COMMERCE CITY, Colo – The Colorado Rapids opened strong, but two first-half goals by the hosts were canceled out in the second half, ending Saturday night’s match with Sporting Kansas City in a 2-2 draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Colorado (0-1-1, 1 point) found the scoresheet five minutes into the match as Dominique Badji’s one-time shot off a cross from Edgar Castillo beat SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia to give the Rapids a 1-0 lead.
That lead doubled just three minutes later, as English debutant Joe Mason broke free, dribbled around Matt Besler and Melia to score the Rapids’ second goal. That gave the home team a promising 2-0 lead in the 8th minute.
“It was important because we seemed to have this cloud around us about scoring goals,” said Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson. “It was positive that we not only scored a couple of goals but probably created as many chances as them. It was a fantastic start, two very good goals and we created six or seven other very good chances.”
SKC (2-1-1, 7 points) had a prime offensive opportunity in the 21st minute. A run from Ilie Sánchez set up Khiry Shelton inside the box, but the striker was crowded out by a host of Colorado defenders.
Despite a dominant showing of possession for a good run of play that followed, Rapids midfielder Enzo Martinez nearly extended Colorado’s lead to three with his shot from distance in the 38th minute. But the 35-yard effort was just above the target.
Kansas City nearly pulled a goal back just before halftime, but back-to-back saves on efforts from Shelton and Yohan Croizet from Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard preserved the first-half clean sheet. It marked a change in momentum as the game began to turn in favor of the visitors.
“The great start was almost our problem,” Hudson explained. “As soon as we went 2-0 up, we’re inviting pressure on ourselves. It just changed the approach in terms of mentality, but again, there were a lot of positives tonight.”
SKC ended the half leading Colorado 7-3 in shots and controlling nearly 61 percent of the game’s possession, but the visitors were unable to get on the scoreboard and entered halftime still trailing 2-0.
In the second half, the Rapids nearly bagged a third goal in the 54th minute when a Jack Price free kick glanced across the face of goal, but it was headed just wide by Badji.
Instead, SKC scored. A header from Croizet caromed off the post into the path of Felipe Gutiérrez, whose effort beat Rapids keeper Tim Howard to cut Colorado’s lead to 2-1 in the 57th minute.
SKC began to dominate shots and possession, materializing halftime adjustments by Peter Vermes.
“It was just for us to go to their goal and chances are going to come,” Vermes explained. “It was to put numbers in the box and that’s what we did. Tim Howard made some really good saves, but at the same time we could have finished a couple, easily.”
Peter Vermes’ side continued to press for a second-half equalizer, continuing to control shots and possession down the stretch. Despite continuous stops from Howard, the Rapids’ defense finally broke. A Shelton backheel gave space for Diego Rubio, who equalized for SKC in extra time.
Despite multiple efforts from Rapids substitute Niki Jackson to break the deadlock in the time remaining, the match deadlocked at 2-2.
Colorado will remain home to face the Philadelphia Union next Saturday while SKC returns to Children’s Mercy Park to host DC United.