Aug 4, 2018; Commerce City, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids midfielder Enzo Martinez (90) chases behind Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Romain Alessandrini (7) in the second half of the match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Propelled by a late goal from Sam Nicholson, the Colorado Rapids earned their fifth win of the season and their first in six games with a 2-1 result against a Zlatan-less L.A. Galaxy Saturday night.
The victory ended a five-game winless skid for Colorado, while snapping a nine-game unbeaten streak for the Galaxy.
“I think a theme that we’ve had all season, that I think we saw tonight; We’re having to create our own belief,” Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson explained to reporters postgame. “We have to work for everything. When we back ourselves and play and we’re positive and aggressive — When we’re like that, we give ourselves belief. I think that’s what we got tonight.”
Controlling chances and possession, the Rapids played positively from the start. Colorado nearly went in front in the 6th minute when Edgar Castillo’s low cross found the feet of midfielder Sam Nicholson, but Nicholson’s shot was deflected and bounced off the crossbar.
Instead, the visitors took an early lead. A poor clearance by Rapids centerback Tommy Smith landed at the waiting feet of Romain Alessandrini, who buried the effort past Tim Howard to give L.A. a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute.
“We kind of had it going. We played some good football,” Rapids midfielder Kellyn Acosta said of the first-half effort. “That goal was disappointing but that was the only great chance they had in the half.”
But despite dominating shots (6-3) and possession (65 percent), Colorado entered the half trailing.
That changed in the second half. Dribbling past Servando Carrasco, Acosta slotted home the equalizer in the 50th minute to level the match at 1-1. It marked the second goal in as many games for Acosta since joining Colorado last week.
“I didn’t expect him to score two goals right away,” Hudson said of Acosta. “He looks like he’s enjoying his football. When he took his goal, he took responsibility. He stood up and we need more players like that.”
For the remainder of the half, both sides pushed for the go-ahead goal. L.A. was presented with an odd-man rush in the 64th minute, but Rapids centerback Kortne Ford came up with a timely tackle on Jonathan Dos Santos.
Conversely, Colorado produced multiple chances at the 72-minute mark, but attempts from both Marlon Hairston and Acosta could not find the mark.
Four minutes later, Alessandrini nearly found a second goal, blasting a shot toward the near post, but Howard came up with the save.
Just before the start of stoppage time, Colorado found the go-ahead goal. Castillo again dribbled through the Galaxy defense, laying off the ball to Nicholson who blasted the hosts in front 2-1 with his goal.
“We’ve had quite a lot of situations in the past at home where we’ve really been on the front foot late in games,” Hudson said. “I think tonight, again, we just had a bit more belief. We had that tonight.”
L.A. will now head back to Carson, Calif., to host Minnesota United next week before facing Colorado for the second time in 10 days. Colorado will host San Jose on Saturday in a battle between two teams at the bottom of the Western Conference table.