COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – With playoffs on the line, Tim Howard played his final home match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, helping the Colorado Rapids earn a 3-0 win over FC Dallas Sunday afternoon.
Heading into the match with a minus-six goal differential in the Western Conference table, Colorado also did well to make up ground with three goals from Jack Price, Diego Rubio and Kei Kamara.
“The result was fantastic,” said Rapids head coach Robin Fraser postgame. “I mean,
kind of difficult conditions, backs against the wall, pretty much all year and they just keep fighting.”
The game marked Howard’s first start and appearance since a 2-0 win over New York Red Bulls on Aug. 31. The 40-year-old has been dealing with a nagging leg injury since late July.
“With regard to Tim retiring, it’s wonderful that we all can be a part of Tim’s career for a little while,” Fraser continued. “He’s an extremely classy and talented person who’s had a tremendous career and a tremendous impact on us soccer and really everyone that has touched. So I think we’re all really privileged to be a part of this celebration, and to have taken part in some small part in Tim’s career.”
Price opened the scoring for Colorado in the 10th minute, hitting a shot from the top of the box into the side netting to put the Rapids in front 1-0.
Despite the nagging injury, Howard came to play, notching an early close-range blanking of Jesus Ferreira in the 31st minute. Howard ended the match with three saves total, preserving the clean sheet for Colorado.
Colorado had an opportunity to double the lead in the 38th minute when Ryan Hollingshead was called for a handball in the box, but Kamara’s ensuing penalty effort was saved by FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.
Colorado finally found a second goal in first half extra time when Diego Rubio found the back of the net on a free kick at the top of the 18-yard box. Rubio’s effort snuck past the Dallas wall, giving the Rapids a 2-0 lead entering the half.
The Rapids added a third goal in the second half as substitute Nicolas Mezquida sent in a deft through ball to Kamara, who smoothly finished to extend the lead to 3-0 in the 72nd minute.
“We wanted to continue,” Fraser said of the continued offensive pressure from Colorado, which looked to erase some of their playoff goal differential heading into the match. “At the end of the day, we want to do things well, we do things well and execute, then we hope the result of that is that we create some chances to score some goals. the more we could push, and the more we can perhaps create some things then, obviously, then the goal differential thing comes into play.”
Colorado nearly added a fourth in the 82nd minute, but four different shots from the Rapids offense were kept out by Gonzalez and the post.
Despite Dallas holding an edge in shots and possession, Colorado saw out the remainder of the match to seal the result.
“We just keep going out trying to get results,” said Fraser. “Things work out. We get closer and closer and now here we are in the last week and we have a chance. So I think it’s again testament to the how this team has been how they’ve responded really to their start.”
With the win, Colorado remains mathematically in the playoff race heading into their final regular season match. As it stands, Colorado’s easiest path to the postseason would be a win against LAFC combined with a losses by Dallas and San Jose.
“We’ve got a hell of a chance,” said Howard. “With these guys, we could beat Barcelona, so next week against LAFC, let’s do it.”
Dallas hosts Sporting Kansas City next Sunday while Colorado will travel to LAFC. Both matches kick off at 4 p.m. ET.