COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids remain hot under interim head coach Conor Casey, extending their unbeaten streak to five games following Saturday night’s 1-0 win over visiting Minnesota United FC, who dropped their third in a row.
“Great team defensive effort,” Casey said. “It’s the ugliest win we’ve had in a while and at the same time, the prettiest win as well.”
Colorado (4-9-3, 15 points) opened the scoring in the 29th minute off a set piece as Kei Kamara’s header off a corner kick found the target to give the Rapids a 1-0 lead. The goal marked the first for Kamara from the run of play since April 20, in a 4-1 loss to Chicago.
“He’s a beast,” Casey said of Kamara. “He’s so important to this team. It’s good for him to get off the mark and get the game-winner tonight.”
Entering the half, Minnesota United (6-7-3, 21 points) out-possessed Colorado with nearly 59 percent of the ball in the first half, but the hosts outshot the Loons 4-3, including the game’s lone shot on target to that point in Kamara’s goal.
Andre Shinyashiki nearly added to Colorado’s lead in the second half, but his shot from the left side of Minnesota’s 18-yard box was wide of the mark in the 53rd minute.
Minnesota United almost found an equalizer in the 68th minute as Abu Danladi unleashed a bicycle attempt from close range, but it was calmly cradled by Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard.
A minute later, a Nicolas Mezquida insurance goal was called back by referee Ramy Touchan due to goalkeeper interference.
Colorado continued to protect the 1-0 lead throughout the game’s dying moments, which included a clutch save from Howard on Darwin Quintero’s shot on goal in the 89th minute to preserve the clean sheet.
The win marked Colorado’s second clean sheet of the season with both shutouts coming under Casey’s direction. The coach spread around the praise regarding the defensive effort.
Jun 8, 2019; Commerce City, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids fans pose for a photograph before the match against the Minnesota United at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
“Lalas [Abubakar] has continued to impress,” said Casey. “Him and Tommy [Smith] have a good relationship now and Keegan [Rosenberry] as well. There’s a lot of guys that can hold their hand up and say they had big performances tonight.”
At the game’s final whistle, Colorado moved out of last place in the Western Conference with 15 points on the season, one point ahead of the idle Portland Timbers and now stands four points shy of the final playoff spot.
“It’s great how far we’ve come in a short amount of time,” said Casey. “But we’ve got to keep focused, keep pushing each other, and we’ll continue to get wins.”
Up next for both teams is the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. Colorado hosts New Mexico United on Wednesday while MNUFC returns to Allianz Field to host Sporting Kansas City.