COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Two weeks removed from their 3-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, the Colorado Rapids found redemption and defeated the ‘Quakes 2-1 at home by virtue of goals from Kellyn Acosta and Diego Rubio.
“We were fortunate,” Acosta said of the result. “In the first half, we were flat. At halftime, we regrouped and did a lot better defensively. We were well connected through the midfield and were able to create some chances.”
San Jose (11-5-8, 38 points) nearly took an early lead in the 4th minute, but Chris Wondolowski’s shot from the top of the box bounced off the left post directly into the hands of Clint Irwin. Irwin once again filled in for regular starter Tim Howard.
“We were balanced,” Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda said postgame. “It’s hard to make a fair analysis right after a game, but I think the first half was managed well by our team. We could have had two or three goals easily with some of the plays we had, but I’m also realistic and know that football is won by scoring goals.”
The post blocked another shot in the 21st minute and denied San Jose midfielder Judson a goal-scoring opportunity.
Colorado (6-12-5, 23 points) followed with a decent opportunity in the 25th minute, but Sam Nicholson’s shot missed just wide of the mark.
Two minutes later, Wondolowski missed another prime opportunity, skying the effort over the bar inside Colorado’s six-yard box.
Prior to the goal, one of Colorado’s best opportunities of the opening half came in the 38th minute when Jack Price delivered a ball in to Kei Kamara, but the forward’s header was high of the mark.
The Rapids finally opened the scoring when Acosta quickly collected the ball on a throw-in, dribbling across the top of the box and sending a low shot into the bottom left corner of San Jose’s net. The goal gave Colorado a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute.
“I was happy just to get a goal and get on the scoresheet,” Acosta said.
Colorado entered halftime with the lead, despite the Earthquakes leading the game in shots (11-7) and possession (65%).
In the second half, San Jose responded with an equalizer. Just as he had done in their prior meeting, ‘Quakes midfielder Vako found the back of the net to level the match 1-1 in the 62nd minute.
“The second half was more back and forth,” Almeyda said. “The game ended the way it did with little opportunities for the opponent, but that’s respectable, everyone wants to play the way they play.”
Colorado took the lead again 10 minutes later. Rapids defender Keegan Rosenberry laid the ball off to a streaking Diego Rubio, whose accurate strike put Colorado in front 2-1 in the 73rd minute.
“He’s been huge for us the past couple of months,” Rapids interim head coach Conor Casey said of Rubio. “He’s got a lot of goals now so he’s confident and he’s working so hard. He comes in everyday and gives you everything.”
Despite an added five minutes of extra time, Colorado saw out the win, earning back-to-back victories for the first time since June.
The Rapids will now embark on a four-game road trip, beginning with Wednesday’s trip to face Minnesota United (8 p.m. ET). San Jose will continue its current three-match road tilt with a trip to Kansas City next Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET).
“It’s all about mentality,” Acosta said of the looming road trip for Colorado. “We’ve got to come out strong and be sound defensively. Road games are tough but that’s part of it. We’ve got to take it game by game to get a result.”