run down the line, carrying the ball with finesse and sending a perfectly placed cross directly to the penalty spot. A confident Toure squeezed his way between two defenders to put a head on the ball to secure the Rapids its game winning goal.
Recording a brace on the night, Toure propelled himself to the leading spot for goals scored on the team with five goals this season. The first team loan also earned himself the title of Man of the Match for his performance in the attacking third. In addition, Gomez recorded his first assist of the season with his game winning cross in the second half.
“As Omar (Gomez) took a touch forward, I knew he was going to beat his guy because he is a good player and good left footed. As he whipped the ball in the center of the penalty kick line, the only thing I was thinking about was to run hard and put a touch on the ball and make sure it was intentional,” said Dantouma “Yaya” Toure.
The remaining 30 minutes of the half were marked by a tremendous effort from Rodriguez in goal. The keeper managed to make a game winning save at the death to earn his side three points on the night. Rodriguez ended the game with three saves while leading his backline to only allow four shots on target during the entirety of the match.
"Abe (Abraham Rodriguez) was leading from the back tonight,” said Haynes. “That is what I think most about him. The penalty was unfortunate, but he never stopped being the goalkeeper that he was. He made the save that he had to make at the end. I was much more happy for him than the rest of the team because he is a thankless kid. He doesn't always get the thank you that he deserves. Tonight, I am so happy that he got the win."
The Rapids will return to the University of Denver Soccer Stadium on Sunday, July 24, to face off against Whitecaps FC 2 for the first time this season. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. MT. Purchase tickets for the next Rapids 2 match here.