Aug 11, 2018; Commerce City, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids midfielder Sam Nicholson (28) and defender Tommy Smith (5) and defender Kortne Ford (24) and forward Niki Jackson (12) and midfielder Shkelzen Gashi (11) celebrate the goal of midfielder Bismark Adjei-Boateng (21) in extra time against the San Jose Earthquakes at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – In a matchup of league bottom dwellers, the Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes faced off to contest the fabled MLS wooden spoon trophy. After an exchanging of goals between the two sides, midfielder Bismarck “Nana” Boateng scored the game-winner in stoppage time, leading Colorado to a 2-1 home win Saturday night.
It marked the second-straight win for Colorado in as many games, and the second time the Rapids have won back-to-back matches in 2018.
“I wish it wasn’t another late one,” Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson said postgame. “I’m sure it was exciting for the fans, but it should have been taken care of in the first half, to be honest.”
While Colorado has been trending positively with eight points tallied over the past five matches, Hudson pointed out that it’s far from celebration time.
“We’ve won a couple of games,” he continued. “We’re still fighting for our lives at the wrong end of the table.”
Rapids golden boot leader Tommy Smith opened the scoring in the 24th minute with his headed effort, assisted by Kellyn Acosta, to put Colorado in front 1-0. It marked the third goal of the season for Smith, and the third-straight match in which Acosta has notched either a goal or an assist.
A tactical decision by Hudson led to Enzo Martinez subbing out for Dillon Serna in the 28th minute. Playing centrally, the Homegrown had an immediate impact on the match, notching a defensive stop in the 32nd minute and a shot from the edge of box, which pinged off the crossbar five minutes.
“With Dillon, when we see him in training, he’s got so much energy,” Hudson said of Serna. “When he played against Boca Juniors I said, “I want to see that more often.” We needed an injection of energy at that stage. I thought he did really well.”
San Jose also produced its fair share of first-half chances, but the visitors’ best opportunity to equalize came in the 42nd minute. Shea Salinas ripped a right-footed shot from outside the box, but the midfielder was denied by Tim Howard.
Colorado dominated firsthalf possession with nearly 60 percent of the ball, but only held a slight edge in shots (7-6), while San Jose produced more on-target chances with three.
The Earthquakes eventually tied the game in the second half. Rapids centerback Kortne Ford conceded a penalty in the 57th minute. Magnus Eriksson stepped up to take the penalty for San Jose and buried it to the left of Tim Howard, leveling the match at 1-1.
Substitute Niki Jackson nearly took back the lead for Colorado in the 74th minute, but his headed effort was above the mark.
In the 88th minute, San Jose went down to 10 men following a red card issued to Salinas for violent conduct. Salinas was involved in a scrum between the two teams following a tactical foul and subsequent yellow card by Serna.
Colorado benefited from the man advantage as Boateng scored the game winner, sneaking his low shot past Tarbell to give the Rapids the 2-1 advantage.
“We just kept going and going,” Boateng said of the late effort by Colorado. “It’s been a long road this season. Finally, we’re getting the results we need.”
Colorado will now embark on a two-game Los Angeles road trip, facing L.A. Galaxy in Carson, Calif., Tuesday night before heading to Banc of California Stadium to face LAFC five days later. San Jose returns to Avaya Stadium next Saturday to host Toronto FC.