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Colorado Rapids spoil FC Dallas’ shot at playoff bye with 2-1 victory in regular-season finale

Oct 28, 2018; Commerce City, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard (1) attempts a save in the first half against the FC Dallas at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids ended a disappointing 2018 campaign on a high note, defeating FC Dallas 2-1 and spoiling the visitors’ opportunity to earn a Knockout Round bye in the upcoming MLS Cup playoffs.

Colorado (8-19-7) came out in the first half dominating possession with 65 percent of the ball in the opening stanza. However, it was the visitors who struck first, as Maxi Urruti’s goal in the 18th minute gave FC Dallas (16-9-9) a 1-0 lead.

“I felt the first half, we were good without being dangerous,” said Rapids coach Anthony Hudson. “We gave away a really poor goal, but other than that, they didn’t give us too much troubles.”

In the second half, FCD’s lead evaporated as Colorado midfielder Cole Bassett scored in the 80th minute to level the match. It marked a debut MLS goal for the Rapids’ 17-year-old homegrown, who was signed to the team this summer.

“He shouldn’t have been in the box,” Hudson laughed. “There were some moments there where Cole received the ball in certain situations and showed a lot of bravery and a lot of character. I think he showed an incredible amount of desire to get on the end of that cross.”

With the score tied at 1-1, it only took four minutes for Colorado to take its first lead of the game, as defender Tommy Smith scored the go-ahead goal to put the hosts in front 2-1 just a few moments later.

“Once we got that goal, I felt we had a chance,” Hudson continued. “I thought we played very well without giving them problems. It’s strange because [Dallas] are at the top of the league. At 1-0 down, it would’ve been easy to go the other way.”

For the visitors, it marked disappointment. With an opportunity to lock down the No. 2 playoff seed in the Western Conference leading into the match, the loss dropped Dallas to fourth. FCD will now host Portland in a midweek Knockout Round game on short rest.

“It was a good first half, but the second half wasn’t good at all for us. We gave up two goals from situations that we controlled,” said FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja. “First, it’s just to get our heads in the right place. This is a result that’s hard to absorb.”

With the win, Colorado ended the 2018 campaign with points earned from its final three games, finishing 11th in the Western Conference. However, with 31 points on the year, 2018 marks the franchise’s worst ever total for points earned in a 34-game season, bested only by Pablo Mastroeni’s debut season in 2014 (32 points).

Despite the trials of his debut campaign as head coach of the Colorado Rapids, Hudson remained upbeat in his final postgame press conference of the season.

“It’s been an incredibly tough year,” said Hudson. “There’s been periods where it’s been painful, but I’ve loved every single moment of it. Through all the difficult times, I haven’t seen or witnessed anyone going on a different path or direction. I think everyone has stuck together.”

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