Colorado Rapids 2 earned two points in a 5-4 shootout win against MNUFC2 on Saturday night at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. After ending regulation in a 3-3 draw, Colorado’s Abraham Rodriguez made a huge save during the shootout to give the Rapids the extra point against a visiting Minnesota side.
"Before we went out, we were in the locker room, and we took it as another normal game. We knew it was a really important game here. They beat us two times at their house, so it was our turn to hand it to them and I am very happy that we did,” said Abraham Rodriguez, Rapids 2 goalkeeper.
The Saturday night doubleheader at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park got off to a late start with both teams taking the field at 10:30 p.m. MT. An eager Colorado attack quickly fired off the first shot of the night in the 5th minute with Yosuke Hanya playing a ball across the net to the feet of Anthony Markanich who missed the far post by a few inches. However, Minnesota returned the favor just moments later, asking Rodriguez to make his first save of the night in the 11th minute.
The two sides remained composed and continued to put together runs into the final third, but it was the work of striker Dantouma “Yaya” Toure and midfielder Daouda Amadou that kicked the game into high gear.
In the 26th minute, Amadou found the ball in the center of the pitch and slotted a long pass to the endline where Toure picked it up and sent a quick shot to the far post for the opener of the night. With that goal, Toure recorded his fifth goal in the team’s last three games and extended his lead to eight goals on the season.
Minnesota earned its first opportunity of the night off of an earned penalty kick in the 34th minute, which striker Tommy Williamson converted for the equalizer. Moments later, Williamson notched himself a brace finding the back of the net once again to give his side the go ahead goal.
With the home side down by one, the Rapids took the field in the second half searching for the equalizer. The chance would come in the 59th minute as Hanya was taken down hard in the box, giving Darren Yapi an opportunity for a penalty kick from the spot. Yapi found the back of the net for the equalizer and earned himself his fifth MLS NEXT Pro goal of the season.
The final Rapids goal of the night came just minutes later when defender Omar Gomez placed a cross on the far post finding the head of Hanya to give Colorado the lead in the 61st minute. However, it was Minnesota’s Williamson who was able to even the score yet again in the 80th minute with the team’s second penalty kick of the night.
“It is always good when you get goals from your front three,” said Erik Bushey, Rapids 2 head coach. “There is an expectation there and then that fuels them to do more. Yaya (Dantouma Toure) continues to score, and we are proud of him for that. Yosuke, (Hanya) when his attitude is such that he is going to get at guys one versus one, he is a very difficult player to stop. All three are obviously scoring important goals and that is positive for all of us."
With the teams level heading into the dying minutes of the game, Yapi was sent off the pitch with a red card violation, forcing the home side to play a man down for the final two minutes of stoppage time. Ultimately, the two sides ended regulation in a draw and took to the spot to determine the winner of the extra point in a MLS NEXT Pro shootout well after midnight.
Rodriguez stood firm on his line blocking one of Minnesota’s penalties while the Rapids' Ralph Priso, Markanich, Robinson Aguirre, Toure and Michael Harris all converted from the spot to earn Colorado the extra point in a 5-4 shootout victory.
"For me, I love the penalty kicks. I love walking up and talking to the players, getting in their heads, and making the big saves. I really like that. Tonight's penalty kicks, I should have had a few more, but I was able to make that save. The guys did their job. They scored all of them, hit the target and that is all we needed,” said Rodriguez.
Rapids 2 will travel to Houston this week to take on Dynamo 2 at AVEVA Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. MT and the match will be broadcast on MLSNEXTPro.com.