The Colorado Rapids spoiled FC Dallas’ shot at wrapping up a first-round bye, extending the visitors’ losing streak to three-straight following a 2-1 comeback win to close out the regular season. After an opening goal from Maximiliano Urruti to put Dallas ahead 1-0 at halftime, goals from Cole Basset (80’) and Tommy Smith (84’) helped to steal the win for Colorado.
Here are three takeaways from Colorado’s 2-1 win over Dallas:
Bassett Hounds FCD
Colorado ended their season unbeaten in three-straight to end the season, and a common denominator during that stretch run has been Colorado’s 17-year-old homegrown has not only set goals for himself, he’s delivered.
Leading up to this week’s match, Bassett revealed that FC Dallas is a personal rival of his, having never beat them in the Rapids Academy system. Given that it was going to be fan appreciation night, he also revealed the many memories he had as a fan of the team he now plays for and how important it would be to give them a good showing.
Bassett also revealed that he was not expected to start the match earlier in the week, but had to work harder in training to impress head coach Anthony Hudson to give him another starting nod. Bassett was in the Rapids XI on Sunday, apparently, he had done all the work needed.
In the match, he scored his debut goal in MLS play and it was an important one, leveling the match at 1-1. Additionally, he sent just four errant passes during the full 90 minutes and four minutes of extra time, good for a passing accuracy of 93 percent.
“It just shows the mentality of this team and where we’re going next year because we want to be in the playoffs, we want to be where FC Dallas is right now, and even higher than that, so that’s what we’re working towards,” Bassett said of Sunday’s match.
Acosta Benefit Analysis: Pt. 2
One of the major storylines heading into the match between Colorado and FC Dallas hearkened back to the summer trade between the two clubs involving the exchange of Kellyn Acosta for Dominique Badji. Sunday’s game marked the first matchup between the two teams since the trade and the two players would be facing their old clubs for the first time.
Badji wasn’t able to get on the scoresheet, but was able to provide the crucial assist on Dallas’ opening goal. He could use pace and energy to keep the Rapids’ defense honest.
“I think Dominique had a very good first half,” said FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja. “He found the actions that were needed to score the first goal and the connections there.”
But Acosta also had an important impact on the match, whipping in the cross and earning an assist on Tommy Smith’s set piece goal, which turned out to be the game winner.
In possession, it proved to be an active afternoon for the 23-year-old midfielder:
At the end of the day, the trade still looks even between the two teams.
Don’t let this distract you from the fact…
Lost in all the self-congratulatory tweets and comments internally from the club following the defeat of a playoff-bound team on Sunday, is the fact that Colorado has been poor all season.
Both head coach Anthony Hudson and GM Padraig Smith promised the fan base that 2018 would be “playoffs or bust” but a club record losing streak in the first half all but mathematically eliminated the team from playoff contention as early as late June and early July. For mathematical sticklers, the Rapids were officially eliminated from playoff contention with six games remaining back in September.
Before the team’s three-game unbeaten streak to close out the season, they were likewise on a seven-game losing streak. When it came to the most important matches, Colorado was outplayed and outclassed, like in the historic 6-0 defeat to Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Real Salt Lake.
Even with Sunday’s win, and seven points earned in the Rapids’ final three matches, Colorado’s point total of 31 points marks the worst points total in a 34-game season in club history.
But it’s not just the losing. The Stefan Aigner situation was a quagmire of disastrous proportions on both a player personal and media/fan relations level.
Following Sunday’s win, Anthony Hudson put forth another playoff guarantee.
“I am completely, 100 percent, dedicated and focused on nothing but making sure we are a playoff team and a team people can be proud of,” Hudson told media on Sunday. “I have nothing else in my life other than that total focus.”
Fans and media need to hold the Colorado Rapids accountable to that promise.