Mar 10, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Revolution forward Cristian Penilla (70) and Colorado Rapids midfielder Marlon Hairston (94) battle for the ball during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Saturday’s early game between the New England Revolution and Colorado Rapids marked a matchup between two sides which failed to make the playoffs last season, eager to take a positive first step under new coaching regimes.
At the end of the day, it was Brad Friedel’s Revolution which took home the victory, an extra time free kick from Chris Tierney marking the difference in a 2-1 New England victory.
The opening half looked of two teams feeling each other out as Colorado and New England split possession and had limited chances.
An early scare occurred for both teams in the 14th minute, as Rapids forward Jack McBeam and Revs defender Gabriel Somi collided in a head-to-head collision. The injured Somi went off, replaced by Tierney.
In what was a scoreless opening half, both teams had their opportunities. Colorado’s most threatening effort came from Tommy Smith’s low header in the 26th minute, saved by Revs ‘keeper Matt Turner. Just over ten minutes later, New England nearly took the lead when Tierney’s corner went straight for goal. But Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard came up with the save and both teams entered the half level and scoreless.
As both teams adjusted, the second half brought more excitement than the first.
New England found the opening goal just three minutes into the stanza, as the Revs broke on a counterattack. Ecuadorian Cristian Penilla dribbled down the right side of the Rapids’ defense, finding an unmarked Diego Fagundez, who buried the effort to put New England up 1-0 in the 48th minute.
Colorado was given an opportunity to level the game, awarded a penalty in the 54th minute. New signing Jack Price stepped up to take the effort which was saved Turner. Price gathered the rebound for a follow up effort, but that went over the crossbar.
But Colorado would find its equalizer not long after. Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson looked for an offensive spark in the 65th minute, swapping strikers McBean for rookie Niki Jackson. A minute later, Rapids midfielder Johan Blomberg found Jackson on a long ball from the right side of the field. Jackson’s headed effort beat Turner and found its way into the open net to draw Colorado level at 1-1.
The score remained deadlocked for the remaining half hour, but in extra time Jackson conceded a free kick in Colorado’s defensive half. Tierney’s swerving effort deflected off the Rapids’ defensive wall, finding its way past Howard to give New England the 2-1 lead and the win.
New England will host NYCFC at home in two weeks (1 PM EDT) while Colorado will return home in two weeks as it hosts Sporting Kansas City (7PM MDT).