COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – For the second-straight week, severed weather caused delays at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Due to lighting and hail in the area, the match kickoff was pushed back an hour – it would be just one of three separate delays due to the conditions.
A match between the New England Revolution and the Colorado Rapids would eventually commence however, with the Revolution leaving victorious in a 2-1 result, propelled by goals from Teal Bunbury and Juan Fernando Caicedo.
“I have been involved in some odd things and that competes with all of them,” New England head coach Bruce Arena said of the game and the conditions surrounding it. “That was a “blank” show. I think the delays and all of that certainly — they’re trying to be concerned with the safety of the players and all, we know that, but it got kind of ridiculous. Our team showed a lot of mental and physical toughness.”
The loss snapped a seven-match unbeaten streak for Colorado, while New England extends its own unbeaten run to seven matches.
“Pleased with the effort again from this group,” Rapids interim head coach Conor Casey said postgame. “We started slow and we had a lot of breaks in between and never really were able to get our rhythm going. At the beginning we didn’t look very sharp, but at the end of the day we come back — we have a lot of chances to even up at the end of the game, they never stopped — I’m pleased with the effort and the mentality, but we’re not a team that can start slow, we need to be able to start quicker to be able to get ourselves a chance to win the game.”
New England would strike early. After clearing danger in the 6th minute on a Rapids’ corner, New England was rewarded with the game’s opening goal moments later.
On the ensuing attack, ex-Rapid Edgar Castillo found Bunbury with a pass inside Colorado’s six-yard box, with the Revs’ forward sending his shot to the far post, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 8th minute. The goal marked Bunbury’s 50th in MLS.
“It feels great” Bunbury said of the milestone. “I’m really proud of that. It’s my 10th season and experienced injury early in my career so I’m just grateful to the Lord to have blessed me to play with guys who have put me in this position.”
In the 29th minute, a second weather delay was called which lasted in excess of 90 minutes. At the time of the delay, New England was controlling the match with seven shots to Colorado’s five, while holding nearly 65 percent of the possession.
At around 10:10 p.m. local time, the match resumed. Colorado nearly found an equalizer by winning the ball deep in the attacking third, but Rapids forward Diego Rubio was unable to find Kei Kamara and the ball was quickly scooped up by the New England defense and goalkeeper Matt Turner.
But in the 35th minute, the game was yet again delayed by lightning in the area. Play resumed once again at 11:05 p.m. local time.
By halftime, the Rapids managed one more shot, but the Revs still held a possession advantage with 53 percent of the ball in the stanza.
In the 49th minute Castillo nearly added a goal of his own to double New England’s lead, but his attempt was blocked by Rapids defender Keegan Rosenberry.
New England would eventually extend its lead to 2-0 in the 52nd minute as Carles Gil found Juan Fernando Caicedo on a set piece, Caicedo placing his header in the lower left corner of Colorado’s net for the goal.
In the 70th minute, Kamara nearly pulled a goal back for Colorado with a snapping header, but Turner came up big with the save.
The Revs weren’t completely clear of danger, conceding on the following play. Rubio scored on a corner taken by Nicolas Mezquida, drawing the score within 2-1 in the 71st minute.
Colorado’s best chance to equalize came in the 89th minute as Lalas Abubakar put a header on frame off another set piece opportunity, but again Turner came up big with the save.
“It felt really good,” Turner said of his performance. “It’s nice to feel like you have an impact on the match, but I said this the other day, you can only do what’s presented to you. When it’s presented to you, you hope that you can rise to the occasion and tonight I was fortunate. There were tons of other players — Jalil’s [Anibaba] sliding block, [Andrew] Farrell getting the ball out, Toni [Delamea] played well, Brandon [Bye], Edgar [Castillo] in the back line — everybody did a really good job tonight. It wasn’t just one moment that defined that win, it was a bunch of different phases.”
In the extra time period, Colorado went down to 10-men, with Kellyn Acosta being set off for a pair off yellow cards for dissent (90’+1’). Acosta will be suspended for Colorado’s next match.
Despite a continued push for an equalizer by Colorado, New England saw out the remainder of the match defensively to earn all three points on the road.
New England returns home to face conference rivals D.C. United at Gillette Stadium next Friday (7 p.m. ET) while Colorado will take to the road to face Portland (11 p.m. ET) before returning home two days later to face European giants Arsenal in the debut friendly match between the two Kroenke-owned teams.