COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Despite concerns of a plague outbreak surrounding Saturday’s match between the Colorado Rapids and Montreal Impact, the game played on and Colorado won 6-3 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“Execution, really,” Rapids coach Conor Casey said of the reason behind the win. “We created a lot of chances. We had good energy starting out. We were unfortunate to have the own goal. We were clinical again on set pieces, and a lot of positives to take away tonight.”
Montreal (10-12-3, 33 points) opened the scoring in the 18th minute when a cross from Saphir Taïder landed on the head of Rapids striker Kei Kamara, who knocked it in for an own goal.
Colorado (5-12-5, 20 points) responded in the 21st minute. A Jack Price cross deflected off Kamara and Rapids defender Lalas Abubakar before making a final bounce off Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush. The second own goal of the match leveled the score at 1-1.
Colorado nearly took its first lead of the match eight minutes later, but Kellyn Acosta’s shot from the center of the 18-yard box was high and wide of the mark.
In the 35th minute, Rapids forward Diego Rubio drew a foul in the box, prompting a penalty call. Kamara slotted home the shot in the lower right corner to give the Rapids a 2-1 lead.
Kamara extended the lead again in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. An initial shot by Sam Nicholson deflected out to Kamara, who slotted it in the lower right corner to give Colorado a 3-1 lead.
In the third minute of the four-minute stoppage time period, Colorado scored yet again. Price connected with Rubio in the box, who slotted home the header to give the Rapids a 4-1 lead before the halftime whistle.
“Mentality, work-wise and desire, he’s been giving everything to the team lately,” Casey said of Rubio, who has scored five goals in the past seven matches.
After 45 minutes, Colorado had scored four goals off three on-target efforts, while holding just 41 percent possession in the opening stanza.
Tim Howard, who made his first appearance since coming off injured two weeks ago in a 2-1 loss to NYCFC, subbed off at halftime for Clint Irwin. Casey confirmed postgame that the substitution was due to the calf injury that continues to affect Howard.
Colorado nearly got a fifth goal in the opening minutes of the second half, but the goal was called offside.
Aug 3, 2019; Commerce City, CO, USA; A general view of Dicks Sporting Goods Park before an MLS game between the Colorado Rapids and the Montreal Impact. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports
Montreal pulled one back in the 55th minute when Maxi Urruti sent a curling shot into the upper 90 to make the score 4-2.
Despite several Rapids counterattacks, the visitors scored the next goal. Substitute Mathieu Choinière drew a foul from Acosta in Colorado’s box. Taïder took the penalty and converted, cutting the lead to 4-3 in the 76th minute.
But Colorado continued on the attack and extended its lead to two goals yet again two minutes later. Andre Shinyashiki added the fifth goal for the Rapids in the 78th minute.
Twelve minutes later, the Rapids found the back of the net again, with Kamara completing his hat trick off a headed effort to put Colorado in front 6-3 just before stoppage time.
“He was incredible,” Casey said of Kamara. “Great attitude all week. He’s been doing a lot of the dirty work for us and hasn’t always got the reward but tonight he did.”
Colorado saw out the match to earn its sixth win of the season, all coming under interim coach Conor Casey.
“It’s a statement, but we have to continue to back it up,” Casey continued. “We know where we’re at in the table so we’ve got to keep working hard.
Still at bottom of the Western Conference, the Rapids will host San Jose next Saturday night. Montreal returns home to host Cavalry in a Canadian Championship semifinal Wednesday before playing at Chicago next Saturday.