COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – In Wayne Rooney’s first visit to Colorado, the Englishman and his D.C. United teammates took home a win, defeating the Colorado Rapids 3-2 at Dicks Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night.
For the hosts, it marked the fourth straight loss and second in a row at home as the Rapids continue to seek their first win of the 2019 season.
“To sort of summarize the game, obviously incredibly disappointed with the outcome of the game,” Rapids coach Anthony Hudson said. “We started the game very well. We probably scored a bit too early.”
Colorado (0-5-2, 2 points) opened the scoring in the 11th minute on a set piece opportunity. Jack Price’s corner bounced off of Tommy Smith and deflected off of D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid before landing at the feet of Benny Feilhaber, who tapped it in to give the Rapids the early 1-0 lead.
The visitors had numerous chances to equalize, including a pair of opportunities from Steve Birnbaum and Luciano Acosta just after the 20-minute mark. In the 32nd minute, Rooney was presented with a prime opportunity on a free kick just outside of Colorado’s box, but the effort was just wide of the mark.
In the 35th minute, Colorado’s defense finally broke with Acosta scoring the equalizer.
Four minutes later, D.C. United midfielder Chris Durkin put the Black-and-Red in front, scoring his first career goal to put the visitors in front, 2-1.
D.C. United (4-1-2, 14 points) extended the lead to 3-1 when Lucas Rodriguez dribbled through the heart of Colorado’s defense before slotting home past Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard in the 43rd minute. It capped a stretch before halftime in which the visitors scored three goals in a span of eight minutes.
“We had a spell at the last 12-15 minutes where we didn’t defend well enough and psychologically collapsed really,” Hudson continued. “When we concede a goal, it just deflates the team when we concede a goal. We need more confidence so that when we concede a goal, we don’t concede another one.”
But in the second half, D.C. stalled offensively, while Colorado applied the pressure.
The Rapids pulled a goal back in the 66th minute as a Feilhaber pass found the head of Kei Kamara, who scored his fourth goal of the season to draw Colorado within 3-2.
“Second half, we adjusted a few things to be a bit more positive,” Hudson explained. “They didn’t have a lot of the ball in the second half, so we didn’t have to do a lot of defending.”
Two minutes later, Colorado threatened again, but a goal line clearance from Birnbaum preserved the D.C. lead.
Colorado continued to push for an equalizer deep into the match, but attempts by Nicolas Mezquida (79′) and Feilhaber (80′) were saved by Hamid.
Apr 13, 2019; Commerce City, CO, USA; General overall view of Dick's Sporting Goods Park prior to a MLS soccer game between the D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Despite outshooting the visitors 15-1 in the second half, and ending the game leading the game in both shots and possession (55 percent), Colorado was unable to find a third goal.
Following Saturday’s result, both teams retained their place in the standings with D.C. leading the Eastern Conference, while Colorado are eighth in the Western Conference with just two points earned from seven matches thus far.
Said Hudson, “The players need to step up. It hasn’t been good enough.”
Colorado travels to Chicago next Saturday to face the Fire, while D.C. United returns to Audi Field to host NYCFC on Sunday.